Monday, November 23, 2015

How I Overcame Depression

I used to share this quite frequently when I first began blogging but it seems to have fallen through the cracks and as we enter the holiday season it seems appropriate for many reasons.  I recognize that many suffer from this ailment during this cheerful time of year and also in light of Thanksgiving, it seemed that sharing this remedy once again seems timely.

I grew up continually in a darkness and a low level misery, feeling rejected and abandoned in many directions.  Being somewhat a solitary person I did not end up seeing a psychologist and thus had to strive through finding a solution on my own.  Yes, I was suicidal at times and in hindsight I am exceptionally grateful to have been so because I have been able to help others facing the same kind of trouble.

I pass over the initial part of my healing, which began first with the very difficult decision to want to be happy.  This can prove frightening when depression is all you have known, but I promise you that you will not lose the strength you have found in yourself.  You will gain a greater one. Secondly, prayer in droves pushed me a little upward.  I recall spending hours one afternoon in prayer, tear streaked, and repeating the same few words again and again out in the mountains behind my home. 

But the main thing that kept me sustained in a generally happy state proved to be a practice I still often employ today, not because I am depressed, because I am not anymore, just but because I find no reason not to do so.  I began bringing a notebook to church and jotting down positive things I saw in others.  It may have been as frivolous as a cute outfit or it might have been a great comment in Sunday School, or what have you.  May it was just that a person over there looked depressed herself and needed reminding that she was a daughter of God.  I would come home with this list and leave it on my dresser.  Later, when depressive episodes hit in full fury, I would retrieve my list and also a stack of beautiful greeting cards I kept always in stock for that purpose and  begin to write.  I would express appreciation for each of these people.  I would tell them how I was touched by their thoughts, by how God loved all His children, which certainly included them, or how I absolutely loved the shoes they wore this last Sunday.  Sometimes the pain would continue and I would end up with a massive stack somewhere around midnight before I finally felt able to breathe and collapse into bed.  The next morning my mailbox would be filled to capacity with outgoing cheerfulness and gratitude.

Was it easy?  No.  Did it take years to stabilize the bouts of misery and sadness.  Absolutely.  But I haven't the faintest trace of it now.  Appreciating people has become part of my blood and it courses through my veins at all times. 

So now I leave a challenge for you, whether depressed or no.  We often think of sending Christmas cards but between now and Thursday I challenge thee, gentle reader, to send out 25 emails, texts, cards, or what you will to different people that begin with the words, "I appreciate you because...."  This may seem a bit strange and the like, especially for men, but you have my permission to change it about a little and send a text like, "Dude, I saw how nice you were to that wayward kid.  Good job, man."  But you get the idea.  And may all of us have a pleasant and truly cheerful Thanksgiving and December this year.  Okay.  Ready?  Three, two, one - go! 

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