Wednesday, April 24, 2002

While I haven't put up a Theological Foray in a while, that doesn't mean your needs for teen-aged wisdom won't be met here. I've been thinking about depression lately. Like everyone else, I'm subject to fits of depression. It's certainly not clinical in my case, but I would imagine that introverts are generally more depressed than extroverts. Anyway, I'm not in a funk right now or anything, so the Zoloft For HokiePundit fund isn't currently accepting donations. Still, since I have my own blog and can post whatever I da*n (where *=r) (man, I'm a dork) well please, and that includes thoughts on how to cope with depression.
1. Stop dwelling on it. If you're depressed because a friend got hurt or Washington will never have a championship team an any sport ever again, that does no good. It's like crying over spilt milk. I know that you can't just flip the switch and start being happy or not thinking about it, but making the decision to try and find happiness is a good first step.
2. Appreciate the small things. Look outside. If it's sunny, go outside and bask. If it's raining, go outside and play in the puddles (a lot of people I know really like getting wet in the rain, and yes, I'm one of them). If it's just generally sucky outside, close your window and concentrate on what's around you. Did you get an email from a friend today? Did your team win their game? Were you mentioned by another blog? Are your favorite flowers in season? Did they serve corned beef at lunch today (mmm...yes they did!)?
3. Use things you don't understand. I don't know why, but songs like Soul to Squeeze, Short Skirt Long Jacket, and Wilderness always make me happy (as do the videos to Smooth Criminal and Clint Eastwood). I'm not saying to go shoot up or get drunk, but sometimes it does help just to sit down with ice cream and watch a good movie. A little bit of escapism used judiciously can be a good thing.
4. Recognize that some things just aren't going to break your way. The rain falls on both the righteous and the wicked. Personally, I find a lot of solace in my Christianity. I was fairly depressed in high school, and one day it occurred to me that all the Christians I knew were at least fairly happy (I think content is a better word to describe it, but I didn't realize it at the time). As I grew in my faith, it was like a burden was lifted (I know non-Christians don't understand, and I'm equally sure that the Faithful reading this are all nodding and thinking "yep, like a great weight has been removed"). Knowing that you're not the highest power, and thus that not everything that happens to you is your fault makes you incredibly free. As I said, I know this may not ring familiar, but I've found it to be true.

A lot of the time, being depressed and thinking about something is exactly what's keeping you from getting what you want. I remember thinking "why don't girls dig me?" and eventually realizing that who wants go to out with some guy who's only thinking about himself?

In short, to stop being depressed, it's useful to sometimes just psych yourself out of it. Act like you're happy, seek out things that are good, and you'll find yourself growing happier.

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