Typically on this blog I like to focus on humor, life and it’s absurdities. However here of late it seems more and more people who are blogging and following my blog are plagued with an epidemic that seems to be striking the world here of late. In breaking away from true Quirky Girl fashion, I want to address this issue, and let you know readers, you are not alone when it comes to depression.
Depression is nothing new to my generation, but it seems there has been some spill over from mine into others. I was reading an article recently that discussed how my generation is going to be the first to not do as well as their parents. You see my generation grew up in a time when the economy was fruitful. Usually the advice any of us would hear is, work hard, graduate college and you will be successful. When any of us finally got done with our tour in college, for some of us the jobs were still lingering but they were in bigger cities. It seemed when the housing market crashed, so did everything else. Soon people were desperate for jobs, and the employers knew this using it to their full advantage. The employers for once could be picky. Now the job search market is saturated with people twice my age with experience, and with people fresh out of college. As an employer, this is a dream as there are advantages to hiring both. What about the people my age?
My generation didn’t expect anything to be handed to us on a silver platter, but we expected SOMETHING to be there. My generation is stuck. We are the “inbetweeners”. If we go back to college, we are not only putting ourselves into further debt but we are then competing with younger people we are graduating with, who can by all means provide a longer future with a company before retirement, once again not helping us make the cut as a top choice.
All of this, when you think about it, is depressing. When I started thinking about it, it threw my mind in a whirl wind, not only thinking about my future but thinking how we as a generation got the short end of the stick.
Then I had to not care. Sure at the time I was in my late twenties and early thirties working at a grocery store in a major city, but in the big scheme, who cares? At least I had a job.
Then as fate would have it, life would take a turn for the worst rendering me to flounder, trying to find some grounding in the big city I ran toward to find a job. I had a job, but didn’t have the life worth living outside of it. I will spare you the details, but it was getting harder and harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The combination of the one-two punch left me breathless, lifeless and returning home to build myself back up even further.
When I returned home, I was still struggling with depression. I came into a job hoping it would last, to find myself a month later, again looking for a different one. After securing a good job, then my life was out of balance again; my grandfather had just passed away and a month later one of my best friends who had helped pick me up off the ground from my turmoil in the big city, passed away of thyroid cancer. All of this was then followed by a break up with a boyfriend.
Depression is nothing new for me. Depression is different for everyone, but for me its a combination of things. Mine is primarily triggered when too many things have gone wrong at the same time. The last fifteen years I’ve had some really good times, but for the most part, off and on I struggled in secret with depression. A lot of times, I can be in a room full of people and still feel alone like no one understands me. In the last fifteen years, I had to chew the fat from my life, literally and figuratively. Right now I feel I’ve got a pretty good hold on things, so as my duty to you, I wanted to impart some advice on how to deal with this and what might help you get through to the light at the end of the preverbal blues tunnel.
1. If you have been through something traumatic, allow yourself time to heal. Again, not everyone is the same, timetables are different for everyone. All this means is, if you feel like crying; cry, but don’t let it take away 6 months from you like it did for me. I missed out on a promise to my young cousin to make crafts with her, missed out on time with my grandfather and missed out on time solidifying the friendships I did have.
2. Surround yourself with people who support you. It took me a long time to learn friends and family weren’t supposed to make fun of you for what makes you, you. What quirks you have should be endearing to them. If it’s like pulling teeth to get a friend to hang out with you in a time of trouble, yet you’ve been there for them, it’s not worth it. Friendship is a two way street. Also, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands should not be bringing you down. They should be building you up. They are your best friend, so why should they make fun of you for being fat, doing something silly or for merely being yourself? This was a hard lesson for me and some of you may be going through it too. Cut the fat from your life. Luckily for me in my time of trouble, some co workers who became like family to me recognized what was going on and offered a night for me to come with them, hang out and chill. If anyone extends a hand in friendship, accept it, you will never know what it can lead to. In my case, that fateful night, the start of two beautiful friendships, lead me to my husband!
3. Check your hormone levels. This goes for guys and gals. You could have a thyroid imbalance, adrenal imbalance, really you could have anything. It took me years to find the right doctor who knew what to look for, and when she did, it made the world of difference.
4. If you’ve been to a doctor; and like myself, prescription medication doesn’t work for you, explore homeopathic remedies. One day I was on my lunch break and read “Healthy Living”. In it were two articles talking about balancing out your body. I followed the advice of two articles in the magazine and have found both methods really help. The first is a supplement called Curamin. Curamin is a derivative of Tumeric, and for me at least it has taken the edge off of situations for me. Before using this, consult your doctor as it may interact with other medications, but as far as studies show, it can be taken with other medicines prescribed for depression. The second item that has also helped me, is getting a “greens” mixture. Remember when one of your parents proclaimed you needed to eat your veggies? There is good reason. Someone like me who loves spicy food, generally has too much acid in their diet. Believe it or not, that acid can cause an imbalance in your body making your crankier, bluer and down right unpleasant to deal with. I’ve tried the Macrogreens blend and the Garden of Life greens blend and they both have taken the edge off my mood.
5. This one is the toughest; re-route your thoughts. If something is getting you down in life, try to find the silver-lining. They are sometimes disguised, but they are there. When I was stuck on my own, and my new friends came to my aid, I realized all of the horrendous stuff in my life was more tolerable because I knew the night would have moments of fun as long as they were there. It takes practice and maybe keeping a journal you write in thirty minutes a day about what you are thankful for can help. Concentrate on the good in your life and what you do have going for you. Sure, its not a cure, but it can help the really bad days seem like minor annoyances once put into practice.
6. It is true when they say, “When one door closes, another one opens.” There have been many times when I have thought, “Why me?” When something didn’t turn out, or go the way I had planned, that is when I sat back and realized something was guiding me to where I needed to be. If the experience is horrific, heartbreaking and sometimes torturous, when you look back, you realize how much stronger you are for it, it was a lesson and your time was not wasted. Eventually I would get so depressed because of a situation, I realized concentrating on the negative wouldn’t help and life would march on regardless of whether I wanted a time out to sit and analyze the situation for eons. Your time is more precious than you realize. When something doesn’t go as planned, see it as part of a bigger plan, that something better is in store for you. As irritating as it is that someone may have done you wrong, claimed credit for something you did, pushed you out of the life you were striving towards, the one you were meant to lead is not fair on the surface. When taking a step back, these things are mere road blocks, or things to set you back on the path you were meant to take.
These are just some things I have learned over the years that have helped me cope. If you have any helpful advice or tips, please feel free to comment, there are quite a few people who subscribe to this blog who need help and suffer from depression. You never know what a community of writers can do when they come together for a common cause.