How to Combat Depression

Depression. Even the word is depressing. Depression is a huge and dangerous idea, it can encompass such a large canvas of feelings, it can make it hard to know where to start. Depression can be feeling down or alone for no reason. It can be that feeling your lost. It can be the feelings of guilt for surviving. It can be the feeling of desensitization, the loss of all feeling, that numbness. It can be the loss in desire to continue to move, breathe, and live. Depression is an incredibly slippery slope, if its given an inch it will take a mile.

Signs of depression can be overt or covert. You can be openly sad and tired. You can also find yourself drinking a lot or lashing out. Depression will catch you in the weak moment and snatch the wind out of your lungs. And when that moment hits, what do you do? Do you succumb to it and curl into a little ball and weep quietly to yourself… HELL NO! You find the little inner drill-sergeant. That deep driving voice that tells you to get up and move, suck it up princess its just another day. You rationalize that there is no reason at all to feel this way or to drink this whiskey and you get up or put the glass down.

Remember you are a veteran or have lived with a vet long enough to have earned your damn stripes and its time to stand and face the storm. You don’t crumple or falter, slip or stumble. There is noone on this planet that can break you, not even yourself and quite frankly you aren’t allowed to give up. Too many good men and women, friends… family gave their lives so that you could have yours. The least you could do is learn how live life to the fullest in their honor. Your life is no longer just yours, its about making good on the lives lost and making an impact on the life still here with us.

Depression can take a long walk off a tall cliff as far as I am concerned.

How to fight in a practical sense: Step 1- Admit you are feeling depressed. Step 2- rationalize that there is no reason to feel this way, no true at the moment reason. Step-3 Force yourself to smile, there is an endorphin trigger attached to your motor neurons in your face, when you smile you actually force yourself to be happy. Step 4 – Go get some sun Vitamin D is made by your body when it interacts with the sunlight this has a huge impact on your brain. Step 5- Find a project or a task to focus your energy on- homework, house work, exercise, blogs, anything really. Step 6- Lock up the fire water (alcohol) thats only going to make it worse, and this will help you not self-medicate. Step 7- Tell someone how you are feeling, if they are worth a damn they will hold you accountable for your actions and keep your ass in line.

When you are feeling like this, it is not the time to try and fix it. You are in a compromised position and need to move or reinforce your fighting position before tangling with the demons in your memory. Remember to reach out to people and to also give yourself a big kick in the ass and get moving. If you give depression and inch it will take a mile, give it a mile, and it just might take your life. Never let it get there, people are always out here ready to help and listen.


One response to “How to Combat Depression

  • Sgt Harper

    Kudos to you for tackling such an unwieldy enemy. The one thing I would add to your words of wisdom is to take the time to realize, getting over PTSD and depression is a process, not an event. None of us will wake up one day and say, “That’s it! I’m good”

    Just dealing with our fellow human beings, the challenges of our jobs and families, not to mention the myriad of bureauocracies we have to navigate to get our needs meet takes a constant reinforcement of our defenses, as you so aptly put it. Take solace in the fact you are still connected with a fairly large UNIT, and can call in for reinforcements when you need it.

    Giving a name to our enemy gives us power over it, and having the self-awareness and insight to realize when we are suffering from bouts of depression is every bit as healthy and natural as checking the color of our pee to make sure we aren’t dehydrated.

    semper gumby,

    -G Harper/Sgt/USMC/0311

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