Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Depression and Burn Out

Depression has been on the public mind this week after a sad event. Much finger pointing has been going on, with everyone having the right answer or solution.

I do not dare to present a solution.

What I can tell you is how it has been for me sometimes. I am an expert on myself and am pretty good at knowing when I need to step back as I recognise burn-out symptoms. If I don't take heed of the signs, it is to my peril, and usually to those nearest and dearest to me.

So based on my experience of what might help, here goes...

* Where possible, take an immediate break from everything you can. If that means having someone mind the children for a morning or a day, or a whole weekend, do it.
* Ask for help. I know this is hard but it's important. The chances are very good you'll find empathy. There are few people who do not know the cold fingers of depression.
* Choose carefully to whom you share the deepest parts of your heart. You don't want one who tries to 'fix you'. You want one who will listen, give you a hug and tell you it's all going to be alright. Because it will. Maybe not today, but the sun will shine again and Spring always comes after Winter.
* Remember behind a lot of smiles are aching hearts - you are not the only one. That's one of the lies. Nothing is 'wrong' with you, you just need a break and maybe some help.
* Get to bed at a decent hour.
* Go for a walk or get some other exercise. Fresh air is good for the mind and noticing a garden, or waves, or a bee visiting a flower can have a balancing effect.
* Eat as much fresh food as you can. There is research to shows 'feel good triggers' when eating fresh and raw food. This is a hard one for me as I tend to default to traditional comfort food and forgo what my body and mind need to heal.
* Drink water before anything else. Alcohol does not drown your sorrows, it just smothers them for a while.
* Avoid people that are an effort. You know the ones I mean - see them when you feel stronger.
* Choose not to watch sad movies or ones that are emotionally expensive. Ditto books.
* Avoid music that could be depressive.
* Laughter is medicine. Watch reruns of a favourite sitcom. Mine is The Good Life or Black Books.
* Have a beautiful book to go to. My favourite Escape Hatch book is the Darling Buds of May. I practically know the words off by heart. It is my friend.
* Take a break off Facebook. There seem to be so many happy people on it. And an abundance of Life Coaches all saying encouraging things that can make one feel worse. Don't they ever have Black Days?
* Let the phone go to answer phone. No, you don't have to answer it.
* "No" is a perfectly good word. Say it more often.
* If you need to see a counsellor because the black days won't go away - see one. It could be one of the best things you ever do. A good counsellor will equip you to be stronger.

Well, I hope this week's musing doesn't depress anyone. I nearly didn't write about it but I don't like Image Maintenance when it creates a different woman from what I am in the minds of my readers. Yes, I laugh and love life but there have been times when I've had to take my own advice. Yes, I am normal.

Oh, and chocolate helps!



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