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The Black Lagoon

"I just came out of the Black Lagoon. When thinking about life remember this:

no amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety

can change the future.”

Well, you'd think I would have committed this thought to memory or maybe I should have it tattooed on my arm! Because when I'm seriously depressed - which happens to me all too often - the main problem is that I forget this altogether.

One week ago, I found myself so distraught that I was crying on the bus on the way to work - a real first for me in levels of misery! And now I'm feeling fine - thank God for the miracles of pharmaceuticals to help lift some of us out of what I like to call the "Black Lagoon."

You might have heard the expression "avoid thinking of the wreckage of the past." Well I can outdo even that when I'm depressed...I live also in thinking of the "wreckage of the future!"

I imagine, in my all too active imagination, I worry about sitting in a gloomy room with a hotplate in my retirement or I'm sure I'm going to be fired imminently. Then there's the guilt of the past, when I contemplate all the mistakes I have made and decide I've been a total failure in life.

What makes all of this depression problem so ironic is that I have actually written a book called: The Ten Mind Traps of Depression: A Hurt in Your Soul and How to Heal It. An advice/self-help book on lifting yourself out of depression. But, during my own, I am actually too tired, drained and discouraged to read my book or take my own advice!

Julie, a dear friend of mine and my prayer partner, kept reminding me that I should bury my nose in this book, but I honestly couldn't take off the time from my worrying to do so!

I share all of this because I think there's still a lot of stigma around depression - even in my own mind! I like to think of myself as an upbeat, optimistic and cheery person. But I have this other side, that is usually triggered by real events or circumstances, that is indicative of a chemical imbalance and a hereditary illness, no different from diabetes or lupus.

Since I'm a person who is totally committed to the mind/body connection, I have tried to control my illness with every technique in the world: meditation, prayer, exercise...years ago, I even took swimming lessons to help me avoid the black cloud of depression!

But for me - and I can only talk here for myself - I have to see God in that anti-depressant pill as well as my psychopharmacist instead of guilting myself out that I am not strong enough, tough enough, or smart enough to outrun this illness and the "dark curtain" when it descends.

So I totally empathize with you and feel your pain if you are currently in a depression or have experienced one. As my friend, Easter, reminded me: no one can understand either depression or chronic pain unless they've actually experienced it. (Except for my best friend, Carol, who seems to understand this illness and what I need to do when it kicks in better than I do!)

For me, depression is not just a feeling of sadness; it's an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, despair and separation from God, as well as gratitude, and a total focus on

fear, gloom and doom.

Let me, dear God, remember the following when I have another bout (which, unfortunately I probably will

with my genetic make up):

"You woke up every morning last year

ALIVE! That alone made it a good year."

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