When We're Caught Off Guard
There are times when a person or situation catches you off guard: Your “honor student” is suspended for selling “e-liquids” at school, you discover “your friend” took credit for your efforts or the kids came back home just a little too early on your date night. It is entirely normal to get more than a little frustrated, angry and judgmental as you go to the kitchen and reach for the nearest Twinkie. If you are smart, you walk away for a second, take a deep breath and, when your mind clears, address the situation.
Trying to talk to someone before your mind clears will only worsen the situation. Your adrenaline and cortisol levels are pumping as your flight, fight or freeze centers complete dominate your delight and “tend and befriend” centers. In this state, your conscious mind has little access to your subconscious resources or anyone else’s for that matter. You are disconnected from yourself and all others. You feel desperate and alone.
Your spiritual faith reaches for constant growth in understanding your relationship with God and others. You want to see life clearly, respond appropriately and add a little joy in your interactions. When something unexpected happens, it draws your attention. It creates interest in learning something new. It looks for opportunity and to add value to a relationship - unless you slip into “the dark side”.
Effects of Depression
All forms of depression are like being in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze. Adrenalin causes unrelenting intensity which exhausts the system. Consistently elevated levels of cortisol lead to an immune system gone wild, insulin resistance and corrosive changes throughout your body. You can’t think, you can’t sleep and your muscles ache. And…you are alone. Those around you can’t understand how you feel, because you can’t understand how you feel. If dealing with a difficult situation is a battle, depression is a war.
You may feel like screaming in a difficult situation, you may need to step away and take a deep breath. In depression, the screaming would never stop, stepping away only isolates you even more and taking a deep breath feels impossible. This state is much like living constantly in that initial reaction to a very difficult situation, one that won’t go away.
Thankfully, the call of your faith remains unchanged, “Constantly looking to grow by refining your understanding of yourself and others. See life clearly, respond appropriately and add a little joy in your interactions.” The feelings of depression simply tell you that something is wrong. Just like any difficult situation, you must “clear your head” before you make any permanent sounding judgments that lead to self-destructive and otherwise hurtful actions.
An unrelenting depression is a spiritual, social and medical emergency. You may be socially isolated, but it is your body’s way of screaming for help.
How to Fight the War against Depression
Deal with it now.
- Brain cells are struggling and eventually dying.
- The longer you wait, the greater the medical and social consequences will be.
- There is an answer, but you must “seek, knock and ask” to find your answer.
- Others will find answers that won’t work for you.
- Some will discourage you from finding the answers that will work for you. The illness is confusing and even the “experts” can be confused.
- Go with strategies that work for most people.
- Start low, go slow. It takes time for the brain to heal.
- Talk to professionals about your depression, try to keep depression out of your daily conversation.
- Family can’t understand…but they can try, and they can help you remember who you are.
- Don’t be afraid to consult with other professionals if you aren’t seeing progress.
Journal your efforts and responses.
- How you respond to your efforts can tell you what you should move to next.
- Maintain hydration – ½ of your weight in pounds in ounces of water.
- Monitor how you feel after meals for food allergies.
Medically monitored exercise
- Begin slowly. Give your body plenty of time to warm up. Avoid getting short of breath as this will feel bad as it creates fight or flight feelings.
- Have your medical doctor remain an active part of your team. Some medical issues don’t show themselves at first and they can help monitor any side effects.
- Any healthy relationship you can sustain during this time adds value to your efforts.
- Major relationship changes during this time is often “flying blind”.
- Your diagnosis may change frequently. You will often have more than one. Again, journal who you have seen, what you have tried and the results. Diagnosis have nothing to do with who you are. They are guesses as to the reasons behind your body’s interactions with life.
- When given correctly, medications help many people. It may take time to discover the right one(s).
- Medications are seldom, if ever, the whole answer.
- When provided correctly, therapy helps many people. It may take time to find the right therapy and therapist.
Never give up. Measure and monitor your progress every day. You will learn a lot along the way; about yourself, about people and about how precious your faith and your relationships are.
For more about this, please join my Heal in Oneness video course.