Musings

One of the ways I deal with depression is I sit in it, acknowledge it, lay out what needs to be done (even if it’s something mundane), and start doing it.  This “de-personalization” of depression seems to reduce the overwhelming immediacy of it, and gives me some room to remember that my problems really aren’t that bad.  Then, eventually, the depression fades, and I find my way back to a state of balance.

I used to rage against it, or flee from it, but those approaches never worked for me and often amplified my problems.  I now think of depression as simply another natural state, one that must be acknowledged and handled.  And so is happiness, I think.  They both come and go, and in the tides of time, I believe they are simply states of being that I must address accordingly.  Sometimes, I even glean valuable knowledge from their occurrence and passing.

70 thoughts on “Musings

  1. This is beautifully said. I don’t want to minimize severe depression or anything like that, but when I’m down in the dumps I’m amazed at how much good the smallest little self-care things will do: going for a walk, making music, etc. I also often run from or rage against depression, and I wonder if this doesn’t give it more power than it deserves.

    Liked by 10 people

  2. Medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.
    Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.

    Several factors can play a role in depression:

    Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
    Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
    Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
    Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.

    There are a number of things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For many people, regular exercise helps create positive feeling and improve mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol (a depressant) can also help reduce symptoms of depression.

    Liked by 10 people

    • I’ve considered all of those; even got a 23&me test that made the case I’m prone to neuroticism and aggression. A lot of vitamin D seems to help me of late. But I actually consider all those steps and awareness of causes to be part of doing what I can when struck by depression. If I encounter an obstacle, I think expanding my knowledge base about it is part of remedial action.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Squarely facing my depression and admitting fully (at least to myself) has been a major obstacle, and a pivotal victory for me. I now think of negative emotions as fuel and positive ones as oxygen that combine in combustion to create the fire of life. This allows me to see the joy beyond the blinding flashes of sadness and anger that are hallmarks of my condition.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is a natural part of the duality of life – night and day, cold and warm, floods and drought, love and hate, sadness and happiness, life and death. If your life has never been touched by depression, you are likely not alive.

    Some anthropologists have hypothesized that depression arose as a response to environmental conditions during the lesser ice age. Unable to find adequate food and to stay comfortably warm regularly, they believe that depression arose. When the body is depressed, it shuts down somewhat, enabling us to cope with things that would normally not be manageable. Now again, this is a hypothesis, not necessarily what is true and proven. However, it is known that one out of every four individuals in the world suffers depression or some other mental challenge.

    And I believe this has gone on for hundreds, if not thousands of years, in all parts of the world. So we are not alone when we suffer depression, and we do sometimes benefit from it. It helps us to become uncomfortable enough that we are open to change. Admittedly, it can also go the other way, and we can end up doing destructive things to ourselves. Just as I tend to call people with various developmental, physical, and emotional/mental ailments challenged and not disabled, for in reality (and I have worked with such children and adults for more than 15 years), they are all capable of doing something. It may not be something that we can understand, but there are a lot of things we cannot comprehend in this world. We are all still in a state of evolution as we have been since the beginning of time. We did not just arrive at the final landing point. Who knows what we will be tomorrow or in 100 or 1,000 more years?

    Thank you for this discussion. The important thing to remember is that all of us on this earth are sacred, as are the trees in the forests, the animals in the wildernesses, and the sand in the desert. We are sacred because we are here, a critical part of the rest of the earth. Of all the planets we might have evolved in, we are here where this universe and this particular planet supports life as we know it.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Interesting…I have also heard we are prone to negativity because it is evolutionarily advantageous to constantly be dissatisfied and be compelled to seek better ways to do things. I’ve never heard your theory before; thanks for sharing! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What you are saying makes a lot of sense historically speaking too. I like this theory too. And from the ruins of different cultures over the many centuries (obviously since the little ice age), I would say it is true. I always find it interesting that historians (not all of them) still refer to them as primitive, when the structures they created and the ways their societies were organized were often truly amazing and definitely not the work of “primitive” people.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree! I think being trapped in a “primitive/not primitive” paradigm is an invitation to elitism and hence a decrease in awareness. Personally, I think looking at how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs iterates throughout any given circumstance is generally a good way to honor human nature.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This a decidedly Buddhist way of observing and working with depression and, really, all of the mental states. I like that you note how you deal with happiness the same way. I presume you are familiar with the term anicca. Everything comes and goes. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I thought it sounded “decidedly Buddhist” also. Early 20th century psychology had introspection, also, but dumped it as being messy and difficult to quantify. Watson’s behaviorism became dominant until work by social psychologists and cognitive psyc started the shift in the field currently underway.
        That said, I tried some meditation training in 2018 and noted that this approach to introspection could be useful. The Anthropology commentary by Anne Copeland is also interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. nice article…I have met people who have overcome depression and most of them has told that they felt fortunate and that it was out of sheer luck…they had different ways to control it which ranged from complex treatment with medicines and simple treatment like running regularly (again suggested by doctors).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I used to be locked into depression for days even weeks although not debilitating it affected relationships. Once I decided I must didn’t want to keep feeling that way I started changing patterns of how I interacted with people, family and situations that triggered it. I learned that most times a repeating dynamic could only be changed if I changed the way I handled it. It works most times. When it doesn’t I allow myself time to be depressed, to honor its presence in my psyche. Then I jsut don’t want it anymore and climb out again. Depression can be an addictive thing…

    Liked by 4 people

  9. A solid, intelligent approach to a condition that is in all of us. I like how you looked at it as a problem, worked through it and realize it is unrealistic to be ‘happy’ all the time. You are on the right path. Blogging and talking about it is also healthy. It keeps you from withdrawing from people and the support you need. Good job. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, and yes I agree—happiness is very fickle, fulfillment is not. Seeing life as a series of problems or riddles, in my opinion, is the most practical way to do it, and keeps the perception in check; it keeps ideals from going overboard into machismo or melodrama or any form of over-romanticization, but it still allows for the use and feeling of emotion and intangibles when called for.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. For healthy people, I’ve always thought of depression as the soul’s way of telling you to pay attention to something in your life that you’ve neglected. The next step you want to take in your relationships, career, personal development etc. seems obvious. But you have lost all the energy for taking it. Rather than plow forward, you have to stop and think what you’re missing before you decide what your next step should be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe. But I’ve been depressed when there is nothing to change, when everything is going great. I don’t necessarily think it’s always some existential clue, much like I don’t think happiness is a natural state we are entitled to. I think being able to stay levelheaded amidst the inevitable switch between both states is how to maintain fulfillment, and be at peace.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for liking my last post. It encourages me more than you know to keep posting! The post I am commenting on in written in September but I have been mulling over what I do with depression or shame or anxiety and it is basically what you are saying…It is better to sit down and “NAME” what is going on and for!e that lets me find the way and the place to put said issue. For example my mother and I struggle to have a good relationship and so when that disturbs me I do not go off on her of in a downward spiral of I name of like “oh yep this is that button on me that she ?yikes to push but I don’t have to deal t to her jealousy or bitterness of selfishness. That is about her so I remove myself from it and choose to stay in the .moment in my mind. I renew my mind like the Bible speaks of. I renew freshly my identity in Christ (obviously you can tell I am a Christian) and just rest in that.
    Anyway, thanks again and take care! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 2 people

    • No problem! And yes—understanding cause and effect behind trauma has been proven to undo it in many cases, as evolutionarily, it provides actionable information against the next similarly constructed source of trauma. But in the absence of being unable to find a cause and effect, it’s better to be proactive (or aggressive, as we say in the military). It could be something as subtle as cleaning the tiles in the bathroom and reducing the mold content in the air, which compromises the immune system and might adversely affect serotonin uptake. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi, guys…suppose i’m a little late to the party (Again). Just like to point out that this is much the way of how people cope with depression that is a permanent state for a human being. I’ve realised that no matter how many drugs you take, depression will never go away if your having a tough life. My thoughts are to just keep going tomorrow may have different outlook and now it usually does. I’m making my way through this shit life of mine just by seeing it day to day. I get a good day every now and again which can make up for it.
    I better point out that I have only 85% of my original memory due to illness brought on by intolerance to food. This may give you an idea of how hard it is to live with such depression and confusion at the same time. There will be a time when I no longer can keep control of living in the moment and I dearly hope that at that point my life will end somehow…

    It’s a bitch I know but, it’s unfair to keep someone alive in so much pain and so much misery just for the sake of people who do not agree with Euthanasia.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Over the years I have ‘raged’ against the times I found myself in the black hole of depression. The last time I found myself there I came across the word ‘liminal’, funny how a word can elude you until the exact time you need it in your life.

    I looked up ‘liminal space’ and realized that every time in the past I found myself in this place (usually with debilitating depression) I did whatever I could (usually raging and fleeing) to escape the pain. This time instead of ‘fleeing’ the pain I stopped took a good look around and somewhere in the darkness (usually at 3:00 am) I realized I could stand the pain it was the suffering that was unbearable. There was a bridge from the pain to the suffering and it was built with my thoughts, once I engaged my mind there was no end to the suffering I could conjure up.

    So, tear down that particular thought bridge, accept the pure pain take one step at a time through this ‘liminal space’ no short cuts this time, learn what I had been running from this time.

    And as Bob Rogers above stated. “Face it” and use it to fuel your future.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really like your distinction between pure pain and suffering. Theoretically, humanity enjoys pure pain somehow; that’s why we like watching tragedy because there is sublime beauty about human nature within it. However, what prevents us from having a calm, insightful view of our lives is the anxiety and fear, and the confusions about practical circumstances and possible solutions, and true, there’s no way we could view our lives as simply a picture in the frame, but it matters to acknowledge their existences and the causes.
      fleeing won’t help, because it only means pushing them down to the subconsciousness.
      I sincerely admire those who make attempts to acknowledge and then triumph over parts of themselves to move forward to true happiness.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. i suffer from mental illness and depression is part of my bipolar. i don’t get over it i get thru it. what helps are music, mindfulness, and meds. any one and all three help me to alter my mood.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Reblogged this on The Perils of Improbable Potholes and commented:
    Nice piece. The marketing guys (PhD university types) came up with a term that best describes fleeting “happiness”: the “hedonic treadmill.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmil. I note Wikipedia says it started in psyc, but I first heard it from marketing guys (who use it to monetize by selling more “stuff,” as George Carlin called it).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. For me the hardest part is to think clearly through the fog of depression. There is no doubt that your approach of “just do it.” is the best one to pull yourself back together and keep on moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed. Movement—even if it’s not immediately apparent what its use is—serves to shake up perspective, even if it might be by just a little bit, and along the way, i’ve found it can eventually SHIFT that perspective if I keep doing my best to solve problems, no matter how mundane they happen to be.

      Like

  17. I don’t really suffer from depression so can’t contribute any constructive dialogue but I do get a case of anxiety now and then and it is always due to too much sugar – even an over indulgence of natural fruits will trigger it. I believe most physical ailments can be traced to chemical imbalance in the body. I was suffering from severe heart arrhythmia, fatty liver and kidney dysfunction – but when I lost over 15 kilograms of fat, those symptoms vanished.

    Liked by 1 person

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