Depression can move in on a person quickly or creep in like a fog. It can be a visceral experience, like a blow to the gut or a heavy burden suddenly pressing down on one’s shoulders. It can affect one’s experience of the world: if it’s sunny outside, somehow it seems dull and cold; if it’s gray, the gray gets heavier.
Have you ever been depressed? How do you stand against it; how do you push back the gray veil? How do you cope with depression and even work to break out of it? First, it’s important to know the difference between “the winter blues,” an occasional down day, a week when you’re just feeling off, and longer-lasting, biologically based depression. “Depression is a ‘whole body’ illness, involving your thoughts, mood and even physical health,” says the University of Tennessee Medical Clinic Web site. Raymond Crowe, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa sys, “I think the difference between having the blues and depression lies in the symptoms… If ‘the blues’ persist for more than a couple of weeks and are accompanied by trouble eating, difficulty sleeping, or suicidal thoughts, you should see someone” (uihealthcare.com). Psychotherapy and medication usually are necessary when you are battling this more persistent and insidious form of “the blues.” Asmus, page 2
With any form of depression, however, there are certain things you can do to get you through each day, or even just the few hours ahead of you that seem so empty. The following are a few counter-depression strategies to help keep the depression from curling itself completely around you, immobilizing you, or endangering your life.
One of the most important weapons in your counter-depression arsenal is music. Not just any music. You must choose music that will lift you and arm you for the battle. I do not recommend songs like “Dust in the Wind,” by Kansas (“all we are is dust in the wind”) or the depressive spiral of “Tourniquet,” by Evanescence (“I tried to kill the pain but...
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