There is an important lesson I learned in facing the onset of depression, which helped me deal with it in a different way. At one time in my life, when I felt the grip of depression, my mind would start spinning with thoughts of the awful things about to happen to me – intense pain in my stomach, a tightening of all my muscles, an overwhelming feeling of malaise, lack of appetite, and sleepless nights – and I became afraid. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy, for soon all these things came to be.
Once I learned to stop fighting the depression and trying to turn it off, I could relax and make the depression much more bearable. Self-talk was a key in dealing with this new approach, as were the tools of music, meditation, deep relaxation, and becoming involved in the lives of others. Then, instead of becoming anxious and fearful, I faced the problem with acceptance of my condition and a hope that the depression would dissipate. When this worked, I gained confidence that depression was something I could deal with, and with each success came more confidence.
Today, depression is not the enemy it once was. I am aware when it comes close to me and tell myself that it will go away again – just as it has for the past few years. I have also found that I can approach other pain in much the same way. Fight it or accept it? For me, I have learned to accept my afflictions, knowing that acceptance is preferable to fear. I can’t say this all happened overnight, but it happened.