There was a time in my life when reading the Victorian novels of George MacDonald were the only thing keeping me from going under. His characters were so real and so noble that I found in them a source of grounding amidst the chaos going on in my life. Gene Jimenez says much the same thing.
“ A couple of suggestions. I have found great support and solace in fiction. Not junk novels, but good, solid literature with depth whose characters and situations “call forth” the “resourceful self” that we all need to get through the dark stuff.
Also, meditation– being present in the moment– is therapeutic, and can be drawn on at any time of day or night, in crisis or otherwise.”
- Gene Jimenez, Higher Executive Officer at Department of Social Protection, Dublin, Ireland
Hope for depression is not one big thing, a silver bullet so to speak. It’s the coming together of many things that add up to triumph over depression. One of those many things in our control is eating right. Let’s hear what Nancy Jimenez has to say.
“I am a holistic health and Wellness coach and it is so interesting how much food affects our mood and yet it is not discussed as much as I feel it should be. The connection between our food and the nutrients our body absorbs directly affects our serotonin levels as well as the other neurotransmitters. When we eat junk the absorption of nutrients is compromised and therefore our body is not able to produce the neurotransmitters needed to help us feel.
I truly feel it is the missing piece for a lot of people.”
– Nancy Jimenez, Holistic Health and Wellness Coach; LCPC, Billingual Professional School Counselor, Program Development, Silver Spring, Maryland
“The art of active listening and empathy helps! Giving someone a safe, calm and inspiring environment in which to share their deepest pain without judgment or interruption can be very healing!
“Words of encouragement, praise and connecting human to human helps! Getting plenty of sunlight and fresh air helps. Finding ways to lessen the isolation that depression brings helps.
“Getting loved ones on board to encourage the depressed helps. Emphasizing they are not alone helps.
“Planting a garden and tending to it helps! Implementing a daily routine of self-care helps! Staying busy doing meaningful activities helps. Helping others helps!
“These are just a few non-medicinal techniques I have used with clients.”
- Carol Cronin, Founder/Owner at Happy, Joyous & Free Recovery & Life Coaching, San Francisco Bay Area
I belong to a Linked in group that concerns itself with the treatment of anxiety and depression. A few weeks back I posted the following question: could you tell me what is the greatest tool, other than medication, that you use to help those with depression or anxiety come out of their dark clouds?
For the next few blogs, I’ll relate some of the answers.
“I have severe OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] which fluctuates, but I got over clinical depression 15 years ago by doing the following:
- I saw a homeopath who knew how to help those with OCD and depression and she helped me to talk about the things which really upset me. Talking to her made me realize exactly what I wanted to achieve though it took me a couple of years to get there.
- My main aim was to go to University and get a BA at least. It took 11 years but I got a BA, an MA and a PhD. It was hard work and I almost gave up many times but the research was a great help for stopping my depression from returning and keeping my OCD under control because it occupied my brain, leaving less time for ruminating.
- I spend most of my spare time gardening as it is such a nurturing hobby. Growing plants and watching them flourish is very satisfying and the challenges which gardening brings helps to get things into perspective. Making the garden into a tranquil safe place has had huge benefits in that it has attracted wild life (birds and small mammals) which I can watch from my windows when the weather is bad.
- These pursuits have made a huge difference to my life. The depression never returned and I do have respite from my OCD for long periods, as well as wonderful absorbing hobbies to help bring it under control.
- I have some online forums which I run which bring together people with OCD as well as depression, anxiety and other disorders. Sharing and talking about hobbies really helps. Sufferers reap huge rewards from sharing as it helps to end isolation.” Anne Watkins, editor of The OCD Project, Exeter, United Kingdom
Depression is a strange and unpredictable affliction.
I have a friend who has been depressed since he was sixteen years old and one day settled into a moderate stage of depression he could live with most of the time.
He once told me of a time when he was in major depression and, even with antidepressants, was having a difficult time functioning. One evening, he was watching the 5:30 evening news by himself, deep in depression, when for no apparent reason, the depression suddenly lifted, and the darkness was replaced by light. It startled him.
The point of my telling this story is to never give up – never, ever give up. Just when you least expect it, your depression could lift like the curtain of a movie screen, and the dark of the night within you replaced by the light of a glorious day. Take heart. It could happen to you.
Both of these poems were written by me, one when I was deep in depression and the other a couple of years after I came out on the other side. I hope this is encouraging. If I can triumph over depression, you too can come out of the dark places of this fallen world.
May 28, 2008
How long, O Lord, how long,
Will I be depressed and anxious forever?
My eyes are flooded with tears,
My stomach a knot within me.
O, that I had never been born,
Or had died as a baby.
There is nothing left of me.
Please, God, I need a miracle.
You are the song in me today,
With all I think and all I say,
With all events that come my way.
Your melody my spirit plays;
I’ll tune within and humbly praise
Your presence in me all my days.
It’s not what I achieve for You;
I’ll strive no more in all I do.
It’s only what You do through me;
I’ll wait for You on bended knee.
God is good!
There is an upcoming medical advancement that could offer hope and encouragement to those with major depression who have so far been treatment resistant.
Researchers from a German hospital have implanted pacemaker electrodes into the medial forebrain bundle in the brains of patients suffering from major depression with amazing results: in six out of seven patients, symptoms improved both considerably and rapidly for periods of up to 18 months after the intervention. The method of Deep Brain Stimulation had already been tested on various other structures within the brain, but with less dramatic effects. The only drawback is that the new procedure will take time to become part of standard therapy.
What a development! Just when there seems to be no hope, yet there is hope. I would have been thrilled with the anticipation of this procedure becoming available six years ago when I was in major depression and had no hope of recovery.