Living with stress and depression

Cameron isn’t keen on writing about depression anymore. Many readers found his regular posts on depression very helpful and some have mentioned they would like to see more posts on it as talking about it and sharing experiences can help. There are many articles on it on Whaleoil and if you are new to Whaleoil I suggest you type the key word depression into the white search function box at the top of the page in order to find and read over a decades worth of articles on the topic.

I have learned a lot about depression having experienced it myself and also living with a husband who suffers from it. Over the years we have both learned many tricks for dealing with both depression and stress. At the moment I cannot tell the difference between stress and depression. Fighting not one but a number of different legal battles is daunting. Legal battles where the person’s motivation is to bankrupt you and shut down your business causes high levels of stress and stress can lead to people committing suicide or can cause their bodies to develop cancer or other illnesses.

When Cam was seriously ill in bed for a month on morphine in December I was scared that it would be diagnosed as cancer. My biggest fear with all the stress we are facing every day right now is that one of us will be diagnosed with it. I have seen it happen to two other people. They were perfectly healthy then they were put under high levels of stress for a prolonged period of time and they then were diagnosed with cancer. Cam says you can’t kill weeds so I guess we will be okay.

Both Cam and I deal with depression every single day. It is a blanket over everything that we do. It saps our energy and most debilitating of all it affects our sleep. I have never been a morning person but these days I am waking up regularly at 5am in the morning and am unable to go back to sleep. My stupid body won’t allow me to get the sleep I need and I wake exhausted with no energy, surviving on coffee to function (Yay caffeine)

I don’t know if this is caused by stress or depression as I cannot tell the difference between the two as the side effects seem identical. But enough of the tough stuff let’s have a look at the techniques I use to get on with my day no matter how I am feeling.

  1. Don’t lie in bed thinking and worrying about what might happen. Get up, have a coffee and do something productive. Taking action and moving forward keeps your mind off the bad stuff and focusses you on positive action.
  2. Your family know you are struggling. Don’t suck up all their oxygen and deplete their energy. Make the effort to tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Thank them when they do nice things for you and do some nice things for them back. It is not hard to say positive things to others. It boosts them and it boosts you too when you see their reaction.
  3. Set yourself some goals and focus on achieving them. Keeping busy is essential to keep your mind from worrying about things. Increasing Whaleoil subscriptions is one of my goals. I can’t control what Colin Craig does to us but I can do all I can to increase Whaleoil’s revenue. It is a huge boost to me when I see subs increasing. I feel a huge sense of achievement from every single sign up.
  4. When you feel yourself about to tip over into tears, anger or when you feel physically ill from stress get outside or to the gym and exercise. Get the sunshine on your face and just walk. Even a short walk around the block will help reset you.
  5. NEVER ever talk about problems at bedtime. Cam and I have a solid rule about this and occasionally when we have broken it we both lived to regret it and failed to get to sleep.
  6. Don’t be afraid to shut down conversations that stress you out. I have a very dear friend who when I visited her on two occasions I ended up by the end of the visit literally throwing up. This was quite a few years ago. It hasn’t happened since because I now realise how she was unintentionally encouraging me to focus on all the things that I was not focussing on for my own mental well-being. She had been asking me lots of questions and within a few minutes of her drawing me out my temperature shot up and I felt ill. Looking back now I think it was some kind of a panic attack. Now I will simply say something like, ” I really don’t want to talk about that or think about that as it is too upsetting.”
  7. Don’t isolate yourself from your loved ones. You may think that they are better off away from you but you need them in your life. Just being around others helps. Think of them as emotional sunshine. I spend time with my parents every weekend even though part of me wants to pull the bed sheets over my head and lie in bed all day feeling sorry for myself. I never regret the time we spend together. They boost us and we boost them and we all joke and laugh and do things together.
  8. Realise the truth of the statement that ” this too will pass.” There is always an end to every situation. Over the years I have learned this. After the rain, there is always sunshine. There is a silver lining in every cloud. You just have to ride it out.
  9. Pick your battles. When you are dealing with serious stress or when you are depressed do not go on a diet or try to make changes that require energy. Go easy on yourself. When you are not sleeping well you will struggle to lose weight no matter how much you diet anyway. If food helps you to cope then enjoy it. You can always lose weight when the stress eases.

Sunny evening

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