Turning depression around

The blues

on 01/10/2013

Nothing’s rosy.  Nothing’s black and white.  It’s all grey and murky.

And having depression referred to as “the blues” doesn’t help.  If it were as simple as changing the colour of the lens through which we see the world, we’d all be able to choose our mood from one minute to the next, and everyone would have access to our view through the glass of depression.  If we had any input into the shades of the world, they certainly wouldn’t be blue.

On second thoughts, maybe “the blues” isn’t quite so far off the mark.  When our physical extremities turn blue, it’s usually because of circulation issues.  Perhaps the same applies to our emotions.  With depression, rather than feeling permanently sad for no apparent reason, it’s more a profound numbness that envelopes us.

I’ve often thought of it as having emotional “dead leg”.  When your leg goes to sleep because you’ve kept it in the same position for too long, you can still see it, you still know what it’s supposed to do, but you just can’t make the connection.  You can’t will it to respond, can’t summon it to action; it just lays there, looking at you in defiance.

Without stimulation, our emotions react in the same way.  I’m not undermining it in any way, but when we don’t expose ourselves to the same stimuli that we enjoyed before, there’s no incentive for them to perk up.  It’s not easy to find any joy in life when depression blights our efforts, but we can turn on some music, pick up a book and read a chapter or two, watch a favourite film, get outside and breathe in the fresh air.  Again, it’s about pacing ourselves and not expecting too much, too soon.  Little and often, and our senses will gradually begin to respond.

That’s not to say that the reactions will always be pleasant.  Like the pins and needles that accompany the initial movements of that dead leg, the tingling of our emotions can leave us feeling ill, and it can seem easier just to stay as we are.  The longer we leave it, the harder it becomes to flex that muscle.  We’re not comfortable with all of our emotions, especially those we’ve tried to ignore for long enough, but given time to settle, they become an acceptable part of feeling better and feeling like ourselves again.

We can carry on living in a bubble of fog, seeing nothing clearly and feeling nothing at all, or we can see the colours in that bubble’s sheen.  Trading in lifelong numbness can carry the risk of pain, but happiness is guaranteed if we take the chance.




One response to “The blues

  1. thegrandoldgame says:

    You have some pretty insightful posts, here. I found it awfully easy to relate to what you’re feeling; kind of made me self-conscious, in a way, knowing that I’m feeling a lot like that. Anyway, love the posts. Keep ’em coming!

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