Using Depression to Heal

Nursing Management for Social IsolationDepression is a natural adaptive response to stress, important to the survival of the physical body.

 

Supporting recovery from extreme physical or emotional stress, depression is an innate survival mechanism or coping skill, appropriate when the body needs to slow down to heal. When appropriate, depression can actually help to restore the body physiologically, emotionally and spiritually.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a seasonal form of depression, affects 25% percent of the population in the United States, myself included. It took me years to figure out my heavy Winter sleeping was due to a mild depression. Chronically unable to sleep for more than 20 years, I was surprised every day I slept late.

 

The Bed Monster just wouldn’t let me out of bed before noon!

 

My friends were dumbfounded and concerned for my Mental Health because I just wouldn’t get out of bed. They began to conspire to get me out of bed for different activities like coffee, but I resisted. I was happy… moreover, I was rested, even restored.

Letting go and accepting there is meaning in suffering.

 

 

Having direct, lifelong experience with periods of mild to severe depression, reinforced the lesson of letting go and acceptance. By accepting our feelings and allowing them as a natural and needed experience of life, we can stop resisting our suffering and turn to the process of healing. It’s perfectly appropriate and acceptable to be depressed after loss, separation or other life altering and emotionally painful events. There is no other choice than to retreat from the pressures and responsibilities of our lives when we are depressed or recovering from illness.

 

So next time you start feeling depressed, consider the time of year and the recent events in your life. Living is a dynamic process, always changing and demanding us to change along with it. Sometimes the changes can be so dramatic our bodies and mind need time to adjust in order to cope.

 

Allow yourself the time you need to recover, but understand you are not the depression, nor a victim of whatever circumstance led to the depression. Things happen in life to help us develop consciously. Think of life’s challenges as your “hero’s journey” with the obstacles you have to surmount as neither “good” or “bad”  but more accurately, just “is” as part of the human experience.

Sudden blindness as a path to healing.

 

A perfect example is my own recent experience with severe Posterior Optic Neuritis. My home is in Omaha, NE, but I worked in an operating room at a hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area.One day, I flew to San Francisco in time to start my shift at 3pm that very day. When I got to work, I noticed I was having difficulty with my vision and within a week I was legally blind in my left eye with severe pain like a bad toothache. Bright light made the pain and my vision worse and I couldn’t bicycle, my primary form of transportation, because the lack of depth perception made me queasy.

 

So there I was in San Francisco to work in the operating room for the entire month of July, with sudden onset of blindness. I was away from home and completely dependent on the kindness of friends and strangers.

 

Somehow, I made it through the month of work with the help of an eye patch, coworkers and friends. Although my vision is much improved since then, it is still far from normal, but much less painful.

 

My experience with Optic Neuritis is a perfect example of something that just “is”. Of personal changes I was forced to make because of circumstances beyond my control. Was I a victim? Of course not. Did I need to slow down? Absolutely, my body shut me down!

 

Working intensely in operating rooms around the country for the last eight years has taken it’s toll. I knew I needed to make a change, but I wasn’t ready. Now, I have no other choice and most profound is the feeling within myself that I have been given the opportunity to make great changes in my life because I was forced to slow down.

We are meant to heal.

 

Now, when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, when you feel ready to get out of bed and move on with your life, it is the time to get up and proactively treat your depression.

 

Of course you may still feel depressed, may not know what to do, but you need to get up and get busy in order to free yourself, so decide to feel better. Set the intention to feel good, imagine yourself and your life like you really want it to be, then fake it!

 

Here are a list of 11 things to do to self treat depression:

  1. Get up! Get out of bed! Everyday…
  2. Dose yourself. Try natural or homeopathic remedies for Depression like Liddell’s Letting Go Anxiety formula.
  3. Eat protein, root vegetables and beans for grounding.
  4. Meditate and reclaim your physical and spiritual presence.
  5. Get active.
  6. Clean your space, clear your life of depressed energy and any negative people.
  7. Move 21 things in your home environment.
  8. Build an alter.
  9. Create a Sacred Space in your home for prayer, meditation or reflection.
  10. Connect with your loved ones.
  11. Be present.

 

Please let me say there are plenty of people out there who would benefit from multiple modalities of treatment during acute episodes of depression.

If you or anyone you know is suicidal, please seek help immediately:

  • National Youth Crisis Hotline
    1-800-442-4673
  • National Adolescent Suicide Hotline (also called the National Runaway Switchboard)
    800-621-4000
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK

Please share your thoughts with me!

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