When I started this blog I knew nothing about blogging so I looked for resources to help. One of the best I found was the ProBlogger Podcast by Darren Rowse- and it is free.
(This post uses several affiliate links to Darren’s website and other affiliates-these are ways for you to support this blog at no cost to you. )
I loved listening to his Australian accent (which I rarely hear living in Oklahoma), appreciated his easy to understand instructions, and connected with his genuinely friendly attitude.
First, mid-life crisis
In 2018 Darren extended his influence through a Facebook group called Find Your Spark, which is for
people who have the common goal of finding their spark in life.Darren Rowse
That year Darren wrote an article for Medium explaining how he was experiencing a mid-life crisis. The Facebook group started as a place for people who read Darren’s ‘sparks article’ and wanted to take part in the resulting 30-day challenge. Now anyone is invited to join the group.
Early in 2019, Darren shared in the group that he had been dealing with depression several months before. By that time he was doing better, and after receiving much positive feedback in the group he wrote another article for Medium explaining what had helped him manage the depression.
I appreciate the first thing he said was “I am not a doctor so I am not giving advice.” But he thought what helped him might help others, and since I am a doctor and I agree that these things are helpful, I am going to share them with you and add my thoughts on each. Of course, if you want to go straight to Darren’s article, that’s fine too. Here is the link-
1. Talking to my Doctor
Not everyone with depression needs to see a psychiatrist; there may not even be one near where you live. Family physicians receive extensive training in depressed mood, as well as the physical problems that can precipitate or result from depression, like sleep problems, weight gain or loss, chronic pain, and fatigue.
Not everyone needs antidepressant medication, but when they do, it can make a dramatic difference. Medication needs adequate time and dosage to be effective, and once that is reached should be continued long enough for the depression to stay in remission.
I routinely recommend that depressed persons exercise; actually, I recommend it to everyone. Done properly, it almost never causes a problem, and is known to improve depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Here’s a post that offers you some motivation to move more with confidence and purpose.
4. Getting a dog
Probably any type of animal contact helps lift one’s mood. I found this true myself this summer when my husband was recuperating from an ankle fracture. Since he was non-weight bearing in a cast, he was confined to home except trips to the doctor so I stayed home with him other than work. During this time, we took care of a friend’s cat while he was out of town. We had not had an animal in our home in a long time but we quickly bonded with the kitty and found her entertaining and calming. Her presence took our minds off the pain and uncertainty about my husband’s injury.
In this post I explained how animals can help people heal .
5. Telling friends and family
I agree with this as long as those friends and family are supportive. I would start with those closest, who probably already realize something is wrong. You do not need people who will blame you for your depression, tell you to “just snap out of it”, or advise unsound treatments.
6.Improving my diet
Like exercise, this one is universal. Even people who aren’t depressed can benefit from eating more plant based whole foods, like the ones I discussed in this previous post.
Whether you call it a diary, journal, or blog, expressing ourselves in writing can be therapeutic. Or for some people it may be another form of writing, like poetry, essays, short stories. Other forms of expression like the visual and performing arts, photography, crafting, sewing, and needlework can be soothing, calming, and satisfying.
Obviously, you’re a reader, although you may not be doing it to treat depression. I think this can help 2 ways.
First, by reading books and other media specifically about depression to learn more about its causes and treatment.
Second, by providing an outlet for fun, humor, reflection, learning, thinking, growing- all of which can deflect depressive thoughts and attitudes.
9. Creating new projects
Much of this I alluded to in #7, but consider taking on new work projects, community activities, and family events. People with depression often feel overwhelmed, so don’t rush this one, so as not to aggravate those feelings.
Depressed people often feel isolated and lonely and may avoid other people. Volunteering can make it easier to connect-unlike social events, volunteering usually has a set agenda so you know what you’re going to do and even say. That can take the pressure off trying to make small talk and be sociable when you don’t yet feel so. Sharing with others who need our help makes our own problems seem less intense.
Your community likely offers numerous opportunities to volunteer. Also check out this list for other opportunities to get involved in helping others.
Sometimes it has become almost a cliche to say to someone who is hurting, “I’ll keep you in my prayers.” But I think if we say that, we should mean it. Sometimes it can be hard to pray for oneself or to ask others for prayer, it may seem selfish or weak.
But prayer is an integral part of most faith traditions that I know of; Christians are encouraged to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Thinking and meditating on scripture and other words of “faith, hope, and love” can counteract the negative thinking that usually drives depression.
You’re not alone.
Darren and I want to assure you there is hope for depression and you do not have to suffer alone. Start with your doctor and check out any other resources in your community and on-line. As Darren said at the end of his article,
Dealing with suicidal thoughts
Depression sometimes leads to suicidal thoughts, which may progress to plans, attempts, and loss of life. In a future post I’ll share how one well known woman faced and survived suicide. Read more now in this article by psychiatrist Dr. Melissa Welby
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
watercress words- exploring the HEART of mental health
In an upcoming post, I’ll share about a woman entertainer and author who also confronted depression and won.
I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.