Even though I've struggled with depression for most of my life, I have made the decision to not be medicated and to heal myself through positive thinking and writing to make me stronger instead of using chemicals to convince myself that I'm happy. When I was medicated I either felt like a zombie or it just masked my anxiety and helplessness making me need it to feel complete. I wanted to truly find happiness and fulfillment without making myself numb and zombie like through life. I'm not saying that medication to cure depression is bad, it just wasn't for me. I found that with all my problems it was hard to find a magic combination of medication to cure me; first I'd be put on an anxiety medication, then told I needed therapy; then told I needed hypnosis; then I'd need a depression medicine; then told I needed a mood stabilizer to make all the rest work, by the time I made it to the age of thirteen I was diagnosed with almost twelve disorders and tried just about every medicine dealing with all of the terrible side effects. The way I improved my life was simply making it through my dark times, and one of the methods I found to be helpful, not saying it magically heals you of all depression was making a decadence list. A decadence list is not a bucket list, it is not making a list of things that will fulfill you or make you feel like your ready to die, it is simply a list that will take you from depressive state to manic. There are different stages to depression and one of them is the depressive, which means that you have low or no energy, lack of interest, moodiness or irritability, and reoccurring thoughts of death or suicide. This stage is often when people with depression feel the worst and who wouldn't, it's terrible. It feels like your stuck in quick sand and you feel ashamed that you don't want to do anything and feel down when nothing put you there. The manic stage is when you have increased energy and feel as if you are cured, this is often the stage where you feel that your in remission from depression and are on top of the world. So the way this method works is if you start to experience anxiety or negative thoughts that you feel are sending you down into depression you make your decadence list. This list is compiled of all the random things that make you happy, I'll make a short list with some of mine on it to give you examples.
2) Listening to a new band
3) Lighting a candle
5) Making an inspiration board.
As you can see from this sample list these are not hard things to accomplish and that is the most important thing, you can not have things on your list that take too much energy or you will just think about your lack of energy and happiness and it will send you even further into depression and the negative thoughts. Let me elaborate on the last item on the list because as well as depression I'm blessed with compulsive thoughts of OCD and how I feel like I'm failing in life if everything is not clean so when I feel frustrated or like I'm going over the edge I take out a rag and the pledge and start wiping down and making all the tables in the house shine, I'm not sure if the shininess makes me feel healed or how it works, but when I smell the cleaner and see me doing something positive and making things cleaner it makes me happier. I also start everyday with a to do list that is broken down as much as possible so I don't get flustered and keep moving through the day and cleaning. And when I start cleaning my first item is everything white; I start off with the sinks, the shower, anything that when I clean it, I can see that I've scrubbed it really clean and the white makes me happier. Well I'm babbling and showing that I'm not in the slightest bit normal, but hey that's what I'm here for is to show you that everyone is a little crazy. The first thing we must all realize is that depression can be overcome and the moment you find ways to improve your life even if they are tiny easy ways to make a smile on your face your still moving forward. When I went to therapy the last time the therapist told me, "Wow, your coping skills to your disorders have made it so you seem to not be damaging your quality of life with depression." And it is so true, I have decided that no matter how bad I try everything to pick myself back up and move forward. There is a quote I love that says, "The only time you should look back is to see how far you have truly come." And it's amazing to me because when I'm depressed I feel like I'm such in quick sand, like I can't move forward and then I look at pictures of a harder time and think back and realize that I've come so far from the broken child I was. Another thing to realize is that depression is caused by reoccurring thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness and that when you do a simple thing that makes you happy, sometimes even just read a couple words or listen to the right lyrics and you can change that voice in your head from negative to positive. So here is my challenge to you, next time you feel yourself slipping into darkness or feeling not enough, make that list and the next time you feel it, do the first thing and if that one doesn't help, try a couple of them. That is what I do during the day I start with the first one and if I don't have a happier mindset then I did the whole list, which is only 12 easy tasks, only takes a moment of your time and you can change this list according to where you are or make multiple lists. You can have one for work,
1) Squeeze stress ball.
2) Put a positive quote as wallpaper.
3) Listen to "Don't worry, be happy."
This method will work and you will find as time goes by you once to do all the tasks to feel better as the beginning, but as your mindset gets better you'll find yourself only have to do one and then bounce right back up. But if your going through a time of depression and anxiety for whatever circumstances, I know it is close to the holidays and everyone is in an increased stress, know that this time of struggle and just as the quote at the beginning of the post says, the struggle you feel today will only make you stronger and better tomorrow. So I'm going to close this post will a quote that is sure to make you feel better and less like a wreck like I know I feel.:) But no matter how low I get I know that God made me with no mistakes, that I was given these ailments to make me stronger and I'm thankful for not being normal because in my opinion normal is overrated.