5 Ways to deal with Depression in the work /home environment
5 Ways to Deal with Depression at work & at home If I can be honest, it took me a while after discovering that I was dealing with depression to realize that it was not like the flu. You didn’t “get it” and take medicine for it to go away. This means that there was not specific “cure” to make it go away and stay away. This was a new concept for me because I always thought that there was an endpoint to things that had happened to me in my life, depression being no different. I remember my therapist telling me, “There is no nothing that makes it go away-often you just learn to deal with it better. Me being the person that I am, still thought that I could beat it!!
Needless to say, 2 years later and countless unfinished products later, she was right! It comes and it goes. It stays and it leaves. Lingers along and then rushes away. I have not found the cure, perhaps the chemical side of it loves my brain, or perhaps this thorn in my side keeps me connected to God on a level that I would not have otherwise been able to have. As I dealt with different episodes last year with depression I began to find ways to get around it. Not necessarily to avoid it—but to get around its affects. Mental health –any kind is stigmatized. No one wants to raise their hand and say, “I deal with it.” You don’t exactly pull someone to the side at work and say, “I feel hopeless and alone and I’m not motivated to get up in the morning!” Right, that wouldn’t go over so well! In my quest to be better at this thing called life, be undefeatable and so the things that the Lord has called me to do –I created the top things that help me cope with depression!
1. Do double the work ! That’s right! My episodes generally last about 7-10 days- sometimes less! So during those other 20+ days during the month where I’m feeling at my optimum level, I get extra things done, like doing my lessons plans early (which is a struggle in itself) organizing bills ahead of time, being proactive in cleaning (laundry, deep cleaning, shopping) because the thing is during this time it takes a lot to do the mandatory things like work, cooking, etc. So I find that if some of those extra things like time to wash sheets, or an extra project at work that comes along its not pulling at my attention as much. I don’t ALWAYS do these things, but even if I can wrangle one or two off of my list, it makes those particularly hard days just a tad bit easier.
2. Acceptance of the circumstances of your mental health Listen -I am not saying give up and die! However, I am saying that we have to accept that this is an issue that is very real in our lives and that ignoring it is not going to make it go way. I spent month after month assuring myself that the next month would not happen! I just knew that I could pray it away and make it not come back into my life. I even thought that I would fight with all of might the next time it snuck up into my life. It did NOT work. I just ended up feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t make it go away. I finally was smart enough to accept that I battled with chronic depression BUT that it was manageable. It was just like anything else in life, as much as I was willing to put into making the best of it was what I would get out of it. I accept that sometimes I wont feel the greatest or most motivated –which is normal! Even for people that don’t deal with depression!
3. Remind yourself that it is TEMPORARY If you come to my house or actually anywhere where I spend a lot of time in (work, home) I have scriptures everywhere!! They remind me of the battles that the Lord has brought me through—they also remind me that I won’t feel this way always! I even write down joyful moments (like laughing with my children, having a good at work, feeling hopeful, connected to others, etc) It may sound cheesy to some, but it has worked wonders in me realizing that I won’t feel that ways for years or even months! I also read scriptures that remind me of God’s faithfulness and that my life is a portrait of who HE is not who I am. 4. Rest! It may sound cliché, but resting is so good for our bodies! There may be people in the world who can go hard day after day, no matter the day! But I am not one of them! Not during the time when I am having an episode! Some days it takes everything to get out of bed and see the world as full of light and not darkness. On those days, my mind is in that place. Some days I can see hope and some days I despise it. But on those days, I give my permission to rest! I get the mandatory things done-work, family, church –and I rest. I don’t feel pity or sorry for myself –I just rest my body and my brain! I don’t try to save the world or even myself—I just rest. And I don’t apologize about it-it’s healthy for my mind and my body. 5. Be Present! Whether you are at work or at home—be present! Talk to your children, play with them, laugh until your stomach hurts, touch them. Smile. Hug others. The thing is what depression does is separate your from your reality—the reality that you are loved by an almighty father! He wants us to see the beauty of the world around us—the world that He created for us! Smell the flowers, connect with creation. If you are at work—focus on work. If you are with your family-focus on them! I believe that God does not waste moments. He creates them for us to see who he is! This is apart of the process that I have to fight for the hardest! I can’t allow this issue to take away happy moments in my life! Even if my brain is telling me that its hopeless, the very fact that trees grow from seeds and the suns shines after a rainstorm reminds me that the darkness will not always stay! Those are thoughts that I hold onto—and it truly helps me and even makes me feel better most of the time! I am no expert. I didn’t go to college for mental health. But who I am is a survivor of abuse both verbal, physical and sexual who still has trouble sleeping at night. Who starting this journey, 5 years ago, never thought I would smile again. Or laugh. Or love. Jesus has transformed my life, inside out and for that I am grateful. My education does not qualify me to give any advice about mental health, but the time I spend with God does. He qualifies. We obey!
But I spend time with God and He has shown me who he is countless times and in this showing me—he’s shown me beauty in dealing with depression! It makes me thankful that it only lasts 7 days and not 40. I am thankful that I can still speak, walk and talk. I am urged to help others who may be stuck and cannot seem to find a way out. But most importantly, I want to max out the gifts that he’s given me and not allow depression to rob me of the best of me! I hope some of these tips help!
Always praying for your freedom,