Today’s blog explores a surprising and unexpected natural treatment for depression. Who knew it could be something this simple!
Too Much Time on Our Hands
Today I am taking off my “teacher” hat and putting on my “I too struggle with depression” hat so that I can share with you a surprising treatment that I discovered for one of the common symptoms of depression – obsessive thought patterns and the resulting downward spiral into darkness. As anyone who struggles with depression would attest, one of the worst possible things we could face is TOO MUCH TIME ON OUR HANDS. I don’t know how it is for you, but for me, when I am too much alone, especially too much alone with my thoughts, things can get ugly. One of the rarely mentioned side-effects or companions to depression is obsessive thought patterns. Obsessive thought patterns might manifest as worry or anticipatory planning. For others, the obsessive thought patterns have to do with grabbing on to the slightest perceived injury that might signal rejection. For those who struggle with depression, these tiniest little slights become fodder for an inactive mind. We grab them, draw them near, then think, re-think, ponder, obsess, create stories, imagine scenarios, and prepare for our own apocalyptic demise or hope for the apocalyptic demise of the one who “harmed” us. Then, we internalize, nurture, cultivate thoughts of self-loathing and self-rejection to match the loathing and rejection we are sure we have received from the other person. I have come to not so affectionately call these thought patterns, “The dark thoughts in my mind.” Sounds like fun, right?! WRONG! The funny thing is that for those of us who struggle with depression, until we learn otherwise, we think that this is the way everyone’s brains work and we consider it to be normal. I was shocked to learn that this is NOT how other people’s brains work. While Lexapro provided temporary relief of these symptoms, the side-effects eventually became too much and at the same time, the medication lost its effectiveness. So, I have been working drug-free to manage these symptoms. Practicing yoga, engaging in my spiritual practice, nurturing my creativity and sharing my creative gifts in the world have all been supportive measures for managing my depression. Even with all of this, however, the depression still haunted me, in some form or another, pretty much on a daily basis. Then I found a surprising treatment method that has not only kept the depression at bay, but seems to have quieted the obsessive thought patterns if not altogether, at least by 85%. What a relief. And who knew it would be so easy.
Getting a “real” Job.
Spiritual Direction, Teaching, Writing all amount to a “real job?” Right? From the perspective of value, worth, purpose….Absolutely. But….not if they don’t pay the bills. And it was the “paying the bills” part that I finally had to face. So…..five weeks ago, I started a “real job,” cashiering for minimum wage at a local garden center. I go in. I do my job. I go home. No personal responsibility. Nothing to have to fix or reform. No one to manage, supervise, guide or direct. And the surprising fringe benefit to this job: NO MORE OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS. Getting a real job has provided for me a surprising treatment for my depression…..and I sense it might provide the same benefit for others. I can’t be depressed when I’m in the public eye. I have no option but to be in the present moment…because there is nothing else to do there. I get to engage with mostly friendly and kind people. I am surrounded by beautiful things. And, I’m too dang busy to think about anything other than what I am doing. Then, when I go home to my other “real job” I’m uber efficient and am accomplishing more in a very little amount of time than I would have ever accomplished before getting this job. Yes, it is a challenge to juggle the job with clients, classes, writing, the kids, the house, paperwork, friends, etc. But….somehow what NEEDS to get done is getting done. The rest, I’ve decided, can wait.
In a Nutshell
So, in a nutshell….the surprising treatment for depression is work – work that keeps us busy. Work that keeps us engaging with other people. Work that may be rewarding in its own way. Most importantly – work that keeps us out of the dark places in our minds. So even when my novel becomes a best seller….I just might keep this job….if for no other reason than to maintain my sanity. 🙂 Hi Ho Hi Ho It’s Off to Work I Go. 🙂