I have suspected since I was a teen that I have some issues with depression. It became very certain to me last year when I found myself feeling really good with more energy to do things, engaging more in life and feeling really good about how I spent my time. As I looked back over the past several years, I could see that I had been in a down slump for so long that i did not realize how depressed I had been. The contrast of how wonderful I felt last fall, in my “upswing time” allowed me to see how low I had dipped into depression.
I do not speak of depression lightly.
Family History and OCD Defined:
There is a family history of depression, anxiety and Bipolar Disorder. All three of my children have different degrees and types of anxiety. One of my children is even on medication for what was a severe anxiety disorder, OCD. No, not the quirky anal version of what people think is “OCD” the adjective, (it is NOT an adjective), but the actual DSM* classification for the anxiety disorder: Obsessive Compulsive DISORDER. From the OCD Foundation website: “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior. OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values.”
I also have professional experience with Psychiatric Disorders. My education in Occupational Therapy involved an entire semester of classes related to psychiatric conditions as well as a level I clinic experience (once per week for a semester in a Psychiatric setting) and a Level II clinical (12 weeks at 5 days/ week, 40 hours per week in a psychiatric setting. I also worked a full-time summer job while in college at a state hospital children’s long-term care program. When I was in college, I planned to pursue working with children with social and emotional disorders. My career took a different path yet my personal life brought me back to this area with my own children.
Coping Strategies and Alternative Modalities
I have spent much of my adult life exploring spiritual learning, exploring my personal challenges affecting me emotionally and socially including attending 1:1 counseling, group treatment program and couples counseling, not to mention the self-help books and programs I have read, listened to and participated in. I have also explored alternative modalities including studying both EFT and Reike and attending level I and level II training in both. I participated in these trainings for my own personal development as well as to help my family. I also found much understanding and growth when reading the Conversation with God series of books and participating in live discussion groups. And I love receiving my daily inspiration messages from CWG and Neale Donald Walsch.
Maybe it was today’s inspiration message that inspired me to write this post:
Gina, I believe God wants you to know…
2 Day Retreat: rest, renew, refresh, recharge and write!
I created a Facebook Photo album for the event and made posts. Most of all I did a lot of writing. I believe the following 2 photos sum up the experience. The first was when I arrived at their house, taken in my car before I went into their house:
And the second just before I got in the car to head home:
When i look at the above pictures from my retreat, I see in the first picture, a tired yet relieved look. A look of “Finally, time to myself!” yet, tired from the process of making this trip happen including securing a friend to come watch my youngest child because my husband had a Sunday morning event. I had to pack- I don’t pack lightly especially for a special writing retreat in a near empty house. I was overdue for the trip. Arriving a little later than I had originally hoped, but still prior to lunch including a stop at the local grocery store to add a few specialty items for my renewal menu.
The second picture, I see a more energized and rested me. My eyes are more open, I am standing rather than sitting, even my hair looks more buoyant and full of life. I love how the first picture shows some sort of fuzz in my hair. My smile is similar in both yet I see a more forced tired smile in the first picture versus the more relaxed and natural smile with my left dimple showing only in the second. I was rested after two days and ready to return home to my family. I had planned a 5 day trip to the beach while on this 2 day retreat for myself and my family, something we had not done in three years despite owning a time share. I had much to look forward to.
As I write this post, listening to Pandora radio: Fleetwood Mac station. A favorite but seldom heard song is now playing.
I will let the lyrics of the song finish out this post as introduction to this series of blogs.
“Talk to Me” by Stevie Nicks. With the lyrics:
“A wound gets worse when it’s treated with neglect
Don’t turn around there’s nothing here to fear”
“Dusty words lying under carpets
Seldom heard well must you keep your secrets
Locked inside hidden safe from view
Well, is it all that hard
Is it all that tough
Well, I’ve shown you all my cards now isn’t that enough
You can hide your hurt
But, there’s something you can do”
“You can talk to me
You can set your secrets free, baby”
*”Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.”- American Psychiatric Association