One thing I know for sure – yoga is good for depression, and sad thoughts, and anxious thoughts, and just living life to the fullest (not to mention flexiest)!
Blogging, maybe – but I’m not so sure.
On RUOK day (World Suicide Prevention Day) I’m certainly not advocating blogging as any kind of cure-all for serious depression or mental illness.
But I wonder what role it can play in an arsenal of tools that help to keep the worst thoughts and most desperate feelings at bay.
My go-to tool is yoga, which always gets me out of my head and into the present, focused on life-giving breath and the joy (and usually challenge) of movement.
Try this (Half Moon Pose):
“Feet and toes touching, tummy in, stand up tall, spine straight, feet grounded, toes planted, interlace your hands firmly above your head and release the index fingers, hold your elbows tight into your ears, shoulders down and back, mula bandha (that would be your pelvic floor) switched on, inhale, weight into your left foot, point your left hip out, bend to the right, chin up, left shoulder forward, right shoulder back, breathe, compress into your right side, squeezing fresh blood into your liver, squeeze all that SH#T out, stretch up strong through your left side, breathe, stretch and bend more, and lower, and stretch and breathe and bend lower, and lower and exhale and release.” (see how there’s not much time to think of anything else).
And when I get seriously sweaty in a hot yoga room, the sweat is certainly a distraction from the discomfort of my crazy thoughts and harsh self-judgements. Sometimes I even catch inspiration in the drops (read bucket-loads) of perspiration.
It’s ironic somehow that it’s my copious, uncontrolled sweating I remember most about finally biting the bullet and seeing a doctor for depression 12 years ago – I recall thinking I might have drowned in my own sweat, even if I didn’t go under with depression.
Sucked down in the depths after repeated IVF failures, I finally admitted that it was justifiable, normal even, to suffer from a sadness I couldn’t shake, a despair I couldn’t overcome – not without help.
I took the meds, saw a psychiatrist, did a whole bunch of other things (besides getting pregnant, which sadly never happened) that made me feel better, yet I’ve still danced with depression since.
Yep, I’ve done a guilty tango fit for Dancing with the Stars. I think the guilt over feeling depressed is the worst of all.
I believe meditation can be a compliment and sometimes even a replacement for medication – just replace the ‘C’ with a ‘T’ – (especially when meditation is complimented by positive actions like yoga practice, writing, walking in nature, socialising with friends etc).
Journal writing can be great for getting your thoughts out, but it can also be a trap for getting stuck in those same thoughts if we keep them to ourselves (and keep tripping over them).
But a problem blogged is a problem shared, and surely that has to be good?
With blogging there’s a chance for real connection, for genuine support, but what if support isn’t forthcoming, or not in the way you had hoped, as the lovely Deb Dane found when she poured out her heart three years ago for RUOK day – at least she was disappointed until the lovely Bron (Maxabella) was there to hold her hand.
This RUOK day the lovely Mrs Woog thanked me for sharing her heartfelt post – it was the least I could do – and her genuine thanks made me feel like we’re connected.
Connection is everything in battling depression and mental illness. It can’t come through comparison (you know my blog’s smaller and crappier than yours). As a ‘lil ol’ blogger, thinking in terms of a popularity contest can send me slipping back down a slippery slope. And after the high of Problogger, I must admit to a slight slide into the land of sadness and obscurity.
But when I practice yoga and meditation (and I’ve been doing lots of it), when I write words that somehow just flow, when I think about possibilities and experience the caring that comes with sharing, I have to squint my eyes against the bright light. Life is good.
So blog as therapy I say. Blog to and for your heart’s content. Don’t compare. Just connect. Always ask yourself – RUOK? Always asks your family, friends and your readers if they’re OK. Always listen, gently, for the answers. Always care.
And then blogging may well be a treatment for depression. RUOK?
(Linking up with the lovely Grace for FYBF).