Why is this time of year getting so hectic and intense? People are literally collapsing on my couch for a break from reality. I have love and loss and death and break-ups and good old fear of change. And the news cycle of horror and embarrassment to top that off. How do we combat these everyday problems?
1. We Do Not Rush the Process
We have learned that depression is real. It is real enough to stop us in our tracks and serve up unfathomable suffering. But didn’t your mother always tell you whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Real depression is now shown to be correlated with a smaller hippocampus in your brain~! This means that it’s tantamount to brain damage, in some cases. The good news is that the brain is also more elastic than we thought. SO with techniques such as mindfulness, psychotherapy and more you can get back to where you need to be.
2. We Invest in Ourselves
Giving yourself the time and space to heal is not selfish. Didn’t you ever hear the expression, put your life vest on first? Otherwise you can’t help anyone else. Turning off your phone is the first step to slowing down the tide of competitive urges that sweep you into feeling “less than.” I was reamed by my teenage daughter for being stupid on FB. I think I’m funny. But she is right; I need a new avenue for blowing off steam. So do you. This article says turning the phone off works — Behavioral economists know that if your plan for resisting a given behavior is “I’ll try really, really hard,” you’re probably going to fail. Turn it all the way off. That way you don’t see that you didn’t get invited/he asked someone else/they were all together/the sun was out/FOMO/and really rich lavish vacations. This puts you on a path of inner peace instead of outer despair.
3. We Get Appropriate Help
Appropriate could mean getting medication or not, doing group or individual therapy or not, or a special kind of therapy, or acupuncture or St. John’s Wort, or a special kind of doctor, etc. There is no one-size-fits-all economy for hardship, although the insurance companies would sometimes have us think so. I have many patients who say medication is not for me. OK. But if your arm is broken, please get a cast. It’s not that different. It doesn’t zombie you out or make you not-you. It can, in some cases, get you to a baseline where you can make better decisions. It does not make life go away. People are also programmed for the “quick fix.” This has not worked out so well for our society… Turns out the long-game is a better bet. Ask any of those famous celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow or Sarah Silverman or Jon Hamm which version of themselves they prefer — the quick fix one or the calm, cool and collected one.
4. We Recognize the Impermanence of Feelings
Feelings come and go. You are not your feelings. This is the hardest concept in the Western world. We were trained that you can erase any mistake with enough money! NOT! Patience, my friends, is the only way through. Not around but through. Patience is how I learned to do a “plank” pose after 6 years! Patience is how I got pregnant after infertility. Patience is how I survived love and loss when I thought I couldn’t go on. That and a few good friends and chocolate… Patience quiets the brain and helps you realize you are not alone.
Although this sounds like a giant cliche, there are reasons they have become cliches. They are tried and true, and not that expensive compared to the alternative of sinking deeper.
National Suicide Hopeline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline