Tuesday, January 4, 2011

down in the dumps

The holiday season is winding down, the decorations are being dismantled and we find ourselves nesting in our little corners of the world.  The extreme measure of being constantly on the go, eating, drinking and trying to be merry can bring an enormous crash to our bodies and minds.  Sometimes we feel a huge let down. It is a fact that most people suffer from deeper depression at this time of year. 

happy: glad, joyous, satisfied, pleased

depressed: dejected, weaken, sadden, hollow

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)  known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year, experience depressive symptoms in the winter or, less frequently, in the summer, spring or autumn, repeatedly, year after year.  SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is a specifier of major depression. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change.  They may sleep too  much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed.  Though symptoms may be severe, they usually clear up."  There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, antidepressent medicine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ionized-air administration, and carefully timed supplemention of the hormone melatonin.  I know quite a few people that frequent tanning salons and they insist it helps get them out of the dumps. 
Those who are clinically depressed, also known as major depressive disorder, can find it challenging to manage because your symptoms may not be limited to just one episode and may return without an appropriate treatment plan.  Symptoms that remain after initial antidepressant treatment are know as unresolved symptoms.  According to the DSM-IV, a medical reference commonly used by health care professionals to aid in diagnosis, a major depressive episode consists of many of the following symptoms, occurring nearly every day for at least two weeks.  This is a serious condition and should be monitored and treated by professionals.

Depressed mood most of the day; feeling sad or empty, tearful

Significant loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable

Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain; decrease or increase in appetite

Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

Agitation; or slowing down of thoughts and reduction of physical movements

Fatigue or loss of energy

Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

Poor concentration or having difficulty making decisions

Thinking about death or suicide

It is important that you openly share your feelings with your health care professional.

For almost every worldly source of happiness, there is a fear-based reason to worry.  We may have incredible children, but a day doesn't go by that we're not concerned about their welfare for one reason or another.  The very fact that we love our children so much, and taking into account all the danger in the world,  is enough to keep any parent anxious.  We may have a great career, but the pressures are intense.  We may have wonderful relationships, but people are still people.  We may have a lovely home but there are big responsibilities to that one, too.
Children are happy because they don't yet have a file in their minds called all the things that could go wrong.  They don't have a mind-set that puts things to fear before things to love.  Unless we can be like little children, we can't enter into the kingdom of heaven; unless we can be like little children, we can't be happy.  Children are happy because they don't have all the facts yet.  Facts are what we must completely let go of if we want to be happy.  We must decide to fly above the turmoil if we really want to fly above it.  We must ignore, maturely not immaturely, a whole realm of so-called meaning.  As long as our self-identification centers around what we call the real world, no profound happiness is possible.  Happiness requires that we give up a worldly attachment to things.  We have to surrender all outcomes. 
In order to be happy, we must become bigger than the worldly self.  It is a challenge to do this.  Just as children play games in which they pretend to be adults, we must pretend to be angelic, noble, enlightened spirits just visiting here, in order to actually become them.  Prayer may be the source to help us.

prayer for happiness

Dear God,

Please make me a force for Good.
Remove from my awareness all thoughts that keep me bound here. 
Every goal I surrender to You.
All agendas I surrender to You.
All I have and all I am I give to You.
I ask only to be carried in Your arms that I might
know the joy of full surrender.
May I not be tempted to think about meaningless
things and give them weight and suffer thereby.
Please send Your spirit to lift me up, above the pain and
turmoil of this world.
Please give me new youth,
and a free and joyful spirit.
Show the the happiness of full forgiveness.
Whomever I do not forgive, dear Lord, please show me how,
for I wish to be free of the guilt of this world.
Dear God, please make me happy.
I am ready to outgrow my childish pain.  Amen.

prayer for depression

Dear God,

I feel such pain, anxiety and depression.
I know this is not Your will for me, and yet my
mind is held in chains by fear and paranoia.
I surrender my life, right now, to You.
Take the entire mess, all of it,
now too complicated to explain to anyone
but known by You in each detail.
Do what I cannot do.
Lift me up.
Give me a new chance.
Show me a new light.
Make me a new person.
Dear God, this depression frightens me.
Dear God, bring me peace.  Amen.

prayer for the soul

Dear God,

On this day I ask for new life.
I ask to be reborn in spirit and mind.
I choose to consider as possible,
through the grace of God,
the total transformation
of my mind and body.
The mystical nature of who I really am
is known to You, dear God,
but not to me.
Let me see revealed the depth and power
of my true Self.  Amen.

prayer for empowerment

Dear God,

May I be pregnant with the expression of a new being:
Someone more magnificent than I have ever been;
More powerful than I have ever been;
Healthier than I have ever been;
More alive that I have ever been;
More at cause than I have ever been;
More tender than I have ever been;
More compassionate and merciful than I have ever been;
More full of love than I have ever been;
More tolerant, less judgmental than I have every been;
More at one with myself and all others;
More close to You, dear Lord, than I have ever been.  Amen.

Everyone has their moments when they get the blues, but if you feel you are overwhelmed with a severe case of being down in the dumps, I strongly urge you to consult a professional for support and medical assistance.  If you have the occasional case of wah wahs, try taking a walk, even if it's cold, just to invigorate your muscles.  Get a relaxation massage - touch is powerful!  Peppermint is an uplifting scent and lavender is soothing - get essential oils or burn candles with these scents.  Perform a random act of kindness.  Most times when we feel withdrawn and focus on ourselves, the simple act of doing something for another helps to forget about our own issues.  This will pass.  Take control, empower yourself.  Embrace God's healing love. 

don't worry, be happy   :)   xo

My sincere gratitude to Marianne Williamson for your enlightment and illumination.