In part 1 you heard about finding Delight and Part 2 was to be on (Accomplishment) a David Altman’s G.L.A.D. Mindfulness technique. However, it’s important for me to say something about depression as family, friends and clients are talking about depression and suicide due to recent events in the news. I am saddened but somewhat relieved that more people are talking about suicide and depression .
This past week, I had some uncomfortable and somewhat invalidating discussions about mental illness generally and suicide/depression in particular.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Some issues include broken relationships, divorce, retirement, death of loved ones, job loss, dead-end jobs and life comparisons. You might have just sent in your 10th application for a job and bills are piling up. You might be wondering where your life went and looking online at the “happy life” everybody else is supposedly living. Really?
There might be no particular easily identifiable reasons why you are depressed.
5 Distressing Distortions
- Depression tells you suicide is the only viable option.
Depression is lying to you!
- You might have tried hard to fight to get out of the dark hole of sadness and depression.
- Perhaps you have stayed alone in your house staring endlessly at the walls thinking about life.
- Perhaps you sit and eat more chips, ice-cream, pizza or whatever but you are still in pain, an indescribable pain you feel no one can understand.
Yes it can be a struggle and there are other options. You can beat the liar.
- Depression tells you, its hopeless and this is how it will always be.
Depression is lying to you!
- Yes, it might seem terrible this very minute.
- You might have these ruminating thoughts that keep you awake at night or you might just feel so so tired and bone weary most of the time.
- Remember the few seconds, minutes, days, months or even years when you felt just a little better.
Depression is treatable and manageable.
- Depression tells you to be alone and not be a burden.
Depression is lying to you!
You feel you shouldn’t bother family, friends, and others who care about you. You might feel no one really cares anyway so why reach out to them? They wouldn’t understand anyway.
Perhaps you feel invalidated by statements such as:
- “You have everything, how can you be depressed?”
- “Everyone has the blues sometimes.”
- “Don’t be so negative.”
- “You seem so happy, you can’t be depressed.”
- “Get over this and pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” Is this even remotely possible? Not a chance. There are people who do care.
- Depression is a choice you made.
This is a distortion by those who have limited understanding of depression.
This view is that you should “try harder to not be depressed.” Much like anyone can try harder not to bleed when a sharp knife cuts your finger. Please realize that managing depression requires that you make some choices.
It’s not common for any situation/mood to improve without action. It can be a small action but action nonetheless.
- Mental illness and this includes depression is spiritual weakness/fault/sin/lack of faith.
This is another distortion by those who have limited understanding of mental health and mental illness.
Perhaps the same people might suggest that any medical diagnosis (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney failure etc.). is a spiritual weakness/fault/lack of faith. Just because you can “see” physical illness does not make mental illness any less valid.
- I am a Christian and a firm believer in God and His Power to Heal.
- I believe faith, prayer and spiritual dimensions are important to life and wellness.
- I incorporate spirituality as part of a person’s self-care plan based on what the client expresses as their spiritual preferences.
While I firmly believe that mental illness is NOT a sin or a lack of faith, I believe faith in God or whom or whatever a person’s spiritual practice is can be comforting when struggling with depression. Spiritual practices are absolutely helpful in treating and managing mental illness including depression.
Dare to Defy Distressing Distortions
Remember action is needed. No matter how small. Remember depression looks different for different people so treatment will look different.
- If you are having thoughts of suicide please tell someone immediately
If loved ones are around please tell them.
If not please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the crisis text line by texting TALK to 741741.
If things appear to be worsening and you continue to have stronger thoughts of suicide or If no one seems to be paying attention please go to your nearest emergency room or call 911.
- Seek treatment that works for you.
- If you are feeling sad more often than not.
- If you are unable to get out of bed but not because you physically unable.
- If your pile of mail is looking like you run a mini post office because you don’t even have enough energy to open mail.
- Please don’t wait any longer. Take one small action. Make a call now to set up an appointment with a health care provider.
Treatment might include medications, therapy and lifestyle changes. It will more than likely require you to take some action.
- Don’t want to call? Get up and leave wherever you are.
- Go to a coffee shop and talk to someone. Anyone.
- Go to the park.
- Go to the library.
- Go to a bookstore.
- Just go do something that makes you feel just a little less alone and depressed.
- Repeat it again and again.
Change in feelings usually follow change in actions.
- Action is a choice
While depression is not a choice, taking action to manage it is a choice.
- Seeking treatment is a choice.
- Accepting treatment is a choice.
- Following recommended treatment so you can know what works for you is a choice.
- Not much will happen if you do not take action.
- Find Supportive Spiritual Community
This is not to bash faith communities. Distortions about mental illness are everywhere in the community. Many faith communities provide mental wellness and mental health support and services. Seek them out.
Jumoke Omojola is a Mental Health Therapist in Omaha, Nebraska where she assists adults create healthier, happier lives and nurturing relationships. She serves Bellevue, Ralston, LaVista and other surrounding Omaha areas.
If you are depressed and need help coping with the negative thoughts that are often present, do one thing today
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