Friday, March 30, 2012

Taking Depression for a Walk and Bringing Creativity Along

I've been dealing with a lot of Depression lately. Oh, I dunno. Maybe it has something to do with the divorce and being lonely and having unsteady employment. It could be because my teeth are too yellow & spaced to attract anything other than an ivory collector. Most likely it has more to do with a lack of focus in my life and a need for a BIG GOAL. Or maybe I'm depressed just because. That is the nature of the beast, isn't it? Wait, no. It's the lack of money. Gotta have more of that stuff.

Last week I was hit deeply with a funk, like it had landed on my head from above and came in the form of a very obese walrus. I just lay on my living room floor, totaled by Depression's blubbery arrival and looking up at the fan. Fortunately for me ADHD always comes to the rescue. There is only so much fan twirling I can take in before my mind begins demanding I do ANYTHING else to relieve the boredom. Another fortunate thing for me was that the Elf was home and could watch the Brownie for me. I forced myself to move. Forced myself to dress. Forced myself to grab my iPhone and head out the door.

As usual, the very act of moving was enough to start pushing the depression into the background. I believe moving despite not wanting to is an act of faith we invoke. We can be better if we just do something — any something — that moves us away from the sadness. It's an act of empowerment that creates change.

That night the air was cool and the wind was chilling. My fingers became stiff with the cold, but I worked on my middle grade detective story as I walked along my route. By the end of my walk my fingers were frozen solid, but I had developed all the villains. Then I took creative photos of the world around me.

Surely the change of scenery had a positive effect on me, as did getting up and moving. I write about those coping techniques in "Depression: Ten Ways to Fight It Off". Sometimes you may find that several acts of change are required because some funks are deeper than others, and that was the case for me that night. What I have discovered since compiling that list is that expressing creativity can also have a therapeutic effect on Depression. In many ways, it is very much like getting up and moving. We exercise faith that doing something different — anything different — will have a positive effect. The activity is difficult to do at first since the Depression is so overwhelming, just like having that very obese walrus set up camp on top of you. But when we persevere and push forward, maybe even getting caught up in the new activity, we can strike Depression a blow. We change our thinking and therefore change our mood.

On Wensday I had a kid home from school with what we thought was pre-seizure activity, so I couldn't get out and walk my blue funk away. And wow, was my funk a heavy, mottled, blueberry blue — a blue so deep it was dark as night. A trip to the therapist couldn't be arranged for two weeks. Psychotropic drugs would only give me bizarre side-effects. And I couldn't go out for a walk. What was I to do? "Give in," said a thick, blubbery voice. Ah, that pesky walrus again.

Having a toolbelt of coping strategies is very important in these situations. Not all solutions are best for each situation, and some aren't powerful enough for the moment, or not available. I decided to write this blog, exercising creativity instead of moping. Then, when I realized that the li'l Brownie wasn't going to have a seizure after all, I took her and the Leprechaun out for a bike ride. Both incidents of change resulted in my Depression being pushed into the background. Some days I can even beat it back entirely.

And so I lived to survive another day and added a new tool to my toolbelt. Creativity has proven to be a very powerful coping strategy for me. Too bad I didn't have anything in play for my ADHD. I wrote the blog and saved it as a draft to the server and never published it. Oh well. I can't win at everything.

Follow me on Twitter as @SplinteredMind. I also explore iPhone photography with Instagram as douglascootey (peek). And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well, or find me on Path where I explore my coping strategy process.