Updated: Apr 9
You all know the old adage "the only constant is change". Some of those changes aren't a big deal. Others, however, can bring us to our wit's end. It could be brought on by facing a big move to a place where you don't know anyone, tragedy striking your life in the form of loss or illness, or finding yourself with no job and too much free time to worry about the bills you can't pay. For me, it was the birth of my first baby. Suddenly I wasn't working full time, in fact, I wasn't working (outside of the home like I was used to) at all. I was home in the silence (well, except the occasional crying) all day, every day. And I slowly had to face the fact the the dreaded and all-too-common postpartum depression/anxiety had taken up residence in my mind. Fortunately for me, I'm a fighter by nature, so I looked for every possible way to fight. So here are the coping mechanisms that I used, and it took ALL of these mechanisms (including seeing my midwife and getting a prescription) working together to help me through it. I am not a medical professional or an expert on depression; I'm just a real person with a real story of hope and healing.
Reach up—Reach up to something bigger than you. Take time to pray, meditate, and develop a relationship with God.
Reach out—One of my favorite quotes is, "Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should never let them get in the way of what's most important, and what's most important almost always involves the people around us." Focusing on someone else can go a long way. So get out and serve. Or stay in and serve. Reach out to a family member or friend that you haven't talked to in a while and just chat about how they're doing. Get out of the house so you're not isolated, and smile at someone at the bank or the grocery store.
Reach in— Take care of yourself. Eat right. It's hard when you don't feel like it, but poor eating can be cyclical: you don't feel like it, so you grab something unhealthy, but that makes you feel bad so that you don't feel like eating healthy, and the cycle continues. Get fresh air and sunshine. Get the right amount of sleep. Take vitamins and medication (as prescribed by your physician) when necessary, but don't think they replace other good habits. Medication works in conjunction with everything else. It isn't a magic pill that fixes everything, but it can give you that extra boost you may need.
Reach forward—Set both long-term and daily goals in different areas of life. Expand your mind. Learn new things. Work toward something that betters you.
You may be wondering what this has to do with diet or nutrition... It has everything to do with it. It's hard to be physically healthy when you aren't in a healthy mental/emotional state. It's a vicious cycle, and it has to be stopped somewhere. So give reaching a try. Don't give up. Find your own ways to reach up, out, in and forward. Things can and will get better.