THE BLOG

Baby Steps to Confuse/Defuse Depression

19/01/2015 15:49 GMT | Updated 21/03/2015 09:59 GMT

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Excerpt from

Black Dawg

  • So when Dawg calls and You climb the Walls
  • Like trying to swim Niagara Falls
  • You Slump or Crouch and can't Stand Tall
  • Here's what to Do, a Battle Call
  • You Spiral Down into Depression
  • Now Spiral Up and learn a Lesson
  • How to Fight Back, How to Cope
  • How to Manage,
  • How to Hope
  • How to Smile without a reason
  • Do You need one, Answer, No

Now I know you would rather stink up the bed day after day, with your foul mood polluting everything in the vicinity and beyond if you could manage that extra effort. You have heard all the stock and supposedly helpful advice. Exercise. Pah. Eat healthy. Yuck. Have a bath. Eughhh. Pull yourself together. You WHAT! But I'm depressed, you say, I CAN'T do anything at all. Well yes and no. Always remember that Depression is lying to you constantly about what you can or can't do. These are Baby Steps for confronting, distracting and confusing the Big D and in the process give you some measure of comfort. That's all we want at this stage, just a little bit of old fashioned comfort from the nagging, nagging, nagging. Under full blown Depression you will of course want to do none of these but if you can recognise the signs of an oncoming episode these tips could ward it off, with a bit of effort.

First off, before we start anything:

Have a cup of hot water with slices of fresh lemon with a touch of honey first thing in the morning. The results of this sluicing around your system are too many to mention but suffice to say it preps the body for the day. It's a subtle kickstart as it cleanses and clears the body of toxicity. Also drink plenty of water throughout the day, hydrate the brain, maybe drown out some insidious thoughts.

Ping Pong

I'm not suggesting anything too radical, hence baby steps gagagoogoo....come along now, I'll hold your hand. Firstly at No 1 we have ping pong which believe or not, though perceived as a somewhat frivolous sport for people with too much time on their hands is quite an energetic work out. Perfect for the bedbound enthusiast. C'mon just one game you might say and before you know it are in an epic five set battle sweating profusely, laughing involuntarily at that latest scuffed, fluffed, smashed, spinned backhand/forehand masterstroke. Not to mention all that exercise, bending and stretching and fetching the ball. Subtle huh.

Gardening

Now gardening is a different case altogether, the idea being that observing Mother Nature in all its wondrous glory, the flower and the fauna will transport you a few stations away from Depression Central. That's as maybe, but more likely than not you could point yourself in the direction of the weeds and tug and pull on those bastards to your hearts content, sweating and swearing and in process forgetting the Big D for just a few moments. The pleasure in a weeded garden could be minute or major, just do it then decide.

Lying under a tree (Forest Therapy)

Forest therapy is an exact science in Japan, where else, not Milton Keynes that's for sure and before you poo-poo the idea as a tree hugging fallacy, I suggest you try it. Certain trees do have the ability to absorb negative energy and put out good energy. Just lie on your back under one that's taken your fancy (fnaar, fnaar) looking up through its swaying branches and try and clear your mind and breathe deeply and slowly. Ahhhh so much better than a sweaty bed, I hope.

Looking after baby

I have an energetic four year old and when she was younger and her Mother was at work I was presented with looking after her for eight hour stretches. Cue panic. It actually went so smoothly because the focus was all on her and her needs and if I felt an episode of Big D coming on, my brain actually said no room right now we're off bug hunting or leaf collecting. A lot less cerebrally challenging that's for sure and quite therapeutic.

Listening to someone else's problems

Big D is a selfish, selfish, selfish condition. Oh, woe is me, me, me. However, you could be in the throes of this when some other selfish bugger wants to unburden THEIR problems onto YOU and wants your advice too boot. So you have to stop what you are doing, which let's face it isn't much, and address their needs and give appropriate solutions/commiserations/grunts. This does have the effect of diluting your Depression if only for a short while. Helping others ain't too bad in the grand scheme of things and helps build up some credits in the Good Karma Bank. Kerching!

Stroking /Hugging

Stroke a cat, stroke a dog, stroke the missus, stroke a sheepskin rug, stroke a policeman, no edit that, but you get my drift. In our house every time Match of the Day (football for those who don't know) comes on my other half gets a massage as a conciliatory gesture which is suitably becalming for both parties usually until Norwich City highlights appear. It is then that mild Depression usually rears its ugly head. Damn, where's that cat again?

Cold shower

If you are brave a full blown cold shower is a great wake up call to the body. We all know how sluggish we can get in the morning and even if not Depressed this shock to the system gets the old ticker ticking and blood flowing. If nothing else it gives Depression a mighty kick up the arse, Brrrrrrrr, so you can get your own back if only for a few wet moments. If you are a tad timid go gradually from hot to cold for the last few minutes and then....

30 second shake

A thirty second shakedown should come naturally after a cold shower and all you do is let all your limbs go slack and shake it, baby, shake it. Wobble those legs, stomach, neck. etc. Keep it up because thirty seconds is quite a while and you will feel light headed and quite giddy and best of all the Big D will be more confused than you by this hectic activity, WTF,and first thing in the morning at that.

Watch a fire.

Could be tricky if you have central heating but building and starting a fire and staring at it for a few short hours is so pleasant, tapping into that primeval caveman/woman in all of us. Stare at the flames, what shapes do you see, poke it with a stick, throw a log on and now tell me that doesn't feel better. Now put some Arthur Brown on the stereo and dance around naked. Oh well, that bit doesn't work for everyone!

Wear yellow

Wear yellow. Wear red. Wear purple. Just take off that comforting black ensemble for one day and put on something bright, it will ever so slightly make you feel a bit better. No need to advertise Big D inwardly and outwardly now is there.

Drumming

Heading back to primeval territory, banging on a drum, picking out a rhythm within a drum workshop with other fellow bashers is great therapy. It concentrates the mind to focus on the rhythm and also the power of the beat. Adrenalin flows, energy flies back and forth between the participants and the vibrations are wholly positive. Meanwhile from the depths, Big D " I can't hear myself think with all this racket". . Snigger, snigger.

Screens

Stay away from them, for just a while, no news is good news, go for a walk instead. Don't get sucked in to horrific headlines, latest atrocities, foul weather reports. Switch off and head out.

One Step at a time

Walk with no purpose in mind, just one foot in front of the other. Janet Street-Porter once left her marital home, after a final argument with her husband, with just a rucksack on her back. She said she ended up walking 100 miles over four days, staying at B and B's and friend's houses on the way and that after the four days she was totally over that man. Drastic? Yes. Worthwhile sore feet to clear the head? Oh, yes. Would you do that? Probably not, but you get my drift.

Peter Kay

A bit of a laugh never goes amiss, even though it could be forced through gritted teeth, its still a laugh. For me Peter Kays' sketch about misheard song lyrics cracks me up each time eg: We are Family - Sister Sledge, he hears the lyric as " Its time to staple the vicar" and the audience is practically wetting themselves. From thereon in its impossible not to hear the song again without that phrase. I'm sure you all have your own personal "Peter Kay" you can turn to in times of smile deprivation.

Jigsaw Puzzles ( 3-6 year standard)

Don't want to tax your brain too much on this one, the trick is to distract depression, so an easy jigsaw played with a child preferably. You might look slightly deranged to friends and family doing a kid's jigsaw over and over again by yourself, so definitely with a child is recommended. Then you become doting and not dotty, big difference.

So there we have it, small baby steps, no running up hills or on treadmills just simple day-to-day exercises for the Sluggish at Heart. I know its all an effort but the most strenuous item on here is only a simple game of ping pong, so come on, best of five, your serve.