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Below is an article I read and I thought it would be very helpful to others, enjoy…

Paul

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7 Ways To Keep Going

By Therese J. Borchard
April 7, 2009

A woman who lives with chronic pain said to my mom the other day, “You can’t sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You’ve got to learn how to dance in the rain.”

That’s a perfect description of living with depression, or any chronic illness. But what do you do on the days you don’t think you can take the pain anymore? When you want so badly to be done with your life … or at least be done with the suffering? What do you do when anxiety and depression have spun a web around you so thick that you’re convinced you’ll be trapped forever in those feelings?

I’ve compiled a few tools for moving past that harrowing darkness, suggestions on how to emerge from a place of panic, and techniques on how to dance in the rain.

1. Escape from the pain.

Lately, when my thoughts turn dark, I’ve been telling myself that I don’t want another life … I want a reprieve from the pain. I’m usually at a loss on how to get there. I’m tired, frustrated, desperate, so my thoughts follow the path that has already been blazed throughout the years … and I fantasize about intoxication or some other destructive behavior that doesn’t require a lot of imagination.

How else can I escape … in a positive way? Instead of romanticizing about death or inebriation from booze, I can research new kayaking routes, bike paths, hiking trails, and camping sites. I can invest the time I lose in unproductive and dangerous thoughts into planning creative outings for myself and for the family that will give me/us the reprieve that I’m craving. I can be proactive about finding sitters for the kids so that my thoughts won’t revert back to “stinking thinking.”

2. Track your mood.

An essential piece of my recovery is keeping a mood journal. This helps me to identify certain patterns that emerge. As I said in my “Me on the Bad Days” post, depression can flare up seemingly out of the blue, like a thunderstorm. But often there are telltale signs that can clue me in as to why I’m feeling so fragile. You can catch these if you’ve been recording your mood over time.

3. Talk about it.

I can’t get a therapy appointment round the clock, so I had better invest in some friends that won’t tire of me telling them that my thoughts are turning to mush again.

Over the weekend I called two friends and my mom. “I’m going there again,” I explained. They know what THERE means … without my having to explain or justify. I don’t fully understand how gabbing heals, the scientific explanation of why venting does so much good, but I can surely attest to it, and confirm the connection between talking about something and feeling better. It’s like you’re a scared little kid in a lightning storm, and a neighbor, seeing that you’re locked out of your house, invites you inside and makes a cup of hot chocolate for you. Well, maybe it’s not that good, but it’s close, which is why our phone bill is way up this month.

4. Repeat: “I WILL Get Better”!

As I said in my video, “I WILL Get Better,” I think about my Aunt Gigi every time I wind up in the depression tunnel, and remember her repeating to me over the phone a few years back: “You will get better. Repeat that. You WILL get better.” Peter J. Steincrohn, M.D., author of “How to Stop Killing Yourself” wrote: “Faith is a powerful antidote against illness. Keep repeating – and believing: I WILL get well. If you believe, you help your doctor and yourself.” And this paragraph from William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” always reassures me:

If depression had no termination, then suicide would, indeed, be the only remedy. But one need not sound the false or inspirational note to stress the truth that depression is not the soul’s annihilation; men and women who have recovered from the disease–and they are countless–bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace: it is conquerable.

5. Take baby steps … a day at a time.

On mornings that I wake up with that nauseating knot of anxiety in my stomach, everything seems overwhelming. Getting myself to the bathroom so that I can brush my teeth feels seems like a triathlon in August. So I don’t attempt the triathlon. I only have to worry about getting my left foot down on the ground. And then my right one. And then I have to stand.

I’ll look at my to-do list and cross off two-thirds of it. “What on this list do I absolutely HAVE to do?” I say so myself. Everything else can wait. And then I start with the first thing, and do the first mini-movement that I need to do in order to accomplish that. If it’s getting Katherine dressed, that means 1. Finding Katherine. (That’s harder than it sounds.) 2. Picking out an outfit. (Ditto.) 3. Helping her out of her nightgown and into her clothes. (That’s where my nervous system almost shuts down.) And so on. Each item on the list can be broken down into a dozen mini-steps.

6. Distract yourself.

Some days I’m just not worth much. All I can do is distract myself … to keep myself from thinking about how awful I feel. Just like Fr. Joe carved figurines out of soap when he was depressed, and Priscilla made jewelry to keep her mind off of her anxiety, I will try to do anything to keep my brain occupied and away from my hurt, sort of like I did when I was in labor: baking chocolate-chip cookies, looking through old pictures, listening to Beethoven and Mozart, watching a comedy, swimming, running, biking, or hiking through the woods. (I didn’t do all of that in labor, though.)

7. Get out your self-esteem file.

For the past few days I’ve been carrying around letters from my self-esteem file in my pocket like a baby blanket. Some people have told me that my self-esteem must be shallow if I have to rely on praise from other people. Maybe it is. But I have to start somewhere, and anyone who has sat in that panic place where you want to end it all, knows that it’s virtually impossible at that time to come up with a list of your own strengths. So you have to believe what other people say.

Return to EverydayHealth.com

Therese J. Borchard writes the daily Beliefnet.com blog Beyond Blue (voted by Psych Central as one of the Top 10 Depression Blogs) and moderates Group Beyond Blue, the Beliefnet Community online support group for depression. Her memoir “Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes” will be released in January of 2010. Subscribe to Beyond Blue here or visit her at www.ThereseBorchard.com.

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One of my favorite things to do is to read, I love to read. I read books for enrichment, for pleasure and for spiritual growth. And I love to read several books at one time. I have been known to have five books going at one time. At the moment I have 6 books in process, but am actively reading 3. The books rang from Steven King to St. Francis; I read different styles for different reasons. I allow my mood and my needs drive what book I pick up, so some books I may read in a day or two, and others, it may take me a year or more to read. I allow the moment to take me away and allow my mind to drift in to the world of the author. And at times I am sure the Holy Spirit guides me to read certain books. But in the end, I just love to read.

Reading is an escape for me, no matter the subject, be it deep with theology or shallow with the super natural. In truth, I try to learn something from everything I read, I look for that little knowledge that the author wants to share. I dig deeper in to novels than most would, so event the basic Stephen King book turns in to a search for some truth, and truth be told, I almost always find some nugget of truth.

I love to read, it’s my escape, others paint, some play games and others work out or play sports. We all have that one thing that we find the most relaxing, the most energizing. For me it’s reading, now truth be told, I really could use some exercising in my life, but I just find it hard to allow the power of the action to outweigh the action itself. Now I could read about it, and find some joy in that, but the results would not be the same. But that’s for a different blog, this one is about finding that one activity that gives you joy.

For me it’s reading, and I try to read every day, even if it’s for only 15 minutes. Some days I can spend hours reading, and other days, I get no time, but I average at least 30 minutes per day enjoying a good book or two.
Everyone needs to find the one thing that fills them with contentment, you need to find the one joy in this world that allows you to recharge and relax. Now comes the hard part, not only do you have to find it, but now you must make time to spend on it, daily! Five minutes, 30 minutes, in truth the time don’t matter, it’s the fact that you are giving yourself a break.

For me it’s reading, so I always have a book in my car, and several at home, and at work, I usually have something to read, if time permits. If yours is sports you may not be able to play a game of basketball at lunchtime, but you can read up on your favorite teams, or look for places to play after work. There is always a way to fill your day with the one joy you have.

I am sure many of you have more than one thing that relaxes and energizes you, as do I, but I chose the one activity that seems to be the most consistent. Like I said, some days I don’t read at all, I find it’s just too much work, if its summer time, I would work outside on my fish pond, if its winter, as it is now, I find myself watching old movies or working on new ideas for faith formation for my company STATIC Solutions (www.staticplace.com). And sometimes I just need to do something new, something different, but all in all reading is my one joy.

Paul

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