In Down The Rabbit Hole Part I, you may have walked away with the idea that falling down the ‘rabbit hole’ of depression is inevitable. Well, for many of us it is, to some degree. That’s why I’m back today. Yes, I find myself depressed during certain times of the year. The good news is, there’s a way out.
There are several things I do to get out of that rabbit hole, and none of it is as crazy as the stuff poor Alice In Wonderland faced. Through years of counseling and years of experience, I have found a formula that works for me.
These ideas may or may not work for you, but they are worth trying. Of course, if depression doesn’t lift after you have done everything you can to help yourself, seek professional help. With that said, these are my thoughts about ways in which I have found my way out of that dang rabbit hole.
Recognize Your Season
Falling down the rabbit hole is something I know is inevitable for me during certain times of the year. Knowing this is part of my salvation. As they say; “forewarned is forearmed.”
Depression is like many illnesses – the more we know, the more prepared we are, the more likely we are to recover. When the dates approach, I talk about it with my family. It’s coming. I know it. Saying it out loud with those who know me best (and most likely are going through the same thing) is a way to prepare. Pretending this time isn’t coming does absolutely no good whatsoever.
Accept Your Feelings
It’s true that the years have softened the blows I feel from the losses I’ve suffered. But what happens to people like me who have “situational depression” is that even small situations can trigger the FEELINGS of a bigger situation.
During the times when I’m most likely to become depressed, I recognize the small triggers and give them the same respect I do the big triggers. This helps bring about the same result – lessening the depression or quickening the recovery.
Accepting the importance of these smaller triggers also validates feelings, and validated feelings are the only kind of feelings we can work our way through. Unvalidated feelings get stuffed and land us back in that rabbit hole.
Remember Your Recovery
Each time I end up down the rabbit hole, I remind myself that it’s a temporary situation. I remember the times I thought I’d never smile again; then I did.
I remember that even if I am depressed at times, I very often laugh at the same time. I guess what I want to say is a good life full of laughs does not exclude depression, and depression does not exclude a good life full of laughs.
I am a happy person who also happens to get depressed. I do not have a cloud following me around. I am not a sad little stick figure on a commercial for anti-depressants. Sometimes I am very happy and I still want to go to bed. But, I know I will get up again. That’s what recovery is like for me. It’s important to remember that.
Reach Out And Renew
I have people I love who know about this darkness and care about my recovery. I have learned to reach out to them instead of pulling the covers over my head.
Make a phone call, write a note, contact someone to say; “Yes, I am in bed today, but tomorrow I’ll call you again.”
Making that connection is a big part of moving forward. Then, you’ll be ready to take the next step; perhaps get together and walk.
On the same note as connecting, we sometimes need to accept a new challenge – to renew. I’m not talking about something gigantic, just something outside of what we are currently doing.
I have been working at home for many years. When the woman who does my facials called to say she needed someone to take charge of her appointments and phone calls, I knew it was something I needed to do. The call came at the height of my depression.
I embraced the opportunity to get out of the house and do something new. It was time I made a change. I was outside my comfort zone, but only slightly, which was good. Small changes are still good changes.
What I Know
I have what my counselor calls “situational depression.” For this reason, I know that certain times and certain events will trigger my depression.
But, it’s alright.
Because there’s a lesson I can take from Alice In Wonderland.
Just like Alice, I will find that little door… and open it.
I am reassured once more that my depression is just a season in my life – not the entirety of my life.
Thank you, Barbara, for letting me share my thoughts with you and your readers. I hope my experiences with depression will help clear up some of the confusion that so many have about this complicated issue.
p.s. For more about the signs of depression, the dichotomy of depression, and how it affects us at our age, please read my blog post – Depression In Baby Boomers – I’m So Happy I Just Want To Go To Bed. And don’t forget to leave a comment. I love the company here in the blogosphere!
About The Tiny Door:
Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage… she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains…
Discovering that little door, and finding your way through it and into that lovely garden with bright flowers and cool fountains isn’t necessarily easy. Poor Alice went through hell and back to find her way. I can feel the excitement of pulling that curtain back to discover that tiny door, and the hope that I might find a lovely garden and cool fountains when I work my way through that door.
“Alice Finding Tiny Door Behind Curtain” – The Tenniel Illustrations for Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Sir John Tenniel
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About the Author: Patti Winker has enjoyed reading and writing ever since she can remember. She likes sharing stories of growing up in the 50s and 60s on her blog RemarkableWrinklies.com. You’ll also find her stories in our collaboration – Tangerine Tango.
In addition to waxing nostalgic, Patti also writes about aging well. Part of Patti’s journey through life has been her battle with depression. This two part guest post is her way of telling others that depression doesn’t need to defeat a person, but it isn’t always easy either, especially as we get older.
According to the CDC, the highest rate of depression occurs between the ages of 45 and 64, then drops off again after 65. In her blog post – I’m So Happy I Just Want To Go To Bed – Patti explores this problem that many ‘baby boomers’ are experiencing right now; reaching a perceived perfection, but not feeling the joy. I hope you find some useful information and support in these posts.
About the Picture: Patti said she laughed right out loud when she found this picture of herself and knew immediately she had to use it for this guest post. I think she looks rather “Alice-ish,” don’t you? Patti estimates this to be her 2nd or 3rd grade school picture, about the time she would have been reading Alice in Wonderland, and wondering what kind of crazy person Lewis Carroll was.