Depression

As a Hospice volunteer I visit a little old lady in a nursing home. One day I visited she was fast asleep. I took her hand because I didn’t want her to miss my visit, but she didn’t wake up. She was so peaceful there, lying with her little mouth wide open.

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We had agreed during my last visit that I would read the Bible to her, so I prayed and then just softly began to read Matthew for 45 minutes, all the while she lay sound asleep. I don’t know if she heard me or not, but the words calmed my soul in the process.

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It’s hard for me to make these visits, but I know it’s what God wants me to do. He wants me to bring joy into someone else’s life while I can sometimes find no joy in my own. The depression keeps me home, bored out of my mind, but it’s so hard to get up and go somewhere. I have to pray every day that God gets me out of the house, and with Hospice, I know they depend on me and that makes it easier to go.

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As I was talking with the staff after my visit, another little lady told me how pretty I was. That was so sweet it melted my heart.

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My own mother benefitted from Hospice and I feel like this is my way of giving back, just a little, for the good works they did with her and for my family after she passed. Giving back can also increase positive experiences in my life. DBT tells us to look at the short term by doing things we enjoy. We are to increase positive experiences by making changes in our lives so that positive experiences can occur more often.

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You’d think having a life of positive experiences would be a dream come true, but when you have depression, everything, even positive things, can be an effort. Some people might think that since I don’t work, my life must be filled with the things I want to do instead of things I have to do.

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What I read about depression is that it leads to inactivity and inactivity makes depression worse. This is why I make myself do things. If I don’t make myself, then I won’t get better, It’s a vicious cycle. Depression breeds inactivity and inactivity feeds depression. I am told not to wait until I feel motivated to do things, action is the key. By being active I will begin to feel motivated.

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Believe it or not, even watching TV can take effort. But I make myself get into a new series, so I will be motivated to watch more. And I know that by volunteering I am helping someone else too. I know I have to shower so I make myself do it. Isn’t is scary how depression could make it seem impossible to even take a shower- let alone put on makeup and do your hair?

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It’s a daily battle for me. I have to plan something to do and then I have to do it. Sometimes I have to just put one foot in front of the other. Even going to church is planned and sometimes I go-sometimes I don’t. My therapist tells me to schedule things. So I schedule that I’ll make pork chops tonight. I tell my husband I will and then I’m committed. So I do it.

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It seems so simple- but its hard. I pray every night that I will do something of meaning the next day. God answers me with something. Sometimes its just writing this book. Sometimes it’s going out to see my little lady. Jesus is with me on this path.

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I downloaded a workbook: SCDPAntidepressantSkills and I am working on the chapter called “Reactivating your Life.” It’s a self-care depression program that I hope will give me more skills in my toolbox. Right now, I am working on small steps toward the goal of reactivating my life. I know I just need to take that first step every day.

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