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Battling seasonal depression

A guide to survive the darkest days

Every now and then, probably because of the daily duties and challenges we have to handle – paying the bills, raising the kids (for the parents), the expectations of work, the effort required to achieve our goals, or simply because we’d just had a life-altering experience; we might end up feeling stressed out, exhausted and simply depressed from all that is going on around us. This is basically normal, the condition being that we do not remain this way for long, and after we’ve gotten a little rest (or longer if we want), we can pop out of our shells and get back to being the joyful, productive individuals we would like to be.

However, for some of us, this feeling may tend to remain a little longer, rendering us ineffective, listless and not really the feeling to get out and do anything useful.

I know how that feels like. When I was pregnant with my daughter, sometimes I felt restless that I could not move faster than I then was moving, I couldn’t do much of what I would like to do, I had people doting on me to my disgruntlement, and what was this thing about having morning sicknesses? So, every once in a while, I would just feel like not wanting to do anything, being too slow to walk, and not really being helpful around.

After sometime I did notice it was simply the way I was thinking, and it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with what was going on around me. Thus, I understood that if I could focus on putting my thoughts to productive use, I probably had found a solution to changing the way I felt.

The feeling, according to my doctor, is known as depression, and when it occurs at the same time in certain periods, it is called seasonal depression.

Some people do say that the weather could get them into feeling this way. For some, it is during the winter, i.e. because of the cold; and others, it could be the summer, strangely, because of the heat.

So I just decided to share the means, or if you like, the steps, in which I think I got better in handling being depressed.

1. Understanding my thoughts and feelings. As I said earlier, I observed that the way I was feeling, boiled down to the thoughts I was thinking in those moments. I was thinking that I wasn’t useful, or I couldn’t be productive, or everyone was contributing something except me. I decided to change the way I was thinking. I started to think, “this is just a phase”, “I would get back to being productive”, “having a baby is a rich and memorable experience”, “I can still suggest to others how to get certain things done”.

These thoughts helped in making me feel better about myself. And so as I got into the habit of thinking this way everytime a rush of depression would overwhelm me, I learnt to control my thoughts.

2. I learnt to be grateful. We have all heard about the effects of gratitude. I think in the simplest way, gratitude refers to how we look at certain events, or the perspective we have of them. So in my own case, I started to learn to focus on the things I was grateful for. I noticed that I had a job and a career, and that helped me to pay the bills, I had a husband who cared, my daughter, other friends and relatives who tried to speak with me as often as they could find time; and I learnt to be grateful for them all. Some people do say we can always find something to be grateful for, and I do believe them.

3. I sought help and companionship. I have found that, in some cases, having a pet to take care of, feed and attend to, would help. You don’t have time to feel down when there are other people you love, more helpless than you, leaning on you for support. It is also okay to seek for help from maybe, members of your religious group, colleagues, or simply friends you’ve gotten to know over the years. The proviso is that you should select individuals who are understanding with respect to what you are going through.

4. I did learn how to meditate. I am sure that most of us have heard about the benefits of meditation. Though I have not really spent time or created a schedule to meditate regularly, however I did find that when I did meditate, I experienced a sense of calm, and I was joyful and in control of my feelings afterwards. I am making plans to make this a more regular habit.

5. I remembered and revisited my passions. As one of the things I enjoy doing is writing, I took the time out to read what was happening in my areas of interests. Since I also love traveling, even in periods I couldn’t find time to travel, I use to read about interesting places, musing over the places I would love to visit.

6. I helped a friend start a business. During one of these moments, a friend came around who was having challenges with finding time to settle down to write his thesis. While brainstorming solutions to having the thesis written, while doing other things that were equally important to him, he came up with the idea of getting the most qualified people to offer an essay writing service. It’s been a revealing experience for him. So if anyone wants write papers for money, you might be able to contact my friend.

7. I wrote on my blog. A lot of people have said that having a journal and writing regularly in it can be some form of stress releasing activity, and helps in managing the emotions. Personally, I have noticed that blogging can be some form of journaling. As you detail your experiences and how you learnt to overcome challenges, when you look back, you start realizing how much you’ve grown. It’s been a fun and fulfilling experience.

So, those were the ways I was able to move my feelings from feeling depressed to feeling better about myself, and being very grateful for my job, my daughter, my dog, my husband, and the readers of my blog. I hope this would be of help to somebody. I also hope that those who feel they can’t really manage their feelings, in the present, could go ahead and seek some form of companionship or some help.

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