The last time I fought depression it lasted for over three years. I had lost my ability to respond to anything good, in fact good things just hurt me more because they reminded me of what I once was able to enjoy. I had no incentive to even get out of a chair on my free time, and work was an excruciating ordeal I had to go through every day in order to earn the privilege of going back to sleep. Everything irritated me. None of the accomplishments of mankind seemed to impress me or feed me. I couldn’t even tolerate the banality of a magazine or any reading material because it seemed to trigger a painful exasperation. All I could think about was the person I used to be.
I knew that I was capable of being vitally interested in things, I had often connected with the rapt intimacy of a Muse, I had thrilled to every little detail going on around me, I had been able to buoy myself up when I experienced something ugly or discouraging. I had resilience. I trusted things, including my own judgement. I laughed a lot. I delighted in playing with words in my head, looked forward to each coming day, and most important, I felt cozy inside of myself.
When we are cozy inside of ourselves it is like we have come home. Everything fits. If there is no one else around at the time it doesn’t matter because we are so enthralled with the company of our own person. Nothing pinches us emotionally and nothing haunts us. We are completely satisfied with who we perceive ourselves to be. We feel creative and inspired, and no one can take that cozy feeling away from us. Every one of you reading this article must have felt that way at least at one point in your life.
Grab the memory and all the sensations of that time. Relive it in your mind, no matter how much it hurts that you cannot seem to recover that mental state. It will then become reinforced and will energize the parts of you which are ailing. You are reassured that yes, this condition is possible for you, so there is no reason why you could not find it again.
How do you find it again? For me, prozac was and is quite helpful. It balances your chemistry and so gives you a buffer between yourself and the raw hurts of this world. Secondly, I took a new plan of action even though I doubted my decision every step of the way. I needed to alter the physical surroundingsof my environment. Yes, those two treatments worked. But I discovered something really valuable along the way.
Many of the sensory impressions I had reacted to as being pathetic and hopeless turned out to be the the same ones that I was experiencing right now. This time, however, I delighted in them. I still am amazed when I see or hear something that would have disgusted me back in those days and I notice that this time it is acceptable and even enchanting at times. So don’t believe those hurtful impressions. I was shown that the way we perceive things is totally subjective, depending on where our own body chemistry and outlook are at the time.
Don’t let go of your model. Conjure it up every chance you get because that is the light which will guide you out of your hole. Remember that what seems unbearably negative could be tweaked into something nice if you just access the state that makes the change possible. Cheer yourself with the promise that unless you are brain damaged, you really will come back and you will feel wonderful once again. If you felt it before, then it is within your composition to feel it again.
Olga Moe, age 59, lives on an island in the Puget Sound. She is recognized primarily for her contributions to literary e-zines but has recently begun writing articles as well.
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