Christmas Can Be a Blue, Blue Time.
Hello, friends - I've been away from the Talking About Depression blog for too long, exploring other life paths. I'm back now and hoping to get into regular blogging - those of you who know me know how close to my heart the issues of depression and other illnesses are. This is especially true at so-called 'celebration' times, when loneliness or unhappiness can dog our steps and darken our thoughts. For many of us, Christmas is a lonely time, sometimes ironically, that is most keenly felt when we're taking part in activities such as parties and family get-togethers.
One thing I have given a lot of thought to is the difference between simply being unhappy and real depression.
How often do we say :"I'm depressed....." - fill in your own blank. What are you 'depressed' about? That the cool guy at school didn't invite you to the prom? That the boss gave the promotion to someone else? It's Saturday night and everyone else seems to be out on the town and you're stuck home with only the Saturday Night Movie on tv to keep you company?
These things are not depression. Of course, they can signal situations that can trigger depression - loneliness, a sense of failure, a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy. Yet most of the time, the 'little' upsets in life pass - you find another cute guy to date, a better job comes up (or you realise that the promotion would have been too demanding) and your social life picks up. Often just making yourself think about the things that make you happy will lift the mood.
Depression simply isn't as easy to deal with as that. I'd describe a lot of the feelings I hear described as depression as, in fact, be simple human unhappiness. We're not intended to be on Cloud 9 all our lives - we need the occasional 'low' or unhappy moments to spur us into personal growth and change. Or, as my Grannie often used to say: "Into every life a little rain must fall.'
How can you bloom if you're deprived of rain? Being discontented or unhappy can force you out of your comfort zone and into a life where your achieving your potential.
Helped along by the advent of one-size fits all anti-depressants, we may have been brain-washed into thinking we should never be unhappy.
Think about this, though: Feeling unhappy can - and should - be a red flag in your life to make some changes. And I think it's fair to say that we're all unhappy sometimes.
But not necessarily depressed. Depression usually involves a feeling of helplessness, an inability to act, that keeps you stuck in this mire of feeling, well, awful.
And that's when you need help, to find your way out of the dark and into the sunshine again.
So, before you passively accept that you're 'depressed', take a close look at how you feel, the thoughts running through your head, your life in general.
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Explore the possibilities, and see what you can do to bring about change - and happiness - in your life.
Good luck - and you're welcome to drop by and share your story here.