My Happy Place Doesn’t Work

For most people, there are ups and downs.  There is anxiety, depression, happiness, and sadness.  That said, for most the feelings pass and they are able to find their way back to a positive mood.  For some, however, they get stuck in a low place, or slide into depression.  Working your way out of depression isn’t easy, and sometimes requires help, but it can be done.  The trick is to know the signs, and how to manage them.  The trouble is that you might be struggling to remember your name, and what’s important.  So how do you realize you are struggling with depression, and try to change it?  When you make it to your happy place and it no longer makes you happy, it’s time to step back, take inventory, and make changes.  

When working with people, I often hear that they no longer want to do things they enjoy.  They can’t concentrate, have little energy, can’t sleep, and are avoiding people they used to enjoy seeing.  These are all symptoms of depression.  All the symptoms put together, over time, reflect the need for more information or help.  If you have a cold, you know pretty quickly, because the symptoms are easy to identify.  You get a stuffy, runny nose.  You feel awful all over, and sometimes you have a fever.  You tend to feel it coming on, and because having a cold is so common, you know what to do.  The problem with depression is that sometimes it’s a slow decline, even over years.  There is no feeling it coming on because it hides well, and by the time you notice something is wrong, it’s really bad.

Sometimes depression comes on due to a loss, like a death or a divorce.  Sometimes it’s related to situations, like a relationship problem or issues at work.  It can be a feeling of being powerless, or it can relate to being abused.  If depression is related to a situation or a loss, as you get through, it can resolve and you can improve your mood.  The hope would be that as the situation resolves, things improve on their own,  but don’t give up if they don’t.  Everyone manages issues differently and getting to a safe place becomes important.  Finishing a divorce, managing grief, and working on situations become important to better understand what’s happening, but also to understand what your options are.

Defining your options can help you recover from depression, and develop skills to help it from happening again.  If it’s related to an event, processing the event becomes important but feeling sad is also important.  It’s part of the healing process.  Related to situations, depression can be a reason for change, or action.  Just like pain can signal the body to stop doing something, like touching a hot stove, depression can signal a change is needed to improve your quality of life.

Everyone goes through emotions, and depression can be a signal you need a change.  It needs to be acknowledged and processed to best determine the reason and options.  Some people can manage alone, but others need help.  If you need help, please get help.  Find someone to talk to that can listen and give you unbiased feedback and unconditional support.  Whether it’s a professional, a clergy person, or friend, get the support you need to process what’s happening and decide what to do.  People can recover from depression, and improve their quality of life.  You owe it to yourself to work on you, and work toward being happy, for life.