While writing my dedication to Robin Williams, I recalled days of my own depression. In the past few weeks it seems the world has woken up to accepting depression in a more conscious way. One of my favorite quotes was by Allison Ritchie –
“The death of Robin Williams has really touched me deeply. How sad is it that a man who brought so much laughter to so many, was so tormented himself. If one good thing can come out of it, it is that so many people are talking about depression today. All over Facebook people are saying, if you feel depressed talk about it, don’t bottle it up, there is no shame in it, and if someone you know is depressed, be there for them and just listen. However, there are many forms of depression. Hormone imbalances, including post natal or menopausal, changes in brain chemicals, brain injuries, many things can bring about depression, and sometimes that type of depression needs more than just a heart-to-heart. I had post natal depression after my son was born, and for a long time I tried to deal with it myself. It wasn’t until my GP prescribed anti-depressants that the fog started to lift. I wasn’t on them for very long, and in fact if I had my hormones checked I would have been on medication for an even shorter time. My point is, it is not always just a matter of thinking positively, or talking about it, or changing your situation. Sometimes you need help to get back to balance, and there is certainly no shame in that”
– Allison Ritchie
Here are my key points that have helped me during my low and depressed state. This list is as much a reminder for me, as it is for anyone else out there.
Keep taking your focus back to your normal, natural breath. If the chaos in the mind is too much, then keep slowing down the breath progressively. It’s enough to breath. Breath outlasts everything.
2. Write to yourself.
Write a letter to yourself. Or just write. You might even stare at a blank page, it doesn’t matter. You might scribble that mess in your head. That’s okay too. You might draw – a childhood drawing, a random thing. Important thing is to keep the flow of communication on with yourself.
3. Eat well.
My eating goes into disorder often when I am depressed, or sliding down. This is as much a reminder for me, as it is for you, to eat well. Find ways to connect to your palette. Entertain the palette.
Find a way to get that adrenaline pumping every single day. Some exercises may work particularly well during depression. Like dancing worked for me more than yoga.
5. Find something funny to watch/listen.
I know laughter helps. Even if it’s humor I’ve heard so many times. Like “Friends” the television series.
6. Drink lots of water.
7. Connect to nature.
In the smallest of ways this connection can restore you without you knowing. Walking barefoot on the grass, soaking yourself in a bathtub, sitting by water bodies, even something as simple as taking a long bath, or lighting candles can be very restorative. In those moments of depression, it is hard to connect to people. Sometimes it is impossible to talk to people about what you are going through.
8. Feel the pain.
We as “human” beings carry a lot of pain, unspoken grief, sadness repressed within ourselves through our childhoods. Even for those who think they’ve had a good childhood. Depression is a long term repression. If you feel anything at all, you are very blessed for it may be the start of the uncovering of this emotional pain.
9. Listen to music.
Not the sad, depressing kind. The soothing, calming, uplifting, loving kind. One that puts you back in the embrace of source.
10. Turn your face to gratitude.
“Thank you” for me was a mantra in those days. I was truly grateful to just be alive. Another mantra worth reminding yourself again and again is “This too shall pass“.
11. Be gentle with yourself.
Life doesn’t want to hurt you. Your emotions aren’t here to hurt you. Be kind to all of the mess you feel you are. Your kindness to yourself is love in action. Life is worth living and loving. The depression might be that gentle reminder that not all is in our control, and it doesn’t have to be.