Three days ago, the black dog of depression was crouching at my side, ready to tear me apart. I had returned the day before to Buffalo at midnight from a vacation in the Palm Springs area, needed to set an early alarm to be up for construction workers (we had a flood in our house in late January), and was looking at nine days of work piled up that I couldn’t dive into because there was a dishwasher to buy as part of the restoration project. As the day wore on
I was physically tired, mentally exhausted, emotionally drained, and spiritually depleted. My chest tightened and my back muscles started to cramp. My mind was confused and was telling me I was heading back into major depression, and my emotions agreed. I tried praying but found it impossible. What was I to do?
If this had happened two years ago, I would have called my psychiatrist for a boost in antidepressant and anxiety medication. Although I would try to chase the black dog away, he would sense my fear and attack. But my life is different now; I accept he is there and tame him instead of avoiding him, which never worked anyway.
I first dealt with my body by breathing in deeply for an extended period of time, right while I was shopping. My body started to relax. Next I used positive self-talk to assure myself that I had the tools to tame the beast, and depression would not overtake me, while in my imagination I revisited the positive scenes of the Palm Springs visit, which also calmed down my emotions. I was not able to deal with the spiritual side until I returned home; but I knew exactly what I would do, and that calmed me down. I only needed to be patient.
I dragged into our townhome late afternoon, resisted my impulse to tackle all the work I had to do, and plugged into my MP3 player to listen to “Nothing Would I Withhold” by Kathi Wilson, Christian soaking praise and worship music that ushered me into the presence of God and restored my body and soul, and brought me peace, as I knew it would. After an hour of soaking, the black dog was tamed and slinked away on his own.
I used other tools from my toolbox; I have talked about them in earlier blogs. But you get the point. You don’t have to give in to depression if you pay attention to your body, soul, and spirit – and have a toolbox and thought process to tame the wily beast. A 38-hour course entitled “Bipolar In Order Suite” by Tom Wootton completed my picture of depression with its six stages and six categories, and loaded my toolbox with the tools I now use on a regular basis. If you want to know more about the course and how to access a free overview, leave a comment.