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Simple Ways to Bring Light into the Darkness of Depression

March 20, 2019 Jennifer Smith

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Those of us diagnosed with depression will experience the darkness that comes with it, yet there are things we can do to shine a light into even the darkest of days. When it feels as if all our joy has been stripped away, we discover that we might have to work harder to create happiness and light in our lives. Let's talk about some simple ways to do that.

Bringing Light into the Darkness of Depression

  1. Create joyful spaces to erase the darkness of depression. Design and decorate a room or even a corner that makes you happy. Let it be a space that's all yours and displays your personality. Have a table set with your favorite books or movies. Do you collect anything? Display your collection on a shelf in your space. Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? Plant a garden. Do you paint? Set up an area to work on your art and then display it. Figure out what makes you joyful and then create a space for it. Spend time there every day; carve out extra time to spend in your joyful space on those particularly dark days of depression.
  2. Celebrate holidays. I've started decorating and celebrating for holidays other than Halloween and Christmas. So far this year I've celebrated New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day. For me, this has meant putting up some simple decorations and preparing a special meal for my family. I haven't had a big party or done anything elaborate, but if that's something you would enjoy, then go for it. I've discovered that celebrating a holiday each month breaks up the monotony of life that tends to worsen my depression. I feel joyful when I see fun decorations around my house. This is an easy way in which I've been able to shine some light into my life.
  3. Special rituals can lessen the darkness of depression. We all need some grounding techniques in our lives. Comforting mental health routines are part of what I do each day to bring light into the darkness of my depression. Every morning, I have a cup of coffee while I check social media. This is my time. I read before bed at night; it settles my mind and helps me prepare for sleep. I have monthly breakfasts or brunches with other women. I go on dates with my husband. I take walks. Special rituals like these are things we look forward to doing, and they are an important part of shining light into depression's darkness. If you don't already have special rituals, I encourage you to create some today. If you have some, I encourage you to engage in at least one of them this week.

Depression leads us into dark places, but we are not left there without hope. With the above options for bringing light into our world of depression, we can still create joy and discover happiness within ourselves.

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2019, March 20). Simple Ways to Bring Light into the Darkness of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/3/simple-ways-to-bring-light-into-the-darkness-of-depression



Author: Jennifer Smith

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Susanne Mueller
February, 26 2020 at 7:15 pm

We all understand that this type of advice is meant to help. However, people with depression, chronic, long term keep trying to to say one thing. The suggestions assume people are capable of , getting off the couch, to have the energy, motivation to chop up vegetables for healthy snacks. REALLY !!!!! It shows unfortunately depressions ,"darkness", is STILL not understood.
It requires medical intervention at this stage. This is why people with depression try to commit suicide.
If we could make a little circle around us, and keep it clean, as advised, we WOULDNT have the deepest form of depression. In that darkness, we get up to go to the toilet, only when our bodies force us to. We don't eat, we drink only when the thrist gets to great.
We don't go to doctors, we can't get out of bed or even make the appointment. That would mean talking to someone when we can only cry, breakdown in nervousness and back to a worst state.
People able to do any, all of what is suggested here are not in the depths of darkness. What is needed is a medical alert arranged by doctors and for in home care. Suicides would lessen dramatically, because when people can't care about anything any more, meaning absolutely nothing, an emptiness meaning that no hope is felt, that having a qualified mental health person and household help would create the hope, the light, and way out for us.
I am a fortunate one, I taught myself to understand 6 weeks or 8 weeks and now months of laying in bed or on the couch WAS exactly what I DID need to overcome the deep grief depressed people are overwhelmed by. There may be no true event causing grief at that time but you can bet your last dollar in their deep consciousness there was such events. Until the mind finds a way to recognise what that was, what triggered depression, and current events are perhaps adding to that, or whether it's a chemical, genetic, learnt coping skills, or caused by events in their past or all of these, it does not get fixed by simplistic minor actions.
I know psychology is pushing that changes in behaviour causes a positive change. I urge people in all fields to use commonsense. If a persons mind, is affected by chemical imbalances that cause non movement, you ask them to fix the impossible. If a mind shuts down all activity maybe it means that mind can not cope with getting into a sitting position instead of lying down. Stop trying to make them stand up.
Getting to a Doctor, mental health professional feels like climbing Mt Everest. I was in the Army, I know how to push physical boundaries, others don't.
If everything in your mind and body is screaming grief, how does it matter if my house is not cleaned ? To me. If no one is there, or even if people do see. I am dying and people judge my mental state by minor lack of housekeeping for times in depression.
Depressed people may feel shamed, but they don't care about peoples judgements in the end, it just adds to what the black hole sucks out of us anyway, which is everything. When we are in this dying state, it's like being farsighted when people judge our state of cleanliness.
Nothing escapes adding into this negivity including mental health people saying you did this all to yourself. We know that but in a suicidal state, pretending to be ok and going to see professionals or them visiting you, we do not need to here this even if we SEEM strong enough to take it. Like when I managed to have a clean house. That all adds to suicide ideation feelings and thoughts. We ask for help and get told make an effort. We just did and it then seems not enough. Bingo, straight back into full blown depression.
If you heard a tad of sarcasm, it's not meant to be that. It's to make readers see how we hear that advise. We tell others again and again and again that we need help. We meant that. We need another person to be there helping us survive through the deepest parts of depression. Living with us 24/7. For proper assessment, to help us be clean, to eat, drink properly, to have a clean environment. If we arent better in 2 weeks, here should be proper Depression only clinics. Not psychiatric wards. We even cant cope with normal life.
In the olden days, depressed people were hospitalised. There is no room for all of us because of cost cutting mental health and because we learnt to hide it for decades as I did.
Why is it so hard for training of nurses to include in home care for those who are depressed. Not just a visit, checking up on us which usually just really makes us angry. Like it's being watched kike an insect for suicide watch. Not feeling caring , being there for us, re asl physical care and support. People think we are not sick. WE ARE SICK, but in the mind with exhausted bodies attached to stressed out minds. Unable to cope in all ways.
People in depression have levels of being able to help themselves, until that darkness sets in. Once that is in effect, that person is a non functioning shell. Inside themselves, there IS NO outer world. There is only one way out in that mind state. Theres no one coming to help. And yes I have been there several times. Only dumb luck saved me as I dont call for help, I just think to do it and do it.
No,..... I did not ask for help after attempts to take my life either. I learnt early, as a child, never to ask for attention, for help, charity or assistance of any type. Self reliance was important in our family values but imposed greater on me for weird beliefs my parents where taught in their childhoods.
I occassionally watch ambulance shows trying to help these people, and it is possible if professionals learn the stages of when someone is going into this type of grief, sadness, hopelessness, physical exhaustion and the way people react in each stage. By the time people are on the bridge, but still talking, it's not the end for many but it is for those left totally alone in their residences or homeless.
It's not hard to understand. We ask for help, meaning , somehow I am dying in this blackness of hopelessness and those helping say, okay we will help you. But that help is conditional on how many mental health people are available, for a short time and you make the effort for follow up care. Meaning you care for yourself, even though you were on a bridge, unable to care for yourself. Our little chat will help you survive. What do you think any intelligent guman being is going to think of that event.
We think, BUT I have this for days, weeks, months. I just managed to get out of bed, off the couch, to kill myself and that it? That's the help. Boy am I worthless.
Once that's there, added to our smashed, non exist a nt self esteem, it doesn't lift until we do nothing but REST.
Those comments, those unhelpful events are like people kicking us in the guts when we are on the floor already.
Then either much later on, one day it lifts, we still grief, and/ or are still upset, sad, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed until next time or we feel only Death waiting for us as our exit from emotional, physical and/ or psychological pain.
Watching positive happy people saying goodbye when you are truly suicidal is the nail in the coffin for many, the straw that broke the camel's back. Why, because there not being enough places for people who are in suicidal depression, to be cared for, tells a VERY touchy, sensitive state person, that society, governments, don't really care about mental health as in fixing problems.
Studying live, seen cases of depression WOULD lead to understanding it properly. There still thinking in old Victorian ways when it comes to providing physical help and support. However Shell Shock was treated correctly then, hospitalisation, but not in mental ill wards.
I have comorse PTSD as well. I have researched down to the sub molecular protein interactions affecting PTSD. Learning what is happening to my mind helps keep me alive, hope for future medications that will help.
Add back injury from the Army in 1983, chronic and acute agony through out and you should see, I AM an expert as I am still alive. And why am I still alive?
It's because I allowed myself to understand my lying around IS resting and IS healing. One day I wake up and the wanting to end the pain, the grief, lifts a little.
All depressed people know about baby steps back to normality. There the ones that survived the first few black holes. The ones who don't die in suicide attempts, work out they need not to function for awhile and to ignore others telling them to act NORMAL.
WE ARE NOT ON NORMAL MODE. Asking people to act they are okay, to go against that blackness actually PUSHES them further and deeper into the hole.
I did explain it once to people who can't imagine it. It's like a black hole being on the floor. A person ends up putting their head into that hole for no known reason. So I ask people to think of this happening in very slow motion.
For the person seeing it, it's like, okay that person is putting their head is a hole. Why ?
To understand us, you have to think as if it was you. Then think of how, as you are lowering you head into the blackness of that hole, you dont realise what is reslky happening. Imagine lowering your head in slow motion, think of how it affects your vision, see how your perception of the outer world changes slowly into your inner world because you CANT SEE anymore. As your head goes into that blackness your perspective has to change from outer to inner. First you see everything, but even by the time just your eyes cant see above the ground level you are already entering total blackness.
Now your head is fully submerged this world is now this dark forbidding nothingness without boundaries. Your body is now disconnected action wise, lying in the real world but unable to function because your head is tuck in this hole. You know moving your body is needed to get up but somehow the suction of this hole, the not seeing the holes boundary, make it tiring trying to get up. You get paniky, you struggle physically to get up until you are physically so exhausted you cant get up but for survival reasons. If you eat , , your had is still in the hole, same for toileting. There is no showering, changing clothes, food unless starving has occurred. Somehow you can't just get up and take your head out of that hole. BUT if we REST, we end up, one day feeling enough strength to get up and stay up. Our head has come out of that hole.
So good meaning people pushing even NORMAL living needs is exhausting. Family members exhaust us and we withdraw. They don't understand that simple things like going to the toilet, is like ripping yourself out of one reality into another. That what others call fatigue. It's beyond exhaustion. i had Pnemmonia, once. It thats type of exhaustion. So that's why our bodies stop working when others think there is nothing's wrong. ITS ALL WRONG, NOT FUNCTIONING.
Its all about Perspective. We are lying with our head in that black hole and need professional people at home with us, allowing us, to find our mental strength to find our way back into existing again. We may not want to chat at that time, we are very tied, fighting to come back to normality.
Until depression is seen as a real mental AND physical disconnection from ones reality, that existing as normal state humans do ceases and is normal in depressions deepest parts , people will escape that altered perception by suicide. No one can survive living in a twisted perspective like that without medications and physical care and support unless they are lucky. They like me have the types that lifts after weeks, months, and sometimes years of not lifting. We have learnt to wait it out, it does eventually lift away for us with REST, less social reaction to avoid additional social stresses, and simply taking care of ourselves as best that WE can. Not anywhere near normal daily routines.
Those how are pushed by just being a provider to others in any degree like family care are at greatest risk. No REST, added actions, responsibility stress and it snap suicide decision time as a direct result.
Example. Bosses from he'll. I was working 16 hours a day, had got a 4 day break in contracted hours terms, went on holidays exhausted from being a fitter, installer. The 2nd day camping was called in by assistant bosses to do an order that had NOT been delivered at at. I woke up in my tent before knowing it was a bastard act of bullying as usual by those 2 bosses who did this to all the workforce, and Dr l t like swimming out into the sea and never coming back.
See, it is perspective. Never coming back, was killing myself. I actually loved my job. I had watched a male college be bullied until he cried and had a nervous breakdown in the store. Getting him to leave by resigning. They managed their business by using us as contract employees but illegally putting us on permanent wages as a way to cut costs. I was ill, and the female boss sent me het typed letter saying I did not blame the company for anything. Trouble was it was heat related sickness , so bad it made me have an irregular heart beat. It's taken 20 years for the medical side of it, to work this out.
That mental and physical exhaustion of a job where even customers asked where my assistant was, in Tropical heat, 16 hours a day with every attempt of your time off thwarted, caused that suicidal thought. I went, did the job, seething as again the bosses avoided your request to talk about these issues, as they knew I was quite capable of expressing my views calmly, was the last straw.
My heart was physically damaged by heat exhaustion and now looking back ,I know I had a heat stroke.
So often suicide is from it just really being to much for anyone, even physically fit, generally happy people. I hope this helps people giving advice to Always say first, If anyone is not functioning, the one thing they need to do is ring for help with depression or suicidal thoughts.

February, 28 2020 at 2:52 pm

Hello, Susanne, I appreciate your taking the time to type these comments. Your thoughts are insightful, and I can truly relate to them. I have been in the abyss and still wade my way through it every day of my life. I attempted suicide in January of 2017, and I try to work hard to keep myself from getting that low again. I struggle daily and all I can offer myself and others is a bit of light to help us get through this life with depression. I think your descriptions of depression are spot on, and I would love for the mental health care professional community to hear your suggestions. We are in desperate need of an overhaul in the treatment of those with mental illness. Until that happens, though, I am here to do what I can to help. Once again, thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts here.

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