What is worst than death?  A few suggestions.  Living and dying at the same time.

Knowing you really do not care how you are spending most of your time.

Knowing deep inside your job is the wrong one and you refuse or are too scared to make any change.

There are too many unresolved conflicts in your life.

Your marriage is “dead” and you are “paralyzed”.

Each day is the same.

You no longer can see beauty.

All you can do is complain.

Money is more important than people.

Each day is not new and blends into each other and you wonder how you spent your time.

In fact, you have no idea where the time went.

Love just seems to be too idealistic.

You can not love or work.

All you feel is pain.

You can not get past your pain.

You forgot how to laugh.

Each day is not a new dawn.

You think you have to go to some far off exotic island, to escape, to enjoy your vacation.

You can not wait to do that.

All your friends have died.

You forgot how to be a friend.

This is just an incomplete list.

And I want to caution there is always two sides to everything.

And it is only my list.

Sometimes in the throes of depression all you can do is the next thing.  So that is what you focus on–the next thing that needs to be done in your life.  And sometimes when you do that–keep going to the next pressing task your depression will eventually lift.

Depression can be very selfish (and my intent is certainly not to make people who are in the midst of depression to feel guilty).  Nevertheless depression can numb you, prevent you from seeing very clearly and all you can do is to look at your life and deal with the next thing that has priority.  Then when you do the next thing another next thing shows up in your life.

Sometimes you are depressed because you are doing so little and doing the next thing will help eventually lift your depression.  Forcing yourself to physically move is a good thing whether or not you feel like it.

In the beginning it takes extra energy to get going.  Continually doing the next thing may get you going.  In the beginning it will take a bit of faith for you will not feel like moving.  Depression can be a deceiver.

If everyday you keep doing the next thing, before you know you will be more in control of your life and there will be less “loose ends”.  The advice from the Bible is very wise, ‘Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

Thank God For Habits

Author: siggy

Thanks God for habits.  I have been struggling with depression for a few weeks.  Thank God for habits.  Thank God that each day I have to get dressed, shaved, feed the pets, and I am sure this is an incomplete list.

There are tasks that have to be done every day despite how we feel.  These tasks that have to be performed every day prevent us from giving in to our feelings.  We absolutely have to do these daily things.

A job can be like that.  No matter how you feel you have to perform your job.  Depression can make you very self centered.  Tasks you have to do, that get you going and out of your self can be a good thing.  Thank God for habits.

I keep looking at that two inch diameter bird nest laying on the ledge just outside my front door.  I am awed at how perfectly round the inside of it was.  It had to be a hummingbird nest.  I found it lying on the middle of the road, having fallen from an overhanging tree.

Two or three hummingbirds frequent my feeder outside my living room window.  And they, too, awe me as they come to and fro my feeder.  There are so many birds that I love watching.  The hummingbird is one particular one.

The hummingbirds come regularly to sip on the nectar I have prepared for them.  Every two or three days I have to refill the feeder.  I never get tired watching their antics.  Sometimes one will come too close to another and one will chase the other away.

When I view that little nest every day, I no longer take the hummingbird for granted.  The nest I keep on the ledge is a daily reminder of their wonderous creation.

I was doing something this morning I was not looking forward to:  Replacing the urine stained newspaper and then getting rid of the poop in the dining room.  I simply did not want to this morning.  One of my dogs (we have four) still uses this room as a bathroom.

A little voice told me to thank God for doing that.  Most of my life I did not have pets.  I always wanted them although growing up my mother was simply too fastidious to even consider having them so I do not remember even asking her permission to have a pet.

The last twenty-two years I have had pets.  My two wives both loved dogs and cats.  So I decided to thank God for the task of picking up poop and handling soiled newspaper.

That is a small price to pay for the joy of having four dogs and eight cats.  Each pet has a different personality and are a joy to have.  All that is only by grace.  And cleaning up the dining room reminded me it is a privilege to have pets.  So thank you God for that!

I have to go back to my center:  gratitude.  I have been struggling for at least two weeks with depression.  Depression (or self-pity) is selfish and magnifies your self-importance.  It has its place but you should not linger too long there.

I need to thank God for every blessing — to have a sense of gratitude for my life.  Gratitude is my center.  I think less of me when I go back there.  There is so much I have to be thankful for.

Sitting in my driveway is our new used vehicle which was only possible to buy because my family (my two sisters and my aunt) contributed money toward a purchase of another car.

It is so easy to forget your blessings and get into a unforgiving cycle.  When you start thanking God for your every blessing, miracles happen.  You no longer have the luxury of wallowing in self-pity.

That is what I have to do today–keep returning to my center, develop a sense of gratitude for my every blessing.  Then depression just evaporates.

One of my new pups (she was two in July) has a new name “Wiggly”.  My daughter says you can not rename a pet but I did.  Her original name was “Coco” but I renamed her “Wiggly” because it was descriptive of her:  when she sees you, she wiggles in delight all over.

Her whole body is in motion and her black tail sweeps back and forth.  She will “attack” you and slobber all over you when she meets you.  She is female and completely black except for a splash of white under her throat.

She is a funny dog.  She likes her privacy and sometimes will spend most of her day outside.  Inside, she often goes off by herself and lays down on our bed.

She is a long haired dog with adorable fluffy ears.  She is very affectionate and can be quite insistent when she wants to go out.  “Wiggly” describes her to a tee and she is now responding to that name.

It is so easy to complain and see what is not done.  It is much harder to live with a spirit of gratitude and count your blessings.  It is the only way.

It is too easy to view your life and see what needs completing.  It may be a phone call that needs done or a floor that needs vacuuming.  It is more difficult to see the results of your labor.  The things that were completed.

Gratitude gives you a sense of what you need to thank God for.  There are so many things we take for granted:  our health, faithful mates, shelter.

Yes, work on the things that need done but at the same time thank God for your many blessings.  You will be much happier, as well as everyone else around you.  A spirit of gratitude is infectious.

Depression can be a result of one major event but often it is an accumulation of a series of unresolved small matters.  Tackle each matter you have some control of, step by step, and usually your depression will lift.  It might take awhile, hours, days and sometimes a few weeks.

Somehow you need to examine your life and see what is on the surface, see what is bothering you.  It is often an accumulation of many small things.  Each small matter that you can exert some or more control of the sooner your depression will lift.

In this state it is usually a good idea to baby yourself a bit.  Start doing things that usually give you pleasure.  In the beginning it may be hard to remember the things you did in the past that always gave you pleasure but start somehow.

Just be patient, your depression will probably lift given enough time.  Just start.  Obtain solace from the fact depressions usually are temporary:  they will lift but you have to exert the power or control in your life you can.  It just takes time and effort.

And remember in the beginning, it will take greater effort:  an object at rest to get going will take greater energy and once you get moving it will take less and less extra energy to keep going.  So be patient in the beginning with your inertia (your state of depression).  It will get easier and easier as your depression eases but you have to make a greater effort in the beginning.

And by no means am I am saying to forgo professional help if you need it.  It may mean being put on an anti-depressant to buy time while you learn better coping mechanisms.  There is never shame in seeking the help of a doctor or counseling or both if you can not come out of your depression by yourself.  You do not have to do it alone.

The best discoveries are always when you least expect them.  Today I was walking my dog and I picked something off the middle of the road.  It was a two inch diameter bird nest.  It had to have been built by a ruby-throat hummingbird:  it was so small.  Somehow it fell off the tree.  I had never seen such a small nest before.

Later on in the day, I was driving home after making my daily trek to the post office and a turkey hen and her nine babies passed in front of me to my amazement.  I stopped my car, mouth open, and let the baby turkeys pass.

I do not even know what turkey babies are called.  What was even more interesting to me was at least half of the babies were a different size:  she must have hatched half of her brood at a different time.  I had never seen baby wild turkeys before in my life.  You never know when the next discovery will come.  It is all serendipity.

I made several discoveries the last two weeks.  I accidentally discovered a large patch of wild raspberries on a large tract of land adjacent to our property.  My dog was sniffing around and I turned my head and there it was in plain view from the road.

I was not the only person picking berries there but I did not feel too guilty picking raspberries there.  It was not on my land but the neighbor opposite the patch did not own the land.  There was evidence there was someone else picking berries.  There were plenty to go around.

The patch was less than an hundred yards away.  I never noticed it before.  Last year I came across a large patch of raspberries on my property.  I had lived there for four years and did not notice or know it was there:  it was in the far right corner of my property–an area I usually do not frequent.

My wife had made already two raspberry pies.  I was taking them for granted.  If she makes another this time we will freeze it so we can eat it long after the raspberry season is over and maybe appreciate it more.

Today I spotted a large five inch box turtle sunning himself on the concrete in back of our house.  I left it alone.  I usually see one or two a year.  I wondered how old this turtle was.  I had no idea but I imagine it saw a few summers:  it was at least five inches long.

The discovery of the turtle made my day.  I kept checking on it and was hoping I could show it to my wife when she got up.  It was just another discovery that made life interesting.

Sharon, the waitress, at the local diner is more than a waitress.  I found out she has worked there more than twenty years.  It is her calling.  She has on-going relationships with her customers.

She knows I often take my toast and give it to my dogs.  Today she told me, “I do not give my dogs extra food for they get fat enough on just the dog food I feed them.”  Not her exact words but a good paraphrase.

She is there (in the diner) for the long haul.  She loves her job and lives nearby.  I found out today her squash is not doing well in her garden.  Their buds keep falling out prematurely.  Maybe there was too much rain the last four weeks.

I am not extravagant with my tips but I tip accordingly; I give her a decent tip depending on my order.  I want to let her know I appreciate her excellent service.

She is a one woman show, usually she is the only waitress on and there is one cook.  In the early morning sometimes the waitress does every thing including cooking.

I eavesdrop on the conversations at the nearby tables.  It is amazing sometimes what I overhear.  Sometimes I do not talk at all.  I always sit at the counter.  Once in awhile I get into a brief conversation if someone sits nearby.

I keep returning to the diner for the coffee is good, the price of the food is inexpensive and the hash browns are always tasty and I enjoy the brief contact with the waitresses.  My order is usually very simple.  Eggs up.  Once in awhile I order a glass of orange juice.

Of course I go to the trouble of learning all the different waitresses’ names.  There is nothing like a local diner to make you feel wanted and erase some of the loneliness of the morning.  My wife is never up at that hour.