Tag Archives: Depressed mood

Back to basics – when the going gets tough

When things go wrong, they normally do so on a grand scale.  Ask anyone you know how wrong things can really go … ask me. Descriptive terms like “cascading effects” and “downhill slide” don’t actually do any justice, but it’s a start.

Silly as it may sound, I had a bit of a personal crisis when I turned thirty.  I looked back at my twenties and saw only the bad things:  the things I didn’t accomplish, all the apparently unfulfilled hopes and dreams.  After the past year though, those years look more like a walk in the park than tough times.

Let me tell you, I’m not superstitious by any means. I have no qualms about walking under a ladder or a black cat crossing in front of me. Surprisingly then, the whole “bad things happen in threes” is oddly fitting.  Case in point:  I suffered with depression last year like never before (strike one), I lost my job after being retrenched (strike two), and then for the finale, I finally fell pregnant after trying for quite some time and after 9 weeks had a silent miscarriage (strike three).  Like I said, when things go wrong, it really does feel like things go from bad to worse.

Of course, shit happens!  Whether you’re Oscar Pistorius or just a normal Joe Soap (like me), it is unfortunately a guarantee that at some stage our lives will be affected by turmoil, disappointment and tragedy.  Luckily the degree and duration thereof differs (I’m damn happy that I’m not the one on trial for murder!).

DepressedNo matter how bad a situation may seem and no matter how we may wish for time to pass us by, a new day will always dawn.  I still fully prescribe time off to sulk and skulk around in pyjamas with scruffy hair, unbrushed teeth and no deodorant, but don’t fool yourself, the time will come when a choice has to be made, and that is, the choice to keep living.

It will be about getting back to basics.  Get up, shower, brush your teeth and hair, spritz on the perfume and walk out the door.  The best medicine is as simple as facing the world and literally taking things step by step or day by day.  Getting back to basics is about focusing on the little things that help to get us through the day.  It’s also about not dwelling on the pain, grief or anger and allowing the healing process to begin.

Whoever first said that time heals all wounds is a wise man (or woman).

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What’s in the belly of the monster?

There is a time for everything:  a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to grieve and a time to dance, a time to love and a time to hate, a time to embrace and a time to turn away.  Where are you in your life? 

We live our short existence in seasons, and that’s ok, because there is a time and place for almost everything under the sun. But for some of us, we find ourselves ensnared in one never-ending season:  winter.  

I think back to my days as a younger woman in her early twenties. I had lost my father to depression and alcoholism and was left alone to my own devices.  I had no siblings and a dysfunctional relationship with my mother. I found myself in a place filled with turmoil and unhappiness. I even tried to end my life.  But eventually I found God and was pulled out of the muck and mire.  I was happier again – for a short while – before slipping back into the arms of a former lover, that is, the comfortable misery I had once known.

I can truly imagine how Jonah must have felt when he was swallowed by the whale!  In my opinion, the belly of the monster [depression] is a dark, cold and desolate place to be trapped in.  Yet, I’ve been in this place before; I’ve actually come full circle! While crying helplessly in the shower yesterday, apparently for no reason whatsoever, it dawned on me that I’m familiar with this feeling of despair.  I am also concerned about how much of the so-called depression gene I have inherited from my father. Perhaps I really do suffer from dysthymia?

Melencolia I. Print of Albrecht Dürer

Melencolia I. Print of Albrecht Dürer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to research, the Greek word dysthymia refers to a ‘bad state of mind’ or ‘ill humour’.  It is characterised as one of the two forms of clinical depression, although it apparently has less serious symptoms than major depression, but lasts longer.  The American Psychiatric Association defines dysthymia as a depressed mood most of the time for at least two years, along with at least two of the following symptoms: poor appetite or overeating; insomnia or excessive sleep; low energy or fatigue; low self-esteem; poor concentration or indecisiveness; and hopelessness.  Some experts surmise that dysthymia ‘runs in families and probably has a hereditary component’. Other proposed symptoms of dysthymia include ‘a strong tendency to be critical of oneself and others, pessimism, guilt, brooding and gloominess’.

Where I am, I don’t want to be. I feel as if I’m mourning the life I wanted to have. I know I have so much to be thankful for, so much to celebrate – right now I’m just in the belly of the monster, and I can’t find the exit sign!

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