In the last few weeks I’ve held to the standard operating procedure for High School graduations, attend parties armed with congratulatory cards. I write a few household words of encouragement for guidance along the paths that now stretch before them. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” by Eleanor Roosevelt or “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” by Marc Anthony. My two cents “Your success in life hinges on developing resiliency, build it in every fiber of your being because you will fail, you will experience pain. If you build resilience now your suffering will be shortened, you will know that this, whatever it is you’re experiencing, to shall pass and continue forward on your path.”
I know this last part seems harsh, but let’s face it kids today have way too many options and a fair amount actions they take won’t work out, with relationships taking a big piece of that action. Now that Mom’s not cooking the four food groups any more, most young adults have fast food addictions and these pups have superman strong independence streaks that can lead to postponing asking for help and guidance when feeling down. Life can go down hill fast, think run away train when the brakes have failed, without the ability to bounce when bottoming out.
According to the World Health Organization depression and anxiety has increased in higher income countries such as the U.S. In 2011, 19.2% of U.S. citizens experiencing these feelings are at an average age of 22. My first thought was wow, that’s so young and then I remembered that at 21 I had a SCI and was depressed without sound coping skills in place and got stuck. Experiencing these feeling is common when disappointment takes place in our lives. What’s critical is developing the resiliency skills needed so depression doesn’t get stuck inside us, but moves through us and away.
I needed to understand what brought on my depression apart from my SCI and grasp that there wasn’t something wrong with me because I couldn’t dig myself out of this dark hole I was in. What I discovered was that concentrated and extended time under stress coupled with my short supply of grief and trauma management skills lead me down the path of crying the blues. Short periods of stress are a good thing, often manifesting conviction in us, but too much of a good thing, any good thing, can be very harmful.
When stress lingers too long in our bodies the stress hormone cortisol continues flowing, flooding our body with inflammation imbalances everywhere. Once this imbalance occurs blood vessels thicken affecting blood flow in our bodies and brains, immune function is jeopardized, skin repair and brain cells are compromised as well as blood pressure is elevated. Sleep and healing is interrupted, healthy eating patterns disappear as feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and isolation increase.
No one just snaps out of it. Recovering from depression and anxiety take awareness of the problem and effort. In the long run and it was a long run; I realized I needed support to construct the resiliency of a safe port during this tempest and for the next one. Months of psychological and physical therapy yielded capable acuity at recognizing stress building in my body and mind. Over time I developed diligent practices that have established my unbeatable resilience, oh sure I get down but I don’t stay down.
So what do I do that keeps me resilient when I'm bummed out and depression threatens? First I take time before the storm hits to meditate, deep breathe or sit in nature (it only takes 5 minutes), daily. I’ve gained a peace from these practices that sustain me in troubled waters. I keep with me the scents of rose, lemon, pine or nutmeg to calm and center my emotions when I am anxious. I have a practice of being mindful and choosing kindness in the words I speak to myself and to other people.
I eat food that is free of pesticides and full of color. Food is powerful and can used as medicine to keep our moods in check. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition there is a growing link between vitamin B complex deficiency and depression. Most convenience type food is devoid of B complex vitamins because it’s over processed. B complex vitamins (there are 8 vitamins in the complex) help improve neural function, convert food to energy, help form red blood cells, reduce stress and the risk of heart disease. Foods to eat for B’s are whole grains, green leafy vegetables and fish.
I know I’m going to fall short of my expectations sometimes and I will be let down by people in my life. That’s life! It’s my choice how I deal with the lay of the land and choose to bounce back up.
Blessings to All, In Joy Candace
© 2013 Candace Cable
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