This has been a crazy year … and as the months pass by – and our known, safe, comfortable world has yet to return – I believe it is taking a mental toll on even the most durable of us.
I’m talking about depression. Whether it is a gloomy day or a gloomy week, we start to lose our ability to ‘feel’ all the good around us. We ‘know’ it is there, we ‘tell’ ourselves it is there and that we are grateful for all that we have … but we can’t really ‘feel’ it anymore. It is like there is a void between all that wonderful stuff and our inner spirit.
Its like we’re a dried out sponge and all those “good feelings” from the world around us simply evaporate to nothing before the time they get deep inside of us.
Of course YOU, and only you, know when it is time to seek professional help outside of yourself. However, if you aren’t at that point yet, you may be just looking for actionable ideas to help turn your thoughts around and ease the mental suffering. As someone who has fallen into that dark, gloomy pit more times than I can count, I’ll share a few tips that helped me (maybe they might help you too).
It’s not “you”. Its not something you are doing wrong or failing at. It wants you to believe this, but its not true, so don’t listen to it. It is a neurotransmitter imbalance (dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine). Your inner chemistry is off – and this makes it harder to see the sunshine. Kinda like we’re a lamp and the electricity has been reduced to a trickle. It literally makes the room darker and more shadowy because the lamp is not lit as bright. So the world seems darker and more shadowy because it literally IS how it is to us.
Self-compassion. Constantly telling yourself that you “should” be happier is ignoring the physiological reality that you are lacking ‘juice’ and you *are* literally in a dark room. You are lacking the inner chemicals that enable you to see the light – so it literally IS inaccessible to you, it is not a personal failure of skill or control.
So, how to get more electrical ‘juice’ so the world isn’t so dark? Yeah, that is the hard part.
- You might want to try SAMe. It is a supplement, and is a logical first try before antidepressents. In studies, it is often just as effective as an anti-depressant – and instead of having a million bad side effects, it is actually a good supplement for liver health. [Which can be especially synergistic since many of us over-use alcohol to quiet mental turmoil]. This is the one I’ve used in the past https://www.lifeextension.com/vitamins-supplements/item02176/same
- You could also try GABA. Its an amino acid, e.g. a natural, essentially harmless helper to try out. Useful for anxiety and depression (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S002839081100373X)
But really key is just trying to sheppard your thoughts like a flock of sheep.
Negative thoughts are all around us in depression – but thoughts are like snowballs rolling downhill, if we give into them and let them roll, they only get bigger. Abandoning a thought that is not making you feel good is key. Our minds tend to be easily convinced that our thoughts are important, and that we have to “see them through” to completion… but they aren’t. Just abandon them… let them go. This is the skill that meditation builds.
However, if you aren’t ready to try meditation – the best advice I can offer that helped me is to immerse and drown your brain in the opposite. Drown out the negative with positive – and since that positive can’t come from within (no electricity, dim light) – it needs to come from outside. I used to play positive affirmations constantly. I play them in the background while I’m doing other things – this fills up the ‘airwaves’ with good things and helps reduce dwelling on bad things. Louise Hay is my personal goddess for this. I’ve included some links of some starter material. Give it a shot, might help. Constantly submerging your brain into positive thinking helps to snowball that instead.
Great, long audio from Louise to simply take a break from that chatter:
A great first-thing-in-the-morning meditation (I had to include at least one!) to change that mental state right from the start:
Sleep reel, to play at night if your thoughts prevent you from falling to sleep or wake you up during the night and start spiraling: