My Thoughts on Depression
by C. Cannon
Whether your depression is triggered by retirement, illness (your own or someone elses), or something else - it helps to realize that instead of wearing rose-colored glasses, you are wearing dark gray ones. Everything looks bleak and you have no confidence in yourself and feel everything is your fault.
I have suffered from clinical depression for many years - there have been ups and downs and my most recent down was a doozy! (Lost 30 lbs. in 3 months - months I mostly don't remember.)
My job was academic counseling. Worked my way up to an Assistant Dean and after 30 years, they eliminated my job so I had to take early retirement. Wasn't ready.
But then I had a doctor tell me I should be tested for Parkinsons Disease and the first appointment was a month away.That, with some other retirement-related issues sent me into a deep, dark hole.
What helped me at first was my psychiatrist who kept working with me on combinations of medicines. (Appointments with him every two weeks) group therapy twice a month and individual therapy with a social worker every week.
Depressed people are often self-preoccupied so focusing on other people is useful - group therapy helped me here. Also I needed someone to give me permission to feel the feelings I was having (individual therapy).
And I needed to set some goals - something I had taught as a counselor ( individual therapist helped here). They needed to be small goals, time-limited and rewarded when complete. If you didn't meet the goal, break down where you broke down and start new goals from that point. No blame. No guilt. Baby steps.
If you are self-medicating with alcohol - tell your psychiatrist. No secrets.
Keep a daily journal -what you did, how you felt. At least you will remember what you did during the black time. This can be a first goal. Buy a journal, then buy a special pen, then write how you felt about doing that.
And focus, focus, focus! Concentration is hard. Requires being in the moment rather than worrying about the future or the past. That's good. Smiling is scientifically proven to help depression.
I am not beyond depression but my medicines are regulated so I feel better. I have forced myself here to focus on things which might help you rather than give all the details of my tribulations - I might try to blog on that if anyone's interested. (I am a hurricane Katrina survivor but still dealing with FEMA today - 10 years later in August.) Ask me what I think about FEMA!
I truly hope that something here allows you to take control and get some relief from this most debilitating disease (and maybe help someone else). It ain't easy but YOU are worth it. Believe that. And I hope this might help others who are struggling -because helping others is what I am all about and now seeing this forum for that makes me hopeful.
The very best wishes. c