Stats

An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression. One in ten Americans suffer from it. Over 80% of people that have symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any specific treatment for their depression. The number of patients diagnosed with depression increases 20% each year. People with depression often suffer from obesity, heart disease, stroke, lack of education, and less access to Medical Insurance. Individuals who are recently divorced or unemployed are more likely to suffer depression. Depression is most prevalent in people aged 45 – 64. Women are more likely to have depression. And finally, 1 in 10 women are likely to suffer depression weeks after having a baby.

Boy oh boy, I feel depressed just reading those statistics. Fortunately, 60 -80 % of depressed patients can be effectively treated with brief, structured forms of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. And because depression is now a global health issue, depression awareness, diagnosis, and treatment are matters of crucial significance in building a healthier, happier world.

Again, please if you are suffering from clinical depression, seek medical guidance. I am not a doctor and although my Life Warrior combat moves work for me, you may need further help. So please if that is you, get on the phone and call your doctor right now.

If you feel you are getting all you need from books and blogs like this; in other words if you have a mild form of depression and this is helping to alleviate it, then keep reading. Because I have noticed from friends and family members, that not all antidepressants are provided as a brief structured treatment. And psychotherapy does not seem to go hand in hand with medication. I have a family member who was prescribed strong antidepressants and was never asked any more questions after her initial visit. Her prescription kept getting refilled, and no psychotherapy or counseling occurred at all. I don’t think that’s so good. I went to a therapist after I got Bells Palsy, but I didn’t get any pills. I also struggled for years without getting medication, because my first experience with Valium was so bad. Friends and family tell me that the drugs they use today are much better. Although I have also been told that when a person comes off antidepressants, they must be very careful about how they come off them.

Sorry, I hope this is not getting you too depressed.

Today, is about you finding out about your depression. Do you need to get checked? Do you need support from the medical profession? How are you handling your depression? If you have any questions or concerns please get help. I have said this before and am repeating it because it is really important that you get the proper treatment. You can still read this blog even if you are on antidepressants and getting psychotherapy. The two are not mutually exclusive. So let’s see where you are and make sure you are getting the exact treatment you require. My friend this is a good thing. Many people suffer without needing to, and I don’t want you to be a statistic.

Fun

Are we having fun yet? Are you enjoying the combat moves to kick depression? I am. I am really enjoying writing about all the tools I use to kick depression. One of them is fun. Fun is enjoyment, amusement or light hearted pleasure. Light hearted is the key to having fun. It is not serious. But how can we have fun when we are depressed? It seems impossible. But fortunately it isn’t. Having fun can be as simple as throwing a packet of cereal into the shopping cart from the distance of a few feet.  Or, like my husband did when we were going through some revolving doors, stop the door from revolving. Of course you can’t really do that when there are other people around. But you get the point.

My granddaughter loves to have fun by hiding outside the bathroom door and nearly scaring me to death. Of course, I could be all uptight and depressing about it, and say, “Stop that you nearly gave me a heart attack!” But then, that wouldn’t be having fun would it!

Having fun can be a light-hearted game of cards, or swinging on the kids playground swing when no one is looking, or even when they are! Having fun is about wanting to be light hearted. For me it begins with a thought, “I want to have fun today.” It doesn’t mean that it has to go on and on and on. But a few bits of fun here and there throughout the day, make the whole day seem like it’s been fun.

You know how to have fun, so go for it today. Make someone laugh, make someone smile. Have fun and lighten up. Life is not so serious. Seriously, it isn’t.

Fitness

Having family members who tell you like it is can be refreshing. So when my daughter came home tonight and said, “Mom you have to come to the Zumba class tomorrow. It is so much fun.

” I said, “Maybe.”

“Mom we are fat.” Okay I thought, where is this going. “I’m carrying an extra 50 pounds around.” And she lifted up a small cart that her son plays in, “It’s like carrying this around every day.” Then she said, “There are people in the class older than you and they are slim and really fit.” Then she went down and did some pushups on her knees. “One of them was older than you and she was doing full on pushups. I was behind her and her bottom was really firm, her legs and arms were buff!” I nodded thinking about my own meagre muscles. “I don’t think getting old is about age, these women are older than me and they really seem young. It’s not about age.” She repeated.

So tomorrow I am going to Zumba. I admit I have let myself go a bit. Too much cake, chocolate and ice-cream and not enough walking or going to the gym. And I love that my daughter cares enough about me to invite me to go with her. It will be fun. I’ve exercised enough in my life to know that it is fun. Over the years I’ve played tennis, squash, badminton, scuba’ d, parachuted, wind surfed, run, skied, water skied, boated, ridden horses and those are just the things I can remember. I actually love to exercise; I have just gotten out of the habit. The wonderful thing about being fit however is that the moment you step inside a gym, or onto a court, or into the swimming pool you immediately feel the benefit.

Exercise increases the amount of oxygen that goes into your blood system. It gets all your pumps working properly. It actually gives you more energy. So today, find something that will keep you fit. It could be a walk, a jog or going to the gym. It really doesn’t matter what it is. If possible, find a partner to go with. I usually exercise alone, so I am excited to go with a partner. Hey if you can’t find a physical partner today, I’ll go with you. Every time I exercise I will be thinking of you and all the millions of other people who are keeping fit. Have a fun workout and enjoy the benefits of being healthy.

Title

I told a friend that I was writing this book and she asked, What is the title? I told her, Life Warrior—365 combat moves to kick depression. She looked away for a moment and said, I always think of Mother Theresa who said she wouldn’t join a protest against war! When there’s a protest for peace I’ll come along. Then my friend added, Your title just seems too harsh. When I was depressed I kind of gave up resisting and went with the flow.

I answered her, For me depression was a battle. I fought very day. If I gave into it, I wouldn’t be here now. Today, I use strong powerful tools to combat it. Depression may seem like it’s just sadness, or a lack of vitality, but the definition of depression is severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.

Mother Theresa chose an arduous and difficult mission, to work in the slums of Calcutta. She founded the Missionaries of Charity and as her mission grew more difficult she wrote, There is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. It has been like this more or less from the time I started the work. In my heart there is no faith—no love—no trust—there is so much pain—the pain of longing, the pain of not being wanted. I want God with all the powers of my soul—and yet there between us—there is terrible separation. I don’t pray any longer.

Yet she kept trying to pray: I want to speak—yet nothing comes—I find no words to express the depths of the darkness. In spite of it all—I am His little one—I love Him…. Eventually, she grew accustomed to her condition and wrote: I do not know how deeper will this trial go—how much pain and suffering it will bring to me. This does not worry me anymore. I leave this to Him as I leave everything else…there is such a deep loneliness in my heart that I cannot express it. I want it to be like this for as long as He wants it.

I am definitely not there; Some days I have faith, but not that much. For me, depression is a battle to be fought. It has a stickiness to it that clings like a dark shadow. So I stick with the title of this book. Life Warrior—365 combat moves to kick depression.

Think about whether the direction of this blog is working for you? Are you finding any kind of peace as you follow the suggestions? Are you feeling that it is helpful—because if not, then stop reading. No need to continue on a journey that is not working. But if it is working for you and you feel that your are learning combat moves to kick depression then continue reading.

Breathe, smile and breathe some more. Breathing is key. It is the spiritual link between you and God. Good. I am glad you are still here with me. I would have missed you a great deal if you had stopped reading. So welcome back, I’m glad you are here.

God

I struggled with faith for years and years. People I admired were atheists, and others had faith. Both sides had a good story about why they believed or didn’t believe. Finally it was up to me to decide. I started to read the bible; and the one thing that helped was the fact that love is so highly honored. 1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love. That’s what turned me towards having faith and believing more in God than not in God.

But it wasn’t just that—it was because without faith—for me, life is depressing. Without a supreme being to pray to, or a great spirit to thank, life is depressing. Just me, and just you? No higher power to believe in? Of course it is wholly possible that there is no God, and while I am okay with that, having a belief in a living creator makes me feel less alone.

I am not a Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Muslim or any other kind of religion. I have tried temples and churches, I have been a board member of a Unitarian Church. I studied in a 2-year seminary and was ordained a swami. But in the end, I realized that religion is not for me. It is more the spirituality of God that I enjoy. I love the fact that there could be someone out there who loves me just as I am. I also love what people who believe in God write.

There are some wonderful poems, such as this one by Marianne Williamson: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness That most frightens us. We ask ourselves Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small Does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking So that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, As children do.
We were born to make manifest The glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.

I have learned that poem by heart, and I enjoy reciting it to myself when I feel down. It reminds me that I am a child of God and that makes me feel less vulnerable and alone.

So no matter whether you believe in God or not—you may find it useful to find some higher power to believe in. Today, become aware of your belief. Do you have faith in something bigger than yourself? Do you pray to God in times of worry, but not in normal times? If you do not believe in God, what do you use to get you through the tough times? Have a think about it, and be prepared to look at things differently. Some of our greatest minds, and even cynics have believed in a higher power. Not all of them could be wrong!

Break

It takes work checking out your body and how you were feeling. It takes discipline and courage. Many people who are prone to depression don’t want to check on themselves. They prefer to let things be. The problem with that, is that when we just let things be we fall into lethargy. A kind of stupor and we feel exhausted just from not doing anything.

However, today is about taking a break. You have worked hard. You may not have followed all the days, in fact, I don’t expect you to. When I read a blog like this, I usually find one or two things that compel me to do them, and other things just don’t resonate with me. And that is perfectly fine. Life is not a test. This is not a score board. There are no winners and losers in life; just people doing things. People taking action or people not taking action. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you feel. How you feel about you. How you feel about your life.

When I suffer from depression, I feel that I am wasting my life. Like I was meant to do something but I didn’t know what. I would even ask friends and family members, “What do you think I am supposed to do? What do you think is my purpose?” And of course no one can answer that. My family would try to boost me up by saying things like, “You are amazing. You can do anything you set your mind to. You are a powerful woman.”

But you know how it is—if something doesn’t resonate, it doesn’t mean much. So today is about you taking a break. Giving yourself a break. You have read this far, you have allowed healing words to penetrate your mind, body and spirit—you are already doing the work.

Everything begins with awareness. You being aware and willing to read this blog tells me that you are already changing from a depressed person to a person of vitality. And today it is time to take a break from thinking and doing.

Today is your day. What would you like to do? You can do anything within your world that is possible. Make it a great day. Your life, your choice, your world. My friend, today make a positive choice to have wonderful moments and I will too.

A Beautiful Flower

A Beautiful Flower

Check

How are you doing? Are you feeling okay? I hope so. I hope you are realizing that you have a wonderful opportunity to make a positive difference in the world. I believe that every time someone who is depressed turns the corner and becomes less depressed, more passionate about their life, and create vitality in their environment, I believe that is a huge win. What do I mean by that? It means that you have created positive energy. You can make a check against ‘job well done’.

So this is a check in for you. I want you to sit for a moment and consider how you feel. When we are depressed we don’t really want to do that. It is easier just to do nothing, than to sit and actually check out how you feel. I am talking about pains and aches you may have, or a feeling of bliss and ease. Start with the top of your head. How does your hair feel? Does it feel washed and clean? If not that is a check against “need to wash my hair.” How does your face feel? The skin on your face? Does that feel clean and fresh. If not, make a check against, “need to clean my face and put some moisturizing cream on it.”

If you have put a check mark against those two things,  then you most likely have not brushed your teeth. So let’s put a check mark against that. Moving down your body, how does your heart feel? Do you realize how amazing your heart is? It pumps a huge amount of blood around your body every minute of every day. It works away at oxygenating your blood, and pumping it to every part of your body that needs blood. It is an amazing thing—your heart. And it is yours. Yours to have and to hold and keep forever. How does it feel? Send it some loving thoughts right now as you are sitting here with me. It sounds corny, but you can say to your heart, “Thank you heart for keeping me alive. I haven’t always given you the attention you deserve, but I really thank you today, and I will send you loving thoughts so that you know I appreciate you.”

I know, if this were on Saturday Night Live, it would make a fabulously funny skit. But don’t worry, no one is watching. This is just you and me. It’s our secret that we talk to our hearts and send them loving thoughts. Next go down your body in your mind, and think about your stomach and your colon. How are they feeling? I know that when I eat ice-cream or too much fried food I am putting a lot of strain on my system. Then I have to reach for some antacid medicine—and I don’t want to do that anymore; it doesn’t feel good, in fact sometimes it is downright painful. So how are you treating your food system? Are you chewing your food well before you swallow? Are you feeding yourself lots of good, nourishing food. Eating your veggies and fruit? Good. And if not, don’t worry, just put a mental check mark against, ‘want to put healthy food into my system.’

What about your shoulders and arms? Do you have arms? I met a young girl who was a keynote speaker and she was born without arms. She was one of the happiest people I know. She used her feet as her hands and overcame every problem she had. How are your arms and hands? Do you know how blessed you are to have them? I hope so—we can do so much good with our hands. We can make things, heal things and be really creative—what a boon!

What about your reproductive system? I don’t want to get into sex today, we will cover that another day; but are you taking care of yourself in that region? Are you enjoying love-making with a special partner? If not, do not worry; many people don’t need to have sexual relationships—it’s not an unhealthy or a healthy thing. I just want to make sure that you are feeling good about yourself in every department. If you are rarely touched; you may want to try a massage. It feels great and it helps overcome feelings of embarrassment about our bodies.

Go further down your body to your legs and feet. Do you have any? Again, I am amazed at how young men and women cope without legs. Have you seen people play basketball and play extreme sports without legs? So if you have a pair of them and a pair of feet, you may want to be thankful right now. They take you places, they stand, they sit, they lie down, they will keep on walking until they can walk no longer. If you haven’t taken a walk recently, put a check against, ‘will take a nice long walk.’ Your legs will thank you for it. If you can’t take a walk for whatever reason, then stretch whatever part of your body you can stretch.

So that’s it for today. Whatever you felt when your checked your body, do something about it today. Get washed, showered and take a walk if you can. Treat your body well and you will enjoy the benefits for years to come. And do not worry if you cannot do everything today. You know where you are and what you need to do. You are amazing and you will do exactly what you need to do to create a combat move to kick depression. You are a life warrior my friend. Never forget that.

Going for a lovely walk

Going for a lovely walk