Let me start off with this:
I've had a couple of low days, but I know I will come out of them soon enough. I'll get over whatever has been sapping my energy and making me more susceptible to feeling lower than usual.
But sometimes watching everyone give cheerful, motivational posts on this platform isn't very helpful at all... only leaves one with a "it's sure great to be you!" feeling.
And some people suffer from crushing depression that makes them just want to curl up and die. Been there, done that... but I got out. Mostly because I have people who depend on me. I can't wallow there for long. (But I'm not blaming those who are struggling - I will not judge!)
The Black Dog
I am not sure why the black dog became a symbol of depression, but when I watching an ex's dog once, I got a very good taste. The dog (a chocolate lab named Woody) wouldn't do anything while his master was away. He literally laid down at the top of our stairs and looked like death itself. He mourned the absence intensely. Perhaps this is why the dog became the symbol - because there is nothing sadder than watching a dog who looks like he's about to die - simply because his master is away overnight.
Why Do We Get Depressed?
I have a lot of reasons to be depressed at my age (40s).
- I suffered abuse from multiple directions including an ex-spouse. (So, broken home, when I planned to remain married.)
- I have had to leave many loved ones behind before it was time - including my own sons.
- I have yet to have the privilege of raising a cat all the way from kitten to old age. Instead, I've had to leave animals behind, multiple times.
- I have still not mastered the art of housekeeping.
- I still do not have my farm, my animals, the things I had planned (30 years ago) to have done by about 20 years ago...
In so many ways (of the world), I am a failure - so I should be depressed, right?
Listen to the words of one of my favorite spiritual teachers... Sadhguru. (You do not have to be Hindu to get great benefit from his teachings... I wish I could adopt him as my grandfather!)
Sometimes, understanding why you are sick is the first step to overcoming the sickness! If you discover you are allergic to peanuts, you stop eating peanuts. Maybe if we can understand why we are depressed, we can stop being depressed!
Sadhguru teaches that we make ourselves depressed, so a change of thinking is required to make ourselves undepressed. (He does not say it - or mean it - with any level of disrespect.)
How to Overcome Depression
I love how Sadhguru makes you laugh no matter how serious the topic is. Many of his teachings are so simple - and based on such basic observations that you might think that you should have thought of it yourself. But sometimes, when you are in the thralls of illness (including the mental illnesses of stress, anxiety and depression), you cannot see that which is obvious to someone else. (Plus, when Sadhguru must be twice my age, he's had plenty of time to think about these things while I've been busy raising children and thinking about all the things I haven't done yet.)
Did you miss his "how to get out of it" part? I did too, but I still gained a lot from his talk. But let's move on to the next thing... (the first half is more of his observations and advise, but then he goes into basic yogic breathing to help reset your brain and vibrations. There's nothing "new age" about it, it's just healing!)
Did I tell you how much I love this man?! I often listen to his teachings because he's so genuine and so wise!
I am going to work on beginning my day with 7 AUMs as he describes in this video and see if it helps me begin more positively. It can't hurt!
Other Ways to Relieve Depression
- Dietary cholesterol. Rather than a villain, we now know that consuming cholesterol (esp from animal products) is essential for serotonin (your feel-good hormone) to be released in your brain adequately. So, if you're open to eating meat, maybe it's time for that big steak you've been putting off... (If you're veggie, consider supplementing with nutritional yeast to get those B vitamins in there.)
- Exercise and fresh air. These things help you to feel better, even if it's just a walk around the block or to the end of the road.
- Comedy relief. Watch (or read) something funny or something fantastic.
- Learn something. A language (free on Duolingo), an instrument, how to draw or even more of Sadhguru's talks! This will make you feel better about yourself as a person.
- Avoid toxic people whether it's your obnoxious neighbors, the unhelpful clerk at the store or even (sometimes, sadly) your own relatives. (Or plan to reward yourself for getting through the necessary meeting with as little drama as possible.)
- Turn off the news channels and skip the newspaper. You can't change the national politics anyway - stop letting it depress you!
- Prayer and Meditation - focus on your deity and/or spiritual guide for strength and perseverance.
I hope some of this helps you if you're suffering from the Black Dog of Depression. Please let me know if Sadhguru has helped you at all (and watch more of his videos on YouTube to help support him in return.)
Note: Image is from PeakPx.
Crossposted on Uptrennd.
Past issues of Health and Healing
Wild Healing & Foraging
- Arnica Angustifolia
- Arrowleaf Balsamroot
- Salal - Gaultheria Shallon
- Scarlet Globemallow - Sphaeralcea coccinea
Plants to Avoid
I am not a medical doctor. I am a solver of problems. I do the best I can to research and come up with possibilities that you may find useful, but I cannot diagnose your medical issue, nor can I tell you the best way to handle your situation. If in doubt, seek professional assistance.
When turning to nature, especially in the wild, you must take all responsibility to do due diligence. Using the wrong plant/herb/fungi can be extremely harmful or even fatal. When in doubt, seek experienced help. Note that identical plants/fungi found in a different country may be very different.
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