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  • Dorothy Mackintosh


How do we live with depression?

For many of us, depression is an ongoing struggle that often feels like too much to deal with. The permanent cloud above our heads, the heavy, sad, all-encompassing feeling that never fully lifts can make our lives seem so much less than it should be. Then there’s that terrifying feeling when you wake up in the morning that something is wrong, that something bad happened and you can’t quite remember what it is. Add to that the anxiety that appears out of nowhere and ties us, frozen to the spot, stopping us from doing anything meaningful or useful. Our own brain tells us how useless we are, how stupid and lazy, and we have no vision left of what a happy life could look like. The perpetual cycle is exhausting. Maybe we don’t understand where it's coming from, many of us have good lives, minimal problems, and yet we still suffer. Or, we do understand where it comes from and have no idea how to live with it or heal it.

What can we do? Where can we go, who will listen and understand? The first step is always your Doctor. There are many great medications out there, and it may take time to find one that fits the bill. Many have unpleasant side effects and are worth persevering with if they help. Always ensure that you understand the potential side-effects so that you know what to do if you get them. The next step is to find a good psychologist or therapist who is able to listen to you without judgement. Working with a professional in an environment that feels safe, can really help to get some of those negative thoughts out of your head. Working together, you can explore and develop a healing plan that feels manageable.

In the context of art therapy, creating the depression with art materials can feel cathartic. Externalizing the depression allows you to address as it an entity outside of yourself instead of feeling the pain of it inside your heart. This isn’t an overnight cure, healing takes time and may not always feel good. However, with the right supportive and professional relationship, you may find relief and start to experience hope again. Finding ways to be creative, be it dancing, singing, making art, cooking, gardening, or writing allows our brain to become more balanced. Getting out in nature and doing some kind of exercise is fantastic for the depressed brain, as is surrounding ourselves with the right people. Self-care and self-compassion are key elements to start the healing process. Empathize with your inner self and always be kind…….........

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