Note to the Reader: I am not a medical professional. Please do not take any of the writing below as medical advice. I am simply providing a personal account of my experience and coping mechanisms.
How do you cope with the blues and/or depression?
In the wake of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade’s death, we’ve seen the Suicide Prevention Lifeline pass through our Facebook newsfeeds innumerable times. And across many dinner tables, there have been discussions of what qualifies as “depression”, what’s worth seeking professional help and generally, how to deal.
One thing I should address before we go any further: There is no shame in receiving medical help in the form of an anti-depressant, psychologist, or otherwise. I am only sharing what works for me.
You are in charge of how you heal yourself. And there is zero shame in whatever that may be. You do you.
What are symptoms of depression?
So, what does qualify as depression? What’s the difference between being depressed and simply experiencing life’s bluer moments?
I believe depression – much like physical pain – is relative. Your feelings originate from what your mind and heart endure. Sadness is never a contest between individuals, nor is there a “qualification” of sadness. Never allow someone to tell you your pain isn’t worthy.
I label my occasional bouts of sadness as blues. It feels less permanent and pushes me to shake the dust off and pull it together. My blues come nearly after every visit with long-distant family, and especially after the holidays.
Life is sometimes blue, and that’s ok.
How to Manage Depression
So, How do I push through? I’ve got some ways I cope but first, Let’s paint the picture…
Recently, we took a trip to Alabama for a overdue family reunion for my side of the family. Typically, we get together once per year but as we’ve all begun to fly the coop, it’s become more difficult, so these times together are ever-so sacred.
It was a fantastic trip – so many laughs, a few tears, and reminiscing of past times. It was also a whirlwind of activity from start to finish. We hardly had any time to think about the time, date or what was coming up next!
On Sunday, the inevitable happened. We packed up to head home. I shed a few tears standing in the driveway as I hugged Mom and Dad. We quickly mentioned a “next time” we might all be together again.
Time. Is. Fleeting.
Fast forward to Tuesday. We are all back in the grind and quite frankly, I’m blue about it. I’m mopey, teary-eyed and a bit cranky, too. I miss my mom. I miss my family. And I hate that so few people around me can’t relate. Damn it, I’m sad.
As I spoke to my husband across the dinner table, he tossed around a few remedies. I wondered if I was being babyish by feeling so out of sorts. Regardless, I knew I had to do something to get out of this funk.
3 Ways to Combat the Blues
1. Whine a Little. But not with the Merlot! As easy as it is to fill that glass to the brim, I know it won’t actually help – but briefly numb.
Instead of “wining”, I talk to a friend, my husband… or someone who can relate to me in the grocery store! The more I talk about my sadness, blues or anxiety, the more I learn so many people experience the same feelings.
As I talk, I feel the emotion lessen. It’s not completely gone, but it subsides. I feel the clutch release my heart and I’m a little closer to being back to myself again.
2. Sleep it off. I’m certain a good sleep cures many ailments! Sleep is the body’s way of recovering through sickness and sadness, too. Not only do I feel better, but I am more relaxed and less likely to become a puddle in the middle of Kroger. Trust me – sleep helps in allll the ways!
3. Music. Many articles will tell you to crank up some Whitney Houston and dance it out. I am not one of them! I find piano music is the most soothing and relaxing to my soul and mind. I wash my face, put on comfy clothes and unwind with gentle piano songs in the background. It’s much better than distracting myself with social media or playing on my phone.
One thing is certain: Life will always have blue moments. Feel them, acknowledge them, and work through them.
As previously mentioned, I am not a medical professional and none of this is meant to serve as medical advice. BUT, I am always open to listen.
If you or someone you know is having trouble and considering ending life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255