Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dealing with Depression

Everyone of us goes through times when life seems extremely difficult - we are left alone, we can’t pay the bills, we have lost our job, we have lost a loved one. At these times we wonder how we could possibly make it through the next week. Somehow, we usually do!

It is possible to lose our perspective, and to paint the picture gloomier than it really is. We look toward a future which seems to be a minefield of problems and wonder how any human being would cope with what we face.

A person embarking on a day’s march would be foolish to carry enough provisions for a lifetime. It is not strange then, that many people carry around all their worries for the next twenty-five years and wonder why life is so difficult? We were designed to live twenty-four hours at a time. No more. It is pointless worrying about tomorrow’s problems today.

Next time you find despairing, ask yourself these questions -
Have I got enough air to breathe?
Have I enough food for today?
( If the answer is “Yes”, things are already looking up!).

We often overlook the fact that our most important needs are being met. I like the story of a man who phoned Dr. Schuller. The conversation went this way.

The man said, “It’s over. I’m finished. All my money has gone. I’ve lost everything.”
Dr. Schuller asked, “Can you still see?”
The man replied, “Yes, I can still see.”
Schuller asked, “Can you still walk?”
The man said, “Yes, I can still walk.”
Schuller said, “Obviously you can still hear or you would’nt have phoned me.”
“Yes, I can still hear.”
“Well’” Schuller said, “I figure you have got about everything left. All you have lost is your money!”

Another question we can ask ourselves is “What is the worst that could happen? And if it did, would I still be alive?” So often, we magnify things out of proportion. The worst that could happen is probably very inconvenient, but not the end of the world.

The next question to ask yourself is, “Am I taking myself too seriously?” Have you ever noticed that you can lose a week’s sleep over something that your friends would never give a second thought? This is often because we take ourselves too seriously. We figure the whole world is watching. It is not. And so what if it is? No doubt you are living your life the best way know how.

Next question, “What am I learning from this situation?” With hindsight, looking through a “retrospectoscope”, we can generally learn from our difficult times. The hard bit is being balanced and aware enough to learn while we are suffering - or why we are suffering. The happiest people tend to be able to always see their hard times as a valuable learning experience. They keep their chins up, they keep a smile on their faces, they know things will improve and that they will emerge from their trials better people. This is easier said than done!

Another question: If things really seem serious, will I be OK for the next five minutes? Once you have made it through those five minutes, just aim at getting through the next five. Bite off one small chunk at a time. It saves a lot of indigestion. Also, keep yourself busy. Give yourself a five minute job into which you can put your total energy. We always feel so much better when we are busy.

What else can I do?

Probably the greatest way to feel better about yourself is to do something for somebody else. Excessive worry and self-pity grow out of self-preoccupation. The moment you start to make other people happy, whether you are sending them flowers or digging their garden or giving them your time, you feel better! It is automatic. It is simple. And wonderful.

In a Nutshell

Disasters aren’t so disastrous if we tackle them a piece at a time. Also, the sooner that we recognize what we stand to gain from the experience, the easier it is to deal with.

Being Happy
Andrew Matthews
May 20, 2007

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