Shards of light - 5 personal tools to fight depression


quote

Yellow greens are slowly and surely emerging from the long grey Maine winter, and I too, am having moments of brightness and new life, ideas, excitement. But then, days like this still feel slow. 

So, I'm about to get ugly real. This is a truth I've agonized over whether to share, it being so raw and personal.

My brand is about creating happiness and spreading joy and that is incredibly important to me. I also feel that it's important to share what's really behind it.

Depression has been a reality for me for as long as I can remember. The swells of lethargy, sadness and lack of hope or joy.

If anyone reading can relate, please consider this a virtual hug. Although I know, empathy can just make it feel sadder. 

I'm going through it right now. The old familiar friend has come back for a visit. Luckily these days, the visits are shorter, I have tools to help me get back to me, but when I'm in it, I'm in it just the same. Can't make a decision. Can't complete a task. And it takes every ounce of energy I can muster to put one foot in front of another, speak a sentence to my husband, smile at my daughter. 

So this time it's here hard and I'm going to explore it. Something good has to grow from this place. Like a lotus, right? Dive deep into this darkness and make art? Isn't this what artists do? I certainly don't feel like making happy flowers right now. All I feel like doing is sharing this feeling. And then taking a nap. 

Do we all have these moments? Is it part of the human condition?

matisse drawing

My desire to spread joy, to make people happy must come from this place. Because seeing happiness that comes from my work is what brings in shards of light. I know I am loved. I know that people love my jewelry. All of this being logically true, I still have trouble finding the joy in that today. My tank still feels empty. And that's what it's like. It's not logical. Just soul truth.

So how to push through? How to turn it around? If you are ever in this place, first feel my virtual hug. Know that I feel you.

And now here are some tools I have collected over the years that sometimes work (and sometimes don't, which is why having a lot of tools to try is helpful):

1. Be kind to yourself. Because the opposite is cruel. Beating yourself up for not being productive won't help you to be more productive. Shocker, I know. But I did try this method for many years.

journaling

Just sit with yourself. Maybe write some things down, read a book. And tell yourself that you are allowed to take a day off, you can get back to work when your body is up to it. 

2. Go for a walk or run. But remember to be kind, still. Don't tell yourself you have to run three miles to break through this depression and then get mad at yourself for not feeling like it. I've tried that too. Again, surprisingly not affective. 

secret path

3. Try to notice color. In the place that I live, all the colors are in HD, that's the thing about Maine. But even if you are in a city, there are colors to notice. The yellow and white paint that mark up a street create contrast. The color of your favorite sweater or a cat... Noticing colors sometimes reminds me that there is more outside of myself. Even if my insides feel grey. 

cat

4. This one is hard but try to avoid tv and internet. Unfortunately there is not much content out there that is going to steer you in a more positive direction. If you must veg on the couch, that's ok, go with netflix. Try a movie that you know will bring tears (because that also sometimes helps - just cry and wail and let it out). I prefer a movie to binge watching shows. A movie has a definitive ending and you might even feel like getting up and doing something when it's over. Two of my favorite crying movies are Terms of Endearment and Armageddon. Oh the cheese, the glorious cheese. 

terms of endearment

PSA - eating actual cheese can cause inflammation that might send your mood in a less than positive direction - 

5. Think of the universe (or any higher power you believe in) having your back. When I have thoughts that I need to get up and get going because the world is flying past me and I'm going to get left behind, I think of the universe dolling out my life to me as I need it. Everything happening always at the right times. Sometimes I'll go within and ask for guidance. 

So today, I'm in bed, binge writing poems and blog posts, and occasionally crying. Because that's what my soul feels like doing. I know that on the other side of this there are new ideas, exciting business developments and new designs. But no rush. All in good time. 

Can anyone out there relate? I hope even a snippet of this might be helpful. What are some tools you use to get out of a funk?

Love,

Anne

ps. Here's me and Frida both working from bed...

frida kahlo in bed        me and yaya


5 comments


  • Lynn Gregorski

    Moved to tears reading this. So real. So raw. Thank you for sharing. Lynn


  • Alene

    Dearest Anne,
    Just finished reading your blog and would love to hug you.
    We have only been friends a short time through your jewelry but I have come to think of you as kind, funny and just such so much fun to hang with- especially when we have a little champagne.
    The only way I can relate to your sadness is when I think of loosing my dad.
    All I want to do is stay in bed,cry and look at pictures of him.
    Eventually I get myself back to being as happy as I can be without him. Of course therapy has helped as well :)
    If you ever need anything please don’t hesatate to ask.
    It was great to speak with you yesterday and I am so excited to receive my new items from your fabulous boutique.
    Let’s stay in touch and I look forward to your next trip to the city.
    Drinks and dinner on me .
    With Love,
    Alene


  • Darci

    Anne, thank you for your honesty. You are not alone in experiencing these feelings. I’ve recently picked up a book called “A Mind of Your Own”- by Kelly Brogan, MD in hopes that her suggestions about changing my diet and reducing inflammation will help. I’m sending a nice big “virtual hug” back at ya and please know that your cheerful, happy jewelry brings a smile to my face everytime I wear it. You are a beautiful soul.?


  • Betsy

    Oh, Anne. I wish I had a blog that could hug YOU right now. I suppose all those wonderful genes of yours, for inherent kindness, smarts, sky-high creativity and overall inner and outer beauty don’t AT THE MOMENT counteract the ones you got dumped that bring the darkness. Since it wouldn’t be helpful to send you cheese of the dairy kind, I will send Jowill up there fully loaded with chocolate and suggest this random assortment of movie cheese instead: About Time (with Bill Nighy, tissues needed but uplift also embedded); The Uninvited (1940s ghost story with humor and gooey cheese); Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang; Laura (lovesick 40s noir); and Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Would you feel comfortable with me sharing a link to your amazing post on Facebook? I have several friends and other relatives who are battling the bitch as well, and I think it could help them to know there’s a Wonder Woman lying in bed with a cat right now.


  • Tracy

    My depression hit full force during peri-menopause along with a host of other terrifying symptoms that made me think I had MS or ALS or something else truly sinister. When I finally got to my third doctor (after firing the first two) he grabbed me in a hug and said “Oh Tracy I see 10 women like you a week. You’re not dying you’re just dealing with a big ball of shit.” Love. That. Man. After 5 years on the strongest dose of Effexor I was ready to wean. That was five years ago. The lows still come, but they come as feeling totally overwhelmed. So I sit, and then rush around at 2pm so it looks like I haven’t been sitting. LOL. Humor gets me through the days, and as you age (I’m 54) there are lots of things to laugh about. My phone that likes to play hide and seek. Being able to forget things without that twinge that you are forgetting something. Stopping at Dunkin Donuts and giving the garbage can your order and then becoming irate that no one tells you to “pull up.” It’s a festival of fun. I can still get my lipstick on inside the lines so there’s that. You put into words exactly how depression feels, I have two (of my four) children dancing around it now, so it was a good reminder of how they might be feeling. Be well. Also watch “Bell, Book and Candle” one of my favs!


Leave a comment