Depression takes a holiday! Depression is the simplest mental illness to to stop, to pause, to relieve, yet day after day, in hospitals all over the country, doctors still attempt to cure depression without making patients aware of the very relief that is available to them for free. Some cases of severe, deep-seated depression might need medication and long-term therapy, but some mild depression, ordinary sadnesses can be paused by having the person take action. Imagine if every depressed person knew and learned and remembered that a person cannot remain depressed if they are continuously taking action, then maybe thousands or millions of patients would begin taking action in their own lives. Society is so dependent on drugs and on healing that comes only from drugs and from surgery, that society is reluctant to hear what the truth is about depression and what might relieve depression. I am not saying that some people do not need drugs. But I am saying that in some cases where mild depression exists, that taking action, being active, being creative does relieve that depression, even if only temporary. One can keep taking that action which relieves the depression probably in the same manner one takes pills and prescriptions. Too many people take prescription drugs for depression and then take no action in their own lives. You cannot relieve depression by taking drugs and then taking no action. Being depressed requires you to be still, to lay dormant, to stay put in one place, to have no creativity, to have no desire to do anything in your life. Then there is a mild depression that is a situation where the person is active and remains active to fight their depression and for as long as the person is active in their life, the depression subsides, takes a back seat to everything else.
Get busy! Think about this in your own life. Whether you have ever been depressed or not, there have been times in your life when you simply have been too busy to be depressed. You just didn't have time to be depressed or have time to know that you were or should be depressed. (Some people's lives are filled with so much trauma and tragedy that it makes sense that they would be depressed. That would be anyone's normal reaction. Yet, in some people's lives, they are simply too busy to feel or act depressed. So, therefore, action of some type can and does ward off the outward signs of depression even if one is depressed inside (in their minds). There was this joke about Old Mother Hubbard who lived in a shoe. Someone saw all the children running all around and in and out of the house. It seemed like chaos. They asked her how come she had not had a nervous breakdown from all the work she had to do. She replied that she simply was too busy. And that is so true. Many of us are sad, sad as those who lay in bed all day and night, except that we are simply too busy to keep depression in our bodies. Take a clue from that fairy tale joke and get yourself busy right now.
You can be active and still be depressed! Then there are times when you are simply depressed and you try action and yet you stay depressed even while being active. Most people “quit’ there and go back to inaction. Yet, if you just keep at the action, keep being active, EVEN if you still feel depressed while being active, your activity will soon win out over the depression. The key is to be determined and continue to be active. Think about it. The most severely depressed individuals sit still or remain in bed all day and all night. If they could bring themselves to move, to take some steps, to get out of bed, to go for a walk, and if they could convince themselves to do this every day or a few times a day, eventually their action would win out over their inaction.
So what does it all mean? It means that if you find yourself being mildly depressed, the very best medicine for you at that exact moment would be to take action. Taking some good, positive action in your life will help you get back to yourself, as you were before you were depressed. So, how does one treat themselves to relieve their own depression when they are living alone or when they have no one counseling them? Is there any hope for solitary people who are depressed? What about those depressed people who are secluded and not in contact with any of their family? Where is the hope for them? Are you depressed? Are you sitting there at your computer, reading this article, knowing that you are feeling very depressed? Have you been that way for long? Where are the answers for you?
I am not a doctor, nurse or counselor, but I have some information that is relevant to depression. More than anything, I know one thing, that depression can not battle against action. Yes, that is right, action! If you are sitting in your chair there reading this article, and you feel depressed, take hope in the fact that you are not totally depressed. Otherwise, if you were, you would not be online, and you would not be reading this. The fact that you are reading this article, that you came to the computer shows that you are not totally depressed. A totally depressed person would not have got this far. So, congratulate yourself! You have conquered some of your depression by taking an action. You took the action of going online. More than that, you took many actions. You got up out of bed, walked to the computer or wheeled your wheelchair to the computer and you then began surfing the net. You found my article and you are here reading! That is awesome progress for a depressed person. Pat yourself on the back and know that you can do more and you can take more actions to combat the depression that you are feeling.
Feeling suicidal? Sometimes when you are depressed, you might have suicidal thoughts and feelings also. It makes sense. The pain of depression is so awful that some just want to be relieved of the pain and want that so bad that they begin thinking and feeling suicidal. Think different. Yes, I said think different. Put different thoughts in your head. Know and remind yourself that it is not life that you truly want to leave but it is the pain that you want to leave. So keep that in mind. If you are feeling suicidal, the best thing to do is to call a suicide hotline. Here are some numbers to call if you are feeling or thinking suicidal: 1.800. SUICIDE or 1.800.273. TALK or 1.800.784.2433 . Call any of those numbers if you have any suicidal thoughts, suicidal words, actions or feelings. If you have an immediate emergency, call the police or operator immediately.
What about minor depression? Now, suppose your depression is just a minor depression. Suppose you are just a little bit sad. How do you treat this if you already decide that you do not want to take anti-depressants? You can treat your depression with action. This can be a beginning treatment before you even have time to get to a doctor. Take action. (This is not a medical treatment of course, and if you need to see a doctor, then go see one. Make an appointment today. You might even find some walk-in clinics in your own neighborhood). Suppose you are sad because your bunny died. Yes that is real sadness over a real event. But the sadness over this loss does not have to turn your whole life around. You can fix your sadness and become a little happy by being active. Don't just sit there, do something! Go read a book. There is a wonderful book called, “How to Survive the Loss of a Love". I have read many books about loss and this particular book is one of the most effective and on-target book ever published. Near the end of this article I placed a link that brings you to this book. So, sometimes you can help rid yourself of depression or sadness by reading, other times by listening to music, or seeing a movie. Everything depends on you, on how you react to circumstances and to life in general.
Take action! So, all this talk about action and what kind of action are we speaking of? Action is movement. So any good, positive movement is a step in the right direction to beginning to fight your depression. Begin activities that force you to move. Take up bowling or go fly a kite in nice weather. These actions require movement of your body and they require some thought process about the activity. So therefore, while you are thinking of flying a kite or thinking of your bowling score, your spirits lift, even if temporarily. I hear what you are about to say, “HEY! I am depressed, too depressed to go fly a kite". And my answer to that is that is exactly why you are depressed. You are depressed because you are sitting around doing nothing. You sit around using all your time and all your energy to think about your problems and then you get more depressed. Have you ever felt better thinking about your problems? No, and that is the truth. Now, thinking about solutions to problems, that is another story.
If you are mildly depressed, I suggest that you take action. Take some ordinary actions such as these:
- Go to the library and find the self-help section. Find books by Wayne W. Dyer, Og Mandino. Look through the shelves in that section and find every book that is applicable to you and your life. Read the books right there at the library. Find the book called, The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino. Look at the book called, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, and remember to locate that book called, The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
- Go to the bookstore, the one that has the headphones. Hang out in the music section and listen to all kinds of music. If you can afford to buy some music, then do so.
- Call some friends or relatives and arrange a visit. Get outdoors.
- See nature. Visit a park.
- Check your local newspapers and find out where the festivals are and attend some.
- Make plans. This is one of the best way to help yourself. Make plans. Making plans is probably one of the hardest things to do when you are depressed because that is exactly what you do not want to do. But do it anyway. Today, right now, make some good, productive, creative plans.
- Connect with someone. If you do not want to call friends or relatives, call a support group or a hotline number.
Those are all good things to do on weekends (or during the week if you do not work or go to school). Now, during the week you might have appointments, school or work. Then do what your normal schedule demands that you do. IF you have a job, get up in the morning. I know this is tough when you are depressed. But if you need to, give yourself instructions -step by step- to get yourself out of the door and on the way to work.
Silly as that sounds, this kind of action is what helps depressed individuals move and take action. Tell yourself, “get out of bed". This works if you live alone and have no one to remind you that you should get up in the morning. Be your own boss and remind yourself that you must get up in the morning.
Rising in the morning is a great accomplishment for a depressed individual. So do that. Have that as your first goal each and every day. Get up!
Know that your health and your future depend on you getting up in the morning. You want to stay independent and you want to enjoy the good things in life. You will not accomplish that by staying in bed all day and night. If you can't seem to sleep at night. Reverse your schedule. Apply for an evening job and sleep in the daytime. Sometimes a change as simple as that can change your entire world around. Look at your life and ask yourself what it is that will help you be happier. When you have the answer to that question, try and take an action to improve your life by making yourself happier. Taking one step at at time in the direction of action can be the best medicine for you and your life.
If you have had a major tragedy, trauma or accident, you may need professional help, perhaps some counseling. Serve yourself best by going to a counselor who does not prescribe drugs. Any problem can be talked out. And tragedy and loss is not always cured, in fact, never has been cured by drugs. Tragedy is tragedy. All humans have emotions, and sometimes, we have pain from all the emotions that we feel at one time. Drugs are not necessarily the answer to all life's problems. If you can manage it, seek a counselor who does not prescribe drugs. Try not to see a psychiatrist since a large part of their job is to prescribe drugs. (Yes, there are some individuals who might need prescriptions, but what I am saying is don't begin on drugs. If you have had a tragedy, try and get through that and over that without using drugs). Give yourself time to heal. And that takes a long time. So be patient with yourself.
When you are sad, try and remember the things that used to make you happy and try to return to those things, places or events. Remember years ago when you were very happy, you used to love to go swimming? And now when you are sad you do not want to swim. Here is what you can do for yourself - go to the ocean or to the pool and watch the swimmers. See how that feels for you. Breathe in the ocean air. Just sit on the beach. You do not have to go in the water. Just watch the scenery for the first time. Then the next day, go there planning to put your feet in the water. Take small steps with everything you do. But take action. Try and remember all the things that made you happy in the past and try your best to take some actions in those directions. (Take only positive, constructive or creative actions, the actions that will not hurt you or others around you).
- Be around nature more than you are now. Even in the city, look for the birds and squirrels around you. Draw them or take pictures of them.
- Take a one-day vacation somewhere out of state. You can travel a few hours and be in a completely new environment. That will be a refreshing vacation for you even if only for one day. You can take a trip by plane for under one hundred dollars from a particular state to another state. Or take a short Amtrak or car ride to a new environment.
- See a Broadway play, by yourself or with someone. Or go to a movie. See a high school or elementary performance.
- Build, create, knit or crochet something. Do something crafty. Check out Michaels craft stores and go wild for one day.
- Help someone. Yes, you heard. Help someone. Helping someone else puts your own problems in perspective and many people gain as much as they help.
So, now your imagination is happening as it should happen. I'll give you one more idea on how to have a little happiness if you are totally sad. Check out those beach adventure trips to Atlantic City. You can go to Atlantic City for under twenty-five dollars by bus and then when you arrive there, usually, the bus company will give you about fifteen or twenty-five dollars to spend at the casinos. If you have never done this, it will be a new experience for you. You can spend your money at the casino and then walk along the boardwalk.
These are just some ways to bring a little joy or a little creativity into your day, into your life at a time when you might be feeling sad. Check out the book called, The Feeling Good Book. (Search for it online). And finally here is the link to the book called, How to Survive the Loss of a Love" By Peter McWilliams. http://www.amazon.com/Survive-Loss-Love-Peter-McWilliams/dp/0931580439
The author of this article is not a doctor, nurse, medical professional or lawyer. I suggest that you do only what is appropriate for you to do and I suggest that you use only the suggestions that will be good for your own life and future. I write this article to share my ideas and suggestions about the subject of depression. The ideas and suggestions in this article are just that - ideas and suggestions. Each reader must make their own decisions and their own choices in life. So read cautiously, and only apply what is safely appropriate for you and your life. Whenever in doubt, consult with a professional or counselor.
Writers of this article are published authors and artists living in the United States of America. Our articles, art and writing have been published in many newspapers, and in two magazines in the United States. We invite you to connect with us by email with any of your comments, ideas, suggestions or complaints. We do answer all emails