Have you ever thought about the type of people you go to when you’re looking for support or advice? Have you ever noticed each person’s approach can be drastically different when they are put into a helping position? I noticed this in my own life the other week. I went to experts in lactation because of a concern I had while feeding Cole after getting over a cold. The “support” I received made me feel worse! They reminded me of everything I did wrong (which I already vocalized that I knew) and I got off the phone feeling defeated. I went to someone else, and got a much different response…and infusion of hope.
After that experience I thought to myself “I want to be a provider that instills hope.” In certain situations, hope can feel impossible. I was reading a book on depression recently called “Transforming Depression: The HeartMath Solution to Feeling Overwhelmed, Sad, and Stressed.” Depression is a time when we need to be very careful who we talk to about our situation. When someone “gets it,” we can feel a flicker of hope. When someone doesn’t, well, we might feel even more despair. In the book, I saw a quote on depression that is infused with hope. Check it out:
When I read that I was moved to a place of hope. Depression has some purpose. All of the uncomfortable (uncomfortable is grossly an understatement) feelings that come up during depression are necessary to get to a greater destiny. Wow. When you’re in the dark hole with no light, knowing there is a greater destiny ahead is a breath of fresh air. Now, allowing ourselves to believe that is also one of the scariest things to do.
If you’re going through a tough spot in life, I highly recommend the HeartMath books. They give practical, short activities to add to your self-care toolkit. Here are my other tips, especially when trying to push through depression:
1) Get the right kind of support from family and friends
We are made for connection. Talk to people who “get it.” If family doesn’t get it, you don’t have to talk to them. Even if it’s just an acquaintance, sharing can lift the shame.
2) Find a helpful therapist
Therapists are trained to walk you through this muddy season of life. You might not click with every therapist, so find one that you like! You’re worth every penny spent on your mental health.
Move your body. It doesn’t have to be too physically draining. Even a 20-minute walk will do.
One of the signs of depression is changed sleeping patterns. Some people sleep more, some sleep less. I think one of the biggest reasons for less sleep are all the disturbing thoughts that seem to show up in the middle of the night. Things like avoiding caffeine, exercise, and a healthy diet can help with sleep. Additionally, trying any kind of stretching or meditation before bed to help put your mind at a state of rest can also help.
5) Eat a healthy diet
Often people don’t realize how much food impacts mood. With this suggestion I am not trying to tell you to go on a diet. What I’m saying is that things like dark leafy greens, berries, and whole grains help regulate your mood. Trying adding more "whole" foods and eliminating overly processes and sugary options.
6) Take risks
“You can’t get different results by doing the same thing.” -Richard Moran. Have you heard quotes like this before? I also like quotes that say we can’t be the same person to get different outcomes. Woah, change who we are? Yes. You might want to see another post I wrote about depression that relates to this topic. We need to practice showing up differently in the world. Speak up when we are used to staying quiet for the sake of peace. Choose a kind inner dialogue when we typically beat ourselves up. Honor all the parts of ourselves when we have always overlooked them.
7) Talk to your doctor
It’s always helpful to check in with your doctor. Be sure there’s nothing else with your health that could be adding to the different emotions. They may also talk to you about the possibility of medication for depression, which is always completely the client’s choice. I know some who really like that option, and others who prefer working through their depression without medication.
8) Get outside
Getting outside gives you a boost of Vitamin D. Even if it’s winter, fresh air can do wonders for our wellbeing.
9) Group Therapy
I was listening to a podcast by Ali Wentworth where she hosted Eve Rodsky and Dr. Aditi Nerurkar. In that talk they said, "when you share your experience with others it validates and normalizes...that has a direct impact on your stress response and your biology." Group therapy can help ensure that others really "get" what you're going through and lift the shame.
I pray that for anyone reading this you can take some steps to lighten your load, even if it feels like moving mountains. It may feel heavy, but even the smallest help you walk out of darkness. Even if it may be hard to see it in the moment, depression can lead to your greatest destiny. Happy rooting, everyone!