The Cure for Depression: Don’t Skip What Works

We are very close to the end of our list of cures for depression. We’ve covered everything from connecting with a person to talking to a professional to medicating to exercising to last week’s post on mindfulness.

So… that pretty much makes you an expert now, right?

I’m going to take a really wild guess that you haven’t implemented any of these suggestions. Yes, I’m psychic. Or… I know this because I also haven’t moved from my lazy habits one titch. In fact, I’ve actually worsened in …um…. about half the areas.

My negative self-talkers are in process of lighting torches and hefting pitchforks. “You’re a failure!” They chant, preparing to run my motivation out of the forest forever.

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“Hold up there!” I reply. I’m actually not a failure. I even wrote about a new title for those with mental illness! We’re not failures. We’re HUMAN!

Instead of giving up, I’m going to brush forest moss from my coat and pick the leaves out of my hair. I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re all fine with -nevermind.

But no more slacking, fellow human. Sit up. Pick an item from the list. Close your eyes and point if you need to. Let’s see: you got “exercise.” That’s easy! Read the blog post I wrote and follow along with my simple step-by-step directions. I even kept it short just in case your attention span wanders like mine….

Where were we? Oh. Attention stuff. Yeah, so, if you could go ahead and pick one that would be great, mmmkay?

Just one. Do it and stop making excuses.

If you are more motivated than I and have already completed one or more of the suggestions, bravo! Pat yourself on the back and eat a bit of chocolate unless you’re reading this after 8 p.m. Get to bed at a reasonable time, and pick another idea to try tomorrow.

Pick another idea after that one.

And again.

The main idea is to try. I don’t even care if you stop after a bit; it’s the trying that matters. After simply trying a few, you are going to notice something important: what helps, and what’s not-so-helpful.

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Let’s say that aerobic exercise stressed you out more, yoga in the morning helped you want to keep working your crummy job, eating organic got really expensive, and your psychiatrist moved to another state. Which of these items needs to stay, class?

Don’t red marker them out of existence; this is more of an “edit the sentence to make it correct” exercise.

Cross out aerobic exercise stressed you out more, and write I will walk outside for half an hour at lunch. Change the yoga bit to a simple I love doing yoga before work. Organic got really expensive can now read Healthy foods don’t have to be organic; I’ll pick up some produce on sale and eat it with my meals. As to your psychiatrist? I’m going to ask around for a new psychiatrist, including asking mine for a good referral.

See how that works? Great! Homework time! Your assignment, due soon, is the following:

  1. Try! That’s all: try one of the cures for depression.
  2. Try another.
  3. Ditto, for about 12 more items.
  4. Look at what worked. Edit your observations in a positive manner.

Now for the most difficult part: DO what works.

Which, of course, is NOT difficult. We just make it that way. Change really isn’t the mountain we see it to be. Change is actually a few small steps to a shortcut we can’t see from the trailhead. That shortcut may require climbing gear and a sherpa, but it’s there and it’s possible.

You’re stronger than you think -but not invincible. Don’t get lazy by dropping the practices and routines that made your life more tolerable. That make your life happy.

Keep at it. You are worth it.

 

Photo Credits:
Vinicius Amano
Esther Tuttle

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

Why Do You Write?

I wasn’t certain of what I’d find when I started blogging. I thought to write an initial story; polish it, edit it, re-write parts of it, and timidly make it public. I planned to use snippets, poems, and short fiction pieces I’d already posted on Facebook for most of my posts. I vowed to publish to the blog every day for a year.

When one person liked something I felt surprised.

When another re-blogged my scary story I felt embarrassed but pleased.

When I saw that another writer was following me, I followed back. I read all she wrote and commented on her posts. I did the same for the 10 others who followed my site.

In gaming terms, I was such a noob.

The real question, however, is Why did I even start writing? It’s a favorite to ask authors, besides When did you write your first story? and What’s your secret to successful writing?

I began writing seriously because I was working on a book. After spending nearly two years on WordPress I’ve learned this is not a unique situation nor an unusual reason to be writing on here. I continued writing because I felt it would help my writing overall and give me connections to people. Maybe those people would read my book one day.

Y’know, if I wrote it.

But life happens. In my case, the thick of life is happening. The book hasn’t been revisited for a while, though I felt inspired to open up another blog using my proposed title for its URL: I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother.

Also like many writers, I now feel stuck. I feel overwhelmed. I feel intimidated and lost in a gigantic pool of talent and time, without the will to paddle. I probably shouldn’t have thrown my compass overboard during that one depressive episode last year…

Until I find my North Star, or even a lost kite, tell me: what is your motivation? Why do you write? How do you keep writing?

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—————-

I lagged a bit and back-posted, but we’re counting all I wrote over the last week:
Wednesday, April 24: Wrote “Where Did THAT Come From?” after pondering about heredity and genes with mental illness.

Thursday, April 25: “The Cure for Depression: Journal, Meditate, and Pray,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 26: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce Goodman!

Saturday, April 27: Announced the 23rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Spread the word! Enter! This week we’re doing rap.

Sunday, April 28: Re-blogged Frank Prem‘s fantastic “(what if I hear them) whistle and cry.
And posted “The Author of a Long Night,” to Charli, hostess at Carrot Ranch.

Monday, April 29: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Two.”

Tuesday, April 30: Inspirational quote by Og Mandine.

Wednesday, May 1: May Day!

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Steal Your Kisses if You Have To,” “Me Time Just Might Be Wishful Thinking,” and an okay limerick about kids making me late.

Photo Credit:
Thought Catalog

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

I’m a bit tardy posting today. I’d tell you my life story, but I know you’ve already skipped to-

All right, all right. The winner this week is Peregrine Arc.

Zzzz

by Peregrine Arc

One more minute, I snore
One more minute soon turns into four.
Six am workouts sound so good on paper, when imaginary me’s do all the work.
Can’t I clone myself or snooze my way to fitness? I squirm and think.

Out I put my foot, my toe wiggles ’round.
It’s my radar scanner to see if all’s safe and sound.
It touches the floor, the rest of me still covered up in bed.
Brr, ’tis cold, brr shivers and shakes alive!
Back into bed, abandon ship and this dread!

Isn’t there a clause in the Constitution,
against cruel and unusual punishment such as these coming to fruition?

It’s for my health, it’s for my well being
I’ll get up in second, and do some….more…pleading.
Zzzzz…..

Congratulations, Mama Arc! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Whenever I enter writing contests and the host/hostess says, “You were all so good; I just couldn’t choose,” I know she’s saying a load of crap. Yet, here I find myself thinking it nearly every week. You guys are getting so ‘good’ at being terrible poets. Pat yourselves on the back for the dubious honor; you deserve it.

We can’t literally all be winners, of course, which is why Peregrine Arc scooped you this week. Other poems had plenty of elements that were so. darn. clever. I chortled. I cringed. P. Arc’s terrible rhymes, meter, message, and overall relatability got her in to contender status. I believe the overall poem is what bumped her to first for me. There’s just something universal about the thing, even though it’s a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster in its final form.

As to the rest of you, let’s get these things cross-stitched and hung on Etsy walls. Read them all below, and try not to laugh:

Keeping Your Head When All About You are Keeping Theirs

by masercot

A lazy man from Orleans
Slept upon a guillotine
The townspeople said, “Find some other bed;
if you sleep there much longer, you’ll lose your head”
Despite the people’s entreaties and pleas
He was only interested in catching some ‘Z’s
He finally compromised with the people of the town
And said, “So, wake me when the blade is half-way down…”

—–

“Watch me.”

by Violet Lentz

I started off
Dangling the proverbial carrot
Buying a new truck- for work of course
Promising my undying support,
Because he knew he already had my love
When that didn’t work I tried reason
“I’m working three jobs
Buying the food
Carrying it in the house
Cooking it
Washing the dishes
What may I ask is wrong with this picture?”
Sly little smirk,
Toss of the head
Walk out the door was his only response.
Eventually the level of frustration was so-
That even I got tired of listening to myself
Sliding down the back of the bathroom door in tears
“You can’t go through life being nothing but a good…”

“Watch me.” He replied. And I did.

—–

Lazy Cyril

by Bruce Goodman

Now Cyril, you should be studying for your exams
and not sit around eating yams.
It’s driving me crazy that you are so lazy;
why can’t you be more like your sister, Maisie?
When you grow up and get married, I bet
you’ll get your wife to light your cigarette.
I shouldn’t have to articulate
that you need to motivate.
Get inspired by your sister rather
than obviously taking after your father
who is the laziest son-of-a-B
that nature ever could concei-
-ve. Frankly I’m at the end of my tether,
and you think that sitting around doing nothing makes you clever.
Maisie is an inspiration to us all,
and she’s already, at her young age, starting to be able to crawl.
And Auntie Doris, who frequently gets constipation,
should be another source of inspiration.

—–

Lazy Bart

by Michael B. Fishman

I knew this guy named Bart.
He was lazy, couldn’t get him to start.
To get him in motion,
without causing a commotion,
I walked by him and dropped a big fart.

—–

Lazy Johnny

by Michael B. Fishman

I knew this guy named Bart.
He was lazy, couldn’t get him to start.
To get him in motion,
without causing a commotion,
I walked by him and dropped a big fart.

—–

A Sloth Stuck In Tar

by Donna Matthews

I can’t even believe
your hebetude
All day long I grieve
You said you’d move
You said I’d approve
I dared you to prove true
But in my heart, I knew

Your lazy known to all
A sloth stuck in tar
Instead of stand, you crawl
But now it’s time to improve
From this, you’ll behoove
Let’s make a breakthrough
Find something to do
Please and thank you!

—–

Go to the Ant

by Ruth

Go to the ant, thou sluggard
Says the Proverbs of a holy book
So I went to the ant and asked
Why was I told to come here
The ant said, with a sneer 🐜
I don’t have time to talk,
Do you hear?
I walk miles to find food for my queen
And if I come back empty legged
She screams: “where have you been all day?”
I die after working hard for a few weeks
Who told you to come watch me?
I’ll not motivate you, you lazy scum
Because if I do you’ll die real soon.
Go home and drink some rum.
The end!

—–

Get out, don’t slouch

by Lisa Bradshaw

As she came out that one so fat
I said yes please don’t sit in that flat
You must get out and go for a run
You know out in the sun is so much fun
get out get out and move that wobble
run up and down on the cobble
I don’t want to see that dent in the couch
I’ve had enough of you being a slouch

—–

MOTIVATION ENOUGH

by mistermuse

Laziness is only resting before working makes you tired,
so I’m writing this short poem before I get inspired.
This example will serve to show that being lazy
can motivate a terrible poem before it drives you crazy.

—–

You’ve almost motivated me with your stories of laziness. I’ll post another prompt tomorrow; get around to it when you can and enter for next week’s glory and prizes.

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P’Arc: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

“I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.”

-Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Life’s Lessons Learned,” April 2007

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to The Terrible Poetry Contest, a family tradition since about thirteen weeks ago.

Writing poetry is a daunting idea. We get in the mood, think of a lyrical phrase, and then run up against a metaphorical wall mid-stanza. While I have written a how-to on composing poetry legitimately, that’s not what this contest is about.

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The Terrible Poetry Contest is a chance for writers of all shapes, sizes, and ability levels to make a rude literary gesture to all that is good and decent about proper writing and contests. It’s a chance to do everything your poetry teacher told you not to. It’s a chance to shine when other contest-hosters left you alone in the dark.

If this is your first time, review my how-to on terribleness so you know what to expect. Then, read the following rules and please, please, please share something truly terrible:

  1. Topic: Motivating Lazy People
  2. Keep the length between 5 and 150 words.
  3. Rhyme if you want to; don’t if you don’t feel like it.
  4. Just keep things terrible. Make your listeners finally get off their lazy backsides just to do anything besides sit through another stanza.
  5. Keep your poem PG at most.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (February 22, 2019) to submit a poem.

Post your poem in the submission form below, or include or link to it in the comments much farther below.

 

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Photo credit:
Ken Treloar
Tom Morel

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.

“And that is why we write.”

-Neil Gaiman, Newbery Medal acceptance speech for The Graveyard Book at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, July 12, 2009.

Time in a Bottle

“Step forward -that’s right! Now, grasp this sand -yes, in both hands. That’s right, sir.”

Wondering, he thrusts both hands forward. Sensing the weight against calloused palms it overflows, draining with the pull of gravity to spill upon his shoes, the floor, the table legs.

“That’s right: step forward to the table. Quickly, now! Choose which of these bottles in which to pour your sand.”

Gravity is cruel. It pulls more and more from his hands as he frantically searches for an identifier on the glass bottle fronts. Which is which? How will he know what he is choosing -!?

“Your time is running out and you cannot get more until tomorrow…”

A blue bottle catches his eye; a portly one which reminds him of a fat man. He leans and manages to dump a measure in, to a halfway point. -Not too much, though; what if he chose poorly?

“That’s it. Good. But what of the others? Do you wish to spend all day at that one?”

Probably not, he thinks, and thrusts toward the nearest bottles. A squat red jar, two narrow green-tinted vases, and a pinkish jug each receive a bottom’s full. The red jar’s neighbor, a dubious black container, accidentally receives a bit more than even the first.

“Hmmm…”

The booming tone frazzles his nerves, already high-strung from the continued loss of sifting hand-sand. With not much left, he jerks his cupped palms hither and thither. The table claims much if not most of what’s left. Ten random jars each carry a small dusting. He looks round; no one seems to be watching. Quickly, he gathers table sand and deposits it into a comely emerald urn. He dusts any lingering pieces from his fingers, his heart racing.

“Ah, I see you are done. Let’s see: Fortunately for you, your first choice was sleep. Some poor fool last hour completely neglected that one. Not a bad number in exercising, either. Work has even more than sleep; yes, this black one, here. I’m not sure how you’re going to feel much accomplishment from only a few grains in household upkeep, budgeting, personal hygiene, nor expenses. The fewest grains seem to be, here, in leisure….”

His hopes raised at the news of sleep; deflated somewhat at the exercise. He was just going to ask whether leisure might be a bit higher than budgeting when he notices a shadow frowning over the green urn.

“Hmmm. Odd. You’ve a fair bit in meals, here, but they’re not the best quality. It’s almost as though some other, older bits of grit are in here. …Perhaps the urn wasn’t quite cleaned -or the sand. Well, I’m afraid your nourishment will not be the best sort. At least you’ll have it though, eh? Not like that woman just yesterday…”

He watches in astonishment as arms wave over the table and every bit of sand within the containers rises into the air. They’re colored like the vases or jugs or urns they traveled from and dance in a dusty swirling cloud which follows the circling arms. The cloud condenses within the taskmaster’s shaping hands and resolves into parchment.

“Your day. You’ll see it has everything you chose. Now, take it and exit behind me through the large wooden doors. Move along, move along.”

He stumbles unsteadily out the exit indicated, an exit he swore was not there when he first entered the room with the pouring sand and the table. Between his careworn yet clean fingers he clenches his hard-won paper prize. From the closing door behind him calls the echoing voice again:

“Next! Now, don’t be shy -don’t be shy. Step forward, ma’am, and take your sand…”

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Who’s Driving?

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I was supremely confident as a child that I could drive a car. All I needed, I’d say, was the green flag from the government for seven-year-olds to operate a vehicle and I’d be off!

Oh, I had experience: My parents occasionally allowed me sit-on-their-lap steering privileges home from church on Sundays. And at fifteenish, I pulled a few turns unassisted in that same church parking lot.

Man, I was set!

By the age of nearly-sixteen, however, shift got real. My mother may have realized this, as I was enrolled in Driver’s Education at school and had grown tall enough to look her in the eye. One day she took me to a quiet neighborhood side street, steered herself for the worst, and told me we could switch places.

Even on the best of days (as in, post-op heavily-medicated) my mother does not handle other people driving. When my annoyingly patient and meticulous father is navigating the roads at a rate that would put a sloth to sleep, she’s frantically kicking the floor of the passenger side in phantom braking actions.

Turning the wheel fully over to me is on my mother’s list of Bravest Things She’s Ever Done.

For my part, I was counting on my first time driving as heading the list of Epic Life Adventures or Most Awesome Experiences Ever. Right? Instead, as I sat in front of the wheel completely on my own, I was gripped with terror. The awesome power of everything I was now in charge of washed over me and my mind blanked. My foot convulsed at the pedals the same way it did when I tried to navigate a sewing machine. The wheel was strangely hyper-sensitive. All of the cars parked calmly at the sides of the street were trying to leap out in front of me.

“I thought you knew how to drive!” My mother screamed as we jerked along and sashayed from right to left.

I thought I did, too, I told myself. I felt sad, confused, surprised, and hopeless. We pulled over and returned to our former roles. My confident plans of self-dependency and road freedomness dissolved forever. Maybe we should’ve used an automatic.

Luckily, my driving actually improved from there. I throw that out, in case anyone has determined to never set wheels on pavement when I’m out and about.

This morning, however, I was thinking about life. Specifically, if at all, I was pondering on my decades-long feeling of directionless discontent.

I kept thinking, Who’s driving, anyway?

I have been a stay-at-home mother for thirteen years, ever since being fired in the first trimester of my first pregnancy. I have felt motivated some days more than others. Lately, however, my life has felt completely out of my hands. My children cannot legally drive (yet), but I’ve put them and my husband in the front seat, crawled back over Cheerio crumbs and Hot Wheels cars to the dirty back of the car, and wondered why I keep getting car sick.

And yet, I don’t move.

What do I do?

Well… I pretend to be useful. I hand around a few snacks, break up fights, give the pretense of modeling good behavior, and pick up loose wrappers now and then. Oh, and sometimes I tell the person steering exactly what’s wrong with his driving.

As the tension in the car rises, I withdraw to less activity. I tell myself I am not sleepy when the suns sets over our dented hood, intentionally tiring myself to a state of drunken drowsiness when that same sun rises over that same hood. I eat the bad car snacks. I forget to shower at camp sites. I wonder why the floor cannot stay clean even though I’m snapping at everyone to please pick up your garbage!

Who’s driving, anyway?

Shortly after that first, fateful day at fifteen when my mother gave me full control, I attended the driving portion of Driver’s Ed at school. Perhaps because I was the tallest female, our instructor picked me for the first turn. I don’t learn well by going first; I’m an observer.

The rest of our small group piled into the small sedan, buckled for safety, and waited for me to start the engine. I gulped. I adjusted everything I could think to adjust: seatbelt, steering, seat, side mirrors, rearview mirror, headrest. We’d been walked through this in instructional videos during class, and I was determined to get all the steps right. Then, ignition -with foot on brake pedal, of course. My hands flew to 10 and 2 like boot camp soldiers. I looked forward through the windshield, and waited for whatever hell the instructor at my elbow would direct me through.

My turn didn’t last long then, either. Another boy in the class took over after a few blocks and did marvelously. He drove better than the instructor! It turned out that he’d been allowed to man tractors on his grandfather’s farm since thirteen years old. Cheater.

Who’s driving? Floats through my mind when I wake up and get ready for the children’s day. They need to dress for school, eat breakfast, sit up at the table, not punch their brothers, pick up their shoes, do their homework, eat right, not talk back, feel loved, and then understand that I am a person and I love their father and our relationship is the most important of all.

Yeah, we’ve been seeing a marriage counselor. She’s a good driver.

Who’s driving? My mind recalls the sappy Country Song “Jesus Take the Wheel.” That’s a subject for a few pages all its own, so I’ll summarize with: I may not be in a great place discontentedly backseat driving, but I trust that spot a lot more than the places He might take me.

I know others in a similar state. Their reactions have varied from meekly asking for a turn at steering, to pushing the special Eject button James Bond-style and parachuting irresponsibly to a new adventure.

I’d love to end this personal reflection with a determined statement; a wonderful aphorism on life to pass on. Unfortunately, all I’ve got are chocolate almonds, yesterday’s clothing, and criticisms.

Perhaps you know a good solution? Anything’s better than here.

Maybe.