Being in a very severe depression is one of the most mentally excruciatingly painful (as well as physically painful) experiences any one can ever have. That's when the bottom falls out from under you, the rug is yanked out from under your feet and in either case, there is a black, terrifying bottomless abyss into which you fall. At first you claw and scratch to get out, but then as the days go by, you give up. You sit down, you stay put. All hope is gone, you have no energy to fight, your inner voice has maliciously turned against you. It tells you you are worthless, garbage, not worth saving. You don't want to listen but you have no choice, you have no energy left to fight this. You have no hope of getting better. And anyway, are you sick or is this the way you've always been? Useless, hopeless, ugly, stupid, wrong, just plain wrong. Well this kind of depression, a very severe depression definitely needs medication. But might someone in this kind of severe depression, or someone in a less severe depression be helped by another technique? My very good friend once told me of their experience with depression and how they cope with it in a very compassionate and positive way, which is to treat yourself like you are your good friend. So, you wake up, you feel so awful that you don't feel like getting out of bed. Now you are treating yourself as your own good friend, so you say "Hmm, don't feel like getting out of bed? That's ok, just rest if you need to." Then you check in with yourself and ask :How about now? You feelin' any better?" Then later "Feel like takin' a shower? No? That's ok, maybe later." And you go on like this, treating yourself as you would a good friend. With compassion, love, caring. No name calling, derision, hate. Remember depression is an illness, you are not doing this to yourself, you are suffering from an illness. What if you broke your arm and started calling yourself names and saying hateful things to yourself? You wouldn't, you'd go to the emergency room, get a cast and NURSE your arm back to health. This takes me to the second thing I wanted to say, my fellow blogger on Wordpress.com, Gentle Kindness, just posted a post about depression, in this post she describes depression to a tee and then offers the suggestion that when you are in a depression, you should be your own compassionate nurse! Another brilliant idea. Who wouldn't benefit from a good friend and a compassionate nurse? Lately, I have been feeling the choking, ugly, bony fingers of depression around my throat. Tasks have once again become more difficult to do. There is dread in my heart and tears that spill easily from my eyes, and my heart feels like it's breaking for things that would not normally phase me. yes, depression, unfortunately, definitely depression. Well, I am going to try an experiment. Instead of saying what I normally do to myself when I'm feeling depressed "You useless, sick, sad excuse for oxygen consumption." I am going to treat myself with compassion and love, as a sick person deserves. Well it's already working to lift my mood a little, it's infinitely better to hear "It's ok honey, you are sick, take it easy. You'll feel better, you always do!" than the above negative dialogue. Be kind, be compassionate, use loving words and have hope and be resilient. You are hope and resilience. Hugs and positive thoughts for all those suffering from depression or other maladies of the mind or body.
I posted this on my blog called bipolar1blog.com and this comment blew me away, a reader wrote: "I am stuck in a deep depression at this stage, and now that I have read this...if gives me hope. It is keeping the suicide thoughts at bay. Strange how these little things help in a time when you really need it!"
This one comment actually made the whole year and a half of blogging on my blog worth every second.
There is hope, there is help, and we are strong and resilient! And it is in the human spirit to survive! And this is the true power of blogging!