- Posted September 29, 2012 by
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Are you living with depression?
Freedom from Depression
- Anika3, CNN iReport producer
I have been prone to depression since childhood, but in 1997-98, I found myself suffering from severe post-partum depression which included two suicide attempts. At the time, I was blessed with caring family and friends who helped me take care of myself and my family. My doctor prescribed several different anti-depressants but nothing seemed to work for me. I saw a wonderful social worker and a psychologist who helped me talk through my issues. During the most difficult times, I had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital to deal with suicidal ideation. I'm not embarrassed to talk about this because those times really saved my life.
Some other things that helped me: I had a friend who would never allow me to wallow in my depression. On my worst days, I would refuse to get out of bed or do anything. This friend would literally drag me out of bed against my very loud protests and say, "Come on, let's go to the bookstore. You love the bookstore." This was true. I loved the bookstore and once I got there, I did feel better. Sometimes, it takes something as simple as getting out and doing something fun, no matter how trivial it might seem. Also: It was very important for me to learn how to stop my negative thinking. I began to notice all the negative thoughts that ran through my mind and how they would spiral me down and down into deeper depression. So whenever I noticed a negative thought (which was very often!), I would say, "Stop!" inside my head. I did this over and over. With practice, I learned to put an end to the negative thoughts before they could drag me down. Related to this, I also became involved with yoga practice (I am now a Registered Yoga Teacher) and meditation, which also helped me control my negative thoughts and keep my mind more focused in the present moment on whatever tasks happened to be at hand. These techniques still make a huge difference in my life.
I still have my down days, but they only last for a few days - not weeks or months or years. I stay healthy by taking good care of myself physically (healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep), mentally (reading uplifting books and articles, staying away from depressing news articles), socially (hanging out with friends and with my husband), emotionally (acknowledging my emotions, including the difficult ones) and spiritually (making time for prayer, Scripture reading and church attendance).
I truly believe there are treatments and solutions for depression, even very severe clinical depression. However, the solutions will be unique for each individual. Each person should honestly and actively work to be well - with the help of doctors, therapists, family and friends as necessary. It's good to listen to the ideas and advice of other people, but ultimately, each person must decide what works best (often through trial and error) and put those solutions into practice.
Even when I'm feeling my best, I continue to live in solidarity with people who are currently suffering from depression. I know what it's like. My thoughts and prayers go out to all sufferers. Please know that there is help and hope! You CAN live a life that has meaning for you - where happiness and peace are real!