I experienced a breakthrough when working with my brother who is a deep-healing psychotherapist. There was a part of me that had been wounded when I was born, and twelve years later I was wounded again by an incident with my father. In a flash of recognition, I saw a connection between my depression and anxiety and the two incidents that had happened to me so long ago. I had repressed those incidents into my subconscious but had accepted the lies that evolved out of them. Those lies, combined with leaving a career of 30 years and moving out of a familiar city at the same time, sunk me into major depression.
So I was healed forever, right? Wrong. Depression is not that simple. That was but one step on my road to recovery. I needed to also develop tools to expand my comfort zone when I was hit with circumstances, events, and stinking thinking that threatened to push me back into the pit.
Cognitive therapy is a tool that keeps me from being drowned
by negative thoughts. Listening to Christian praise and worship music calms my spirit when the surface of my world is turbulent. Not watching TV after 9 p.m. and reading instead quiets my soul (mind, will, and emotions) before I go to bed. Staying off computers and other electronic devices shields me from unwanted stimuli before I start to wind down.
Learning to accept the universe has been a critical tool for me; I have written about that in previous blogs. Creating a gap between stimulus and response has been another biggie; I have also written a previous blog about that. And understanding depression more completely and developing new tools to cope with it has been an ongoing process.
You see, it really never ends. If you’ve had depression before, you are likely to have it again, and the more times you have been depressed, the more likely is a re-occurrence. Triumphing over depression is not having it go away and never return; it is anticipating when you are vulnerable and taking steps to keep the black cloud away. I have not triumphed over depression by eliminating it from my life; I have learned to deal with it bodily (through on-going medication), mentally through healthy thinking, emotionally through meditation and exercise, and spiritually through establishing a close relationship with Jehovah Rapha – the Lord who heals.