I’m sorry I’ve been a bit MIA here lately—ironically, or perhaps not as I’ll explain below—the author of a blog called Catching Happiness has been coping with a bout of depression.
I chose “catching happiness” as a theme for the blog because I’m not a naturally “happy” person. I’m naturally anxious and a little depressive. Since I know my default setting leans toward “sad” I work to look for the bright side, searching for the positive to counteract my natural tendencies, and mostly I’m able to maintain an optimistic outlook and attitude. When the dark side looms, sometimes there’s a triggering event, and sometimes it creeps up on me without my noticing…until I start to feel better, not realizing until then how unhappy I’d been feeling. Fortunately, I’ve never been suicidal, and I’ve never been so depressed that I couldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes, though, like during the past couple of weeks, it’s taken most of my energy to keep up with the basics.
Over the years, I’ve learned that during down times, I need routines and behaviors I can reach for when I begin to slide. The trick is making preparations before the darkness hits, because once it does, it’s too late to come up with ways to cope. To support myself, I focus on three things:
- Comforts. My comforts include warm drinks like coffee and tea (my current favorite is pumpkin tea), settling under a throw blanket to read, using a heating pad for stressed-out achy body parts, warm baths (I see a definite trend towards warming myself), something funny to read and/or watch (what helped last week: Blandings), and pet therapy from Prudy, Scout and Tank.
- Encouraging words. I have a stack of 3 x 5 cards with encouraging and uplifting quotes I’ve found, and when I’m down, I read them. Two of my Pinterest boards (Truth and Words Are Fun) focus on uplifting and encouraging words, and another contains pins that made me laugh. Posts from these blogs (click on name for a link to the post) have been helpful, as well: The Bloggess; Hyperbole and a Half and Stepchick. And instead of withdrawing, I’m working on communicating better with friends and family.
- Small, practical things I can do, for myself and for others, to take myself out of my head. I often choose a small task that has been bugging me—the feeling of accomplishment on completing it is larger than the effort it takes to do the task. It could be as small as cleaning the faucet in the kitchen or replacing the batteries in the clock. Anything that will give me a checked off item on a to-do list.
I know that I’m very blessed and fortunate. My life is filled with precious gifts I am deeply grateful for, and I hold tight to those things, including my blog and all of you, when the dark side threatens. I appreciate your patience with me while I work things out. Regular posting to resume shortly!
Do you have any special ways you comfort yourself during difficult times?