I get up early to go to the gym every morning but Sunday. I just added the "Stair Master (Monster)" to my regimen. It burns a lot of calories in a short period of time but it is brutal. After about two minutes, I am ready to be done. But I just tell myself just take one more step...then another...then one more. I am up to 15 minutes now just step after sweaty step.
This is how you have to approach fighting depression as well, step by step, day by day and sometimes you sweat. Depression is a monster in it's own right.
Recognizing you are depressed and accepting the fact is critical. You have to see that you are not just a "little blue" or just going through a bad time that will soon pass. Depression is not something that normally just passes. And it's not something to be embarrassed about and try to hide. It is something that needs to be addressed and dealt with out in the open. Depression is often a product of a chemical or hormonal problem going on inside of us. It might have been triggered by some tragic event or it might just have been triggered by our everyday lives. It is normally related to some sort of stress put on us by others or by ourselves (or both).
Depression takes a toll on all aspects of our lives: spiritual, emotional, physical and mental. It is just plain debilitating!
I am going to share in my blog posts how I am personally dealing with my depression. My path is not your's or someone else's. This is how I am choosing to deal with this issue and it is working for me. I have not arrived. I am still a work in progress. But maybe something I am doing might encourage or work for you.
Once I accepted that I was depressed and my eyes started opening to how it was affecting me, my family and friends, I was finally ready to take my first step up out of the pit , away from the monster. I decided to change my diet.
Why would I start there? What about prayer, medication, counselling? Well, I was praying . Medication worked for awhile and then it didn't (though I still take an occasional pill for my anxiety). Counselling is something I still consider trying. I believe the answer to my prayer for help with my depression was changing my diet. I had tried it years ago and had some success with it.
I know we are tired of hearing about low carb diets but I have to say it is really helping me. The diet I am using is based on "The Schwarzbein Principal" by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. and Nancy Deville. It's a book that was recommended to me by the Women to Women Clinic I went to in Maine (about 10 years ago). Women to Women focuses on holistic healing in the issues of women's hormone health.
It's a very strict, low carb diet (but not a no carb diet) , which eliminates all white sugar and flour and processed food. It also excludes caffeine and alcohol. I say my diet is just based on this book because I do drink at least 2 cups of green tea a day (even though it has some caffeine) and the book does promote eating lots of vegetables but I try to make it my goal to get 7 to 9 servings of a variety of vegetables a day. I also drink the recommended 8 or more servings of water or herbal teas (and green tea) daily. This was my first step.
Yes, it is not easy (especially when everyone else is eating pizza!) to stick to at first. But it becomes natural and a habit over time. I don't think about food the same way anymore. I think about it more as being a fuel or medicine for my body. It's the whole concept of garbage in - garbage out and vise-versa. And the results for me are so worth it!
The lesser of the motivating results is that I lose weight. I have lost 21 pounds so far in four months. (Trying to lose 9 more.) But the best result was the clearing of the brain fog. It's a slow but definitely noticeable effect. I started to feel like myself. A person I hadn't seen in years. I had the ability back to see reality (which is a little scary!) but now I felt I could make better choices to improve myself and heal.
My depression fogged my mind and robbed me of the ability to see things realistically which effected my relationships with God, my family and friends. Depression makes you feel like you are stuck in quicksand. The big temptation is just to lie back and let yourself go under. Or sometimes we try to "fight" through escapism. When you try to fight to get out of the quicksand of depression through unhealthy escapes you go under quicker. By escapism I mean trying to numb the pain with excessive TV watching, over eating, under eating, excessive time on the internet, over sleeping, self-medicating... etc. These things feel like temporary reliefs but they really just get us deeper into the quicksand of depression and despair!
So, if you are depressed you need to find your first step whatever that may look like for you (medication, rest, change of diet, counseling, reducing your stress) Ask for help from your husband, family member, friend, pastor. Once you take that step and your mind clears even just a little, you have a foothold to get out of that pit. You will have the ability to make better choices in figuring out what you need and what you can do to "deal and heal".
I will discuss my other steps in my future blogs. If you are depressed take whatever energy you can muster and help you can find and take that first step!