2016 RA Blog Week – Day 4

Happy Friday Eve everyone. We’re almost done with this week. For those of you with stressful day jobs (like me) that’s a good thing. I will be sad to see the end of this week though. I’ve enjoyed sharing the week with all the other folks participating in #RABlog week. They’re a great group.

Today’s topic is one of the wildcard topics. Coping with depression. The big D. That dirty liar that haunts us all.

I’ve been walking with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over half my life so that means I’ve been walking with depression all that time too. It just goes hand in hand with a chronic illness. Especially a life altering chronic illness with near constant pain.

Everyone handles depression differently. Some find that medications work well to stop that downward spiral. Others go with therapy of some sort. Some stick to support groups. There are tons of ways to handle it. And each person has to find out what works for them. I’m going to talk about what works for me. (Please note, if you’re having thoughts of self harm, get help now. Right now. What I’m about to talk about is more for dealing with low grade depression.)

I have tried therapy. I’m deeply introverted so it wasn’t really something that worked for me. Of course I was also a kid when I tried. I think that it would be different if I went back now. I’ve never tried anti-depressants. I work as an artist, technical writer, and fiction writer. I need my brain to not be foggy so I’ve always steered clear of those.

What works for me is redirection.

When depression starts whispering all those negative, why bother kind of thoughts I redirect myself. I go for a walk with my dog. I start a new knitting project. I learn a new skill. I go in my workshop and start building things. I go to dinner with my friends. I volunteer with my church. I listen to happy music and read funny books.

I redirect myself before I can get sucked into that pit of depression. That means that I have to be very self aware and watch for the signs that I’m starting a downward spiral. Thankfully, I have some wonderful people in my world that know the signs too. They are always handy to help me redirect things.

I’ll admit, sometimes I let myself wallow sometimes. I think it’s okay to just disconnect from life and check out. But I never unpack and live there. I just visit. That’s the real trick there. You can’t let it suck you in and keep you in the dark pit. You’ve got to learn what will help you climb out.¬†And focus on that instead of the darkness.

Redirect. As much as you have to.

~Elise

PS. I have a book coming out! (Yay!) Restoration Road will be released in October. If you want to know more about it, click here. And keep watching my blog for more information on when and where you can get your own copy.