NOTE TO READER: This post mentions my attempt to take my life. If this is a trigger for you please do not read it. May you find peace through your valley my friend.
What do you do when your depression sets in? Do you cry? Do you write? Do you listen to music, or go on a walk? Over the course of time I’ve realized that I do four things that allow me to navigate my depression in a healthy way.
1. Pray. This is the first thing I try to do. Not only as damage control when I’m in a valley, but as preventive maintenance before I hit one. It’s like changing my oil before the engine freezes up. My faith has been a source of strength for me and I try to pray as often as I can. Not just asking for peace or clarity, but being thankful for what He has given to me AND what He has taken away. I also now realize that there is a lesson to be learned in every single thing I go through. Instead of going through it, I try to grow through it. Praying helps me do that.
2. Cry. Yep, that’s me. Big man on campus, lol. There’s been plenty of times I’ve found myself balling it out in the fetal position, when Specter comes to take a dig. If I feel it coming, I just let it go. No use fighting it. I used to cry a lot more several months ago and prior to my suicide attempt. While I was in the psychiatric center, the doctor changed my medicine to a combination of 20 mg of Lexapro and 2 mg of Celexa. Wow! What a combination. I gave up on “the magic bullet” until then. If you have the same diagnoses I have I encourage you to bring it up with your doctor.
3. Identify a trigger. On September 14th I attempted to end my life by hanging myself from the doorknob on my bedroom closet. About 5 months later, I started this blog. It wasn’t until I wrote “My Story” (linked at the beginning of this paragraph) that I wrote down what my triggers were. In this case, it was that I couldn’t talk to my daughter to tell her goodnight and that I love her. A short breadcrumb of my triggers and the effects goes like this:
Not being able to reach my daughter at 3 different phone numbers > resentment > anger > depression > drinking > sleeping pills > hanging.
4. Process/Journal. At the time of this writing (17 March 2015) I’ve been blogging about clinical depression and suicide for a month and a half. I never thought I would be blogging about my mental conditions, much less use blogging as the platform. Now it just seems natural. Mental conditions (“illnesses”) are a big blogging topic and I’m surprised at how big this subject is. If you haven’t taken your shot at blogging about your mental state and conditions, I would challenge you to do just that. You are probably thinking you have nothing to offer others, or that you are not an expert. I disagree. If you live and deal with it, you have something to say. You have hope to offer. Try it! Write honestly. Write from the heart. And make connections with others going through the same valley you are. Sharing is therapeutic. Caring for others is, too. You may not be there yet, but I can guarantee you will touch someone with your glimmer of hope.