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Some things I am learning about Depression: the ugly, ugly beast.

In Depression, Ramblings on April 30, 2007 by Cody McComas

Am I willing to do what it takes to beat depression? Yes, I am willing to do anything it takes. If I know I have to pull a traffic cone down onto my head and run around the block three times a day, then hand me the cone. I’m willing to do anything it takes.

Depression is a habit and I need to make changes in my life to help me break that habit.

When I am depressed my brain and body learn to secrete certain chemicals into my body and it is very helpful to work on changing those chemicals. Some tools to help me do that are:

  • Do things that get endorphins flowing through my body such as: exercise at least every other day (I love my bike) and do things I enjoy doing (photography).
  • Take anti-depressant medication.

Some other tools to help break the habit are:

  1. Keep a log of whenever I feel depressed. Make a note of everything that is going on; what theweather is like, time of day season, where I am living, with who I am living, am I tired, what did I last eat, everything. Once I have done that for a while look back through the log and see if I can find any patterns and then adjust my circumstances to help me be more in control.
  2. Organize myself. Get a daily planner, break it down into 15 minute intervals if necessary. Every night sit down and plan out the next day. Start with when I am going to wake up, shower, eat and go to bed. Then add the things I need to do that day. Start by making it a very simple schedule with just a few things on it. As I go through my days and accomplish the things on my schedule I will gain confidence in my ability to plan and accomplish things. As I progress I can incorporate any short- and long-term goals into my daily plan. As I accomplish short-term goals it raises my self-esteem and confidence. I don’t need to feel constricted and controlled by making a plan the night before because I am the one making the plan. It is my plan, and I am in control.

Depression is an emotion and doing these things will help me control my emotions rather than them controlling me.

Depression makes me have less will-power to do things and make changes, and changes are exactly what has to happen.

Depression, to a degree, takes away my free-agency and without free-agency I cannot progress and progress is exactly what I need to do.

In those moments when I am laying in bed and don’t want to move, don’t want to even care about caring I need a motivation factor to help get me through, and help me get up. For me some motivating factors are:

  • I refuse to live this way the rest of my life, and if I don’t get up today, I’m not going to get up tomorrow, and so what’s the point.
  • I refuse to let my emotions control me. I will control them.
  • God’s plan of me is to progress and learn and have joy.
  • Even though I may not think so or believe it, there are hundreds of people that love me and care for me and want me to be happy and successful.

Set an alarm to help me get out of bed and put it across the room. An alarm clock is beyond emotion and will help me snap out of being controlled by emotions. Use motivators such as this that are beyond emotion. (Side note: why is it called and “alarm” clock? I am the one that set it, why am I so alarmed? Perhaps it should be called and “opportunity” clock.)

Spirituality is tied closer to emotion than logic is tied to emotion. If I can boost my spirituality in a positive way it will be an effective way to affect my emotions in a positive way. I know logically that I don’t want to lay in bed all day and feel horrible. However the emotion of depression takes over sometimes but I can boost that emotion in a positive direction by boosting my spirituality.

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world” (Ether 12:4)

That’s all for this installment.

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15 Responses to “Some things I am learning about Depression: the ugly, ugly beast.”

  1. I think that travelling is a nice way to revive ones spirit (hint, hint). So if you ever need to get away, you have a friend in MN that misses you!

  2. I think this is a good enlightenment. I have been dealing with this for 6 years. Talking to myself in a way to improve myself.

    Something I have learned. EVERYONE has something they are dealing with. Weather it’s depression or (my personal mental illness of choice : anxiety) Everyone’s got somethin

    Also, I have made a list of scriptures that really snap me out of my “issues” Jacob 3:1 is a temptation for ya. Destruction = mental illness

    Keep us updated.

  3. Cody–I’m inspired by your courage to write so personally, so frankly. You write things as they really are. And that is beautiful. I will think on this long after I close this internet window….

    Rightly so, you call on us to remember that we are here to act, not merely to be acted upon. And to remember that when, not if, the darkness comes (we are in a fallen world after all) the Source of Light can always dispel it (we are that we might have joy).

    Thankfully we are blessed to have many “mirrors” around us who reflect that very Light so needed to see clearly, to feel the warmth of pure truth, of sweet love. And only then can we see as we are seen and know as we are known–and that is beautiful, too.

    Thanks again for your words, your example, for the Light you have reflected more than once into this sometimes-darker-than-I’d-like corner. Be sure to count me amongst those hundreds…

    Your fan,
    Suzanne

  4. I was enlightened when I read your post, especially with the last portion when you addressed spirituality and logic. I believe what you said is true. Sometimes its hard not to rely on logic…the natural man in us seeks those types of explanations, but we find times, crucial times, where logic will not fill or even explain the emptiness we experience in our lives. This is where spirituality can heal and cure if we let it.
    Making that connecting with somthing “greater” than ourselves is like opening a door that when you look inside you not only see the miracles of God but you realize that you can become apart of it. You have the skills the abilities and the capability to fullfill the measure of your existence. Life is amazing!
    I have always known that I will do amazing things…whether I will do it in my job, or within the church,… or within my own family as a mother…all I know is that God knows me and he knows my heart.

    So I just shared some thoughts….some related to the post and some not:) Seize each day and make it yours….and as my wise mother always tells me…”Pray each day to live with not regret”

  5. YOu have so many people who love you and will be learning from you. Thank you, brave boy.

  6. Cody,

    From someone who has experienced depression and anxiety often I thank you for your honesty.

    Once when I was living in Idaho there was going to be a speaker at a Sunday fireside. The speaker was the mother of a girl in my ward. This woman had recently won Idaho “Mother of the year” award. Now, I’m sitting at home thinking, “Oh goody, I get to go listen to some perfect mother and see how wonderful she is and all my imperfections will be highlighted to a blinding degree. I believed that good moms don’t get depressed or whatever. Anyway, I went to the fireside and this woman starts talking about how she battled depression for 11 years. She was this amazing mother of like 10 kids or something, she taught art and was creative and incredible. My point is that after I heard her share that part of her I felt empowered. I realized that even if you have to wrestle with mental illness often, it doesn’t make you less valuable or change who you are inside.

    I decided that I would be open about my fight against depression/anxiety so that I could empower others and help them know they are not alone. Also, when we are open about these things, we help others realize that depression does not in define who we are. Keep fighting Cody, and know that you are not alone.

  7. Your beautiful mind has been a motivation for me to be better, do better, reach higher. Your beautiful mind has encouraged me to understand my passions. Your beautiful mind has reminded me to explore and to delve more into my often forgotten inspirations. The presence of your beautiful mind in my life is important to me.

  8. Interesting how it works isn’t it? It kind of creeps up on you. It is easy to fall down that road and get down on yourself. You make some good points that should help us all reflect on how we deal with depression in our own lives. Hope Alaska is treating you well!

  9. I am so proud of you! I pray for you. Keep yourself focused on those goals and you can and will do great things. I love that you know exactly how to overcome this struggle you have and that you have laid out the steps to progress. Life is hard, but we can do hard things.

  10. cody,

    keep on working on this. you are worth it. more than you know now.

  11. Hey, Cody, how about an update, if you can spare a few minutes? =)

  12. above from Jared.

  13. hey cody,
    some of the most brilliant minds that have graced the earth have suffered with mental illness. you are no exception.
    more people than you would even imagine struggle with this same problem (i am one of them). i am sorry that you are facing this but i am happy to see that you are being realistic and optimistic in your solutions.
    don’t let anyone tell you its no big deal, its as big as it is to you. i know personally how dark it can be. please know that you are a son of Heavenly Father who is aware of your trials and you can turn to Him in prayer at any time and He will hear you! you are worth all the happiness that comes your way. more people love and care about your well being than you may know. you are strong, you are resiliant and you will over come. keep up the hard work!
    love,
    an old friend

  14. Hi Friend,

    I have been dealing with anxiety and depression ever since my son was born, though I am able to contol it by exercising like a mad woman, eating well, sometimes taking medication and trying to keep my faith strong. Though, I feel, at times, despite all this, it overshadows me.

    It makes you feel alone, even though you know you aren’t. I think if we try our hardest to over come these trials, daunting as they are, we will make small successes. You just have to take each day on it’s own and know that you are loved, a child or god, and that you are meant to be here and have a purpose.
    And you are definitely… not alone.

  15. Great post Cody. We are dealing much with depression in our house especially right now. Thanks for the tips, they sound great, I do hope they help.

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