LIFTING THE LID OF DEPRESSION

In her latest interview best-selling author Marian Keyes has admitted that she would happily give up writing if it meant she would no longer suffer from depression. She has also admitted to being “extremely suicidal” for the best part of eighteen months and having to fight it every day.

We could be forgiven for wondering what on earth Marian Keyes has to be depressed about. After all, she is famously funny, financially secure and hugely successful having sold close to 25 million copies of her novels to date. But of course that does not exempt anyone from the debilitating condition of depression. Any one of us, irrespective of age, gender or background, can be affected at some point in our life.

In her interview with the Irish Independent, Marian claimed “My truth is that what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker rather than stronger…I think we should be allowed to say, ‘I went through something really strange and awful and it has altered me forever.’

Even though I have never suffered from chronic depression I find Marian’s viewpoint refreshing because there is an acceptance that the harsher side of life can leave its mark. Marian’s depression developed in 2009 and her recovery has been slow and gradual while she has tried many interventions on the road to recovery.”When you’re desperate, you’d do anything so I tried yoga, cognitive behavioural therapy, swimming, hill walking, meditation, reiki, acupuncture, vitamin B12 injections, mindfulness, prayer, gratitude lists, and random acts of kindness, staying in bed, zinc and attending Padre Pio Masses. None of the feckin’ things worked.” It is good to know her trademark humour is intact but one thing that did help her was baking cakes. Baking became her therapy.

I found this interesting because resorting to simple things during difficult times often tides me over until I can cope with bigger projects. For me, this is the key to working your way back to positive territory.

During a difficult time it is essential to lower your expectations of what you can and cannot do. It is necessary to take care of your body and soul even though you feel like hell. Just in case you have forgotten how to take care of you here is a little reminder…

  • Eat as well as you possibly can. Even if you have very little money, make it a point to choose healthy options.
  • Exercise. It may be a sport you enjoy, yoga, cross country training, or even a simple walk in the park but keeping your body active will help your outlook.
  • Sleep. Try to maintain good sleeping habits.
  • Participate in an interest you enjoy. Focusing on something other than the suck factor will give your mind some time off.
  • Join a community support group for whatever you’re going through, or a group of people that share your love for something you are passionate about.
  • Spend time with pets. The beauty of pets is unconditional, unquestioning love.
  • Do not crawl into a hole and disappear. Your friends may or may not be able to help you directly, but they can give you emotional and moral support.
  • If suicidal thoughts start to invade your senses, deal with them as if your life depended on it—because it does. Seek help immediately.

I agree with Marian. When you have a dose of the blues every negative does not have to turn into a positive but accepting that life IS difficult at times and taking care of you can lead you to finding a way to make it less painful…not less difficult.