Have you ever said to yourself ‘come on, just snap out of it?’. I have. I say it every now and then, or words to the same effect, but if you’re anything like me, the words themselves seem to have little to no effect in the moment.
Having being challenged by and overcome depression and anxiety for over 20 years, I can sincerely say that this and other phrases, said by either myself to myself, or said by others to try to help me, create no lasting helpful foundation to setting a person free from their ‘bad or hyper’ moods.
But is it the words that create the shift? I don’t think so. I’m still trying to sort out how to consistently create that shift when I begin to feel ‘off’ my game and there are good days and bad days, truth be told.
What I do think, is that somewhere along the line, between the point of conscious decision to set ones’ self free and actually feeling that freedom, there is a shift. For those of you who are right into the mechanics of the brain, it seems there is a chemical imbalance that occurs that needs to be rectified. Having lived for 3 years on chemical mood stabilisers, I am well aware of the side effects of these drugs as well as the positive and negative impact they have upon your mood.
There is a certain necessity to help create this ‘shift’ but I am not convinced that it needs to be forced by either ‘telling ones’ self to get into line’ or by using chemicals to cause the imbalance to be stabilised.
And perhaps a bigger question is this: is there a natural time frame in which a person’s psyche can actually re-stabilise itself, when given permission to take that time? And are we forcing a ‘mood shift’ because it’s the best thing for the person or because it’s the best thing for those around them? Hmm…perhaps these questions are for another day 😀
Having been ‘drug free’ for nearly 10 years now, I can also say that there are other ways in which to re-stabilise one’s mood. Of course, my personal conviction is that spending time with God, allowing him to show me my true identity and letting his love wash over me on a regular basis, has been the best and most long-lasting ‘therapy’ I have encountered. And I have tried a few! However I have also found cognitive therapy to be a very stable and productive way to assist a person struggling with moving into a more positive mindset but this kind of help is usually reserved for people who are having a consistent battle with stabilising their moods. Ultimately how each person learns to deal with serious mood imbalances is a very personal journey and there are many ways in which to find relief and resolve.
These days, I would classify myself as someone who is free from anxiety and depression and the stranglehold that it had over my life. I am not living with my head in the clouds however. I realise that every now and then, I succumb to thought processes that despite my best efforts unravel my capacity to overcome and I become overcome. But days like these are now few and far between and so like most people, I would say I fit into the ‘normal’ category, alongside those who just have the occasional down day or week and somehow find the light at the end of the tunnel 😀
So how do I transition from unstable moods to stable moods these days? Well I look at how others have done it. King David, well-known for his emotional outpouring of his heart, says in the Psalms, ‘My soul will magnify the Lord’ and many other phrases, often telling his soul to be still, to be courageous, to stand up, etc. He is clearly doing what we all do – telling himself to ‘shift gears’ so to speak. Often his writing begins with the ‘woe is me’ stuff and a fair bit of whining can ensue! But he always comes around, changing his focus and shifting his eyes (his focus) back to his God.
I believe that the first step is to recognise that we are having a moment. Or a day. Or even a season. Acknowledging how you feel makes you feel very vulnerable however the empowerment that can flow from that initial acknowledgement is outstanding.
Accepting that I need help (and of course whatever help you end up choosing is an individual opinion) is paramount to opening myself up to the realisation that 1. I am not perfect, 2. I am in need and there is a way to get help, and 3. I am not alone. This realisation, for me, is the first step toward progress because it allows me the permission to seek help and get better.
As to the journey that follows, well I can only speak to my own experiences and say that it has been a long one but a progressive one. But it didn’t begin until I let myself become vulnerable and acknowledge that I was in need of help. From that point on, despite some setbacks, I can honestly say it’s been a continual move forward.
Ultimately, I am of course just sharing my heart about getting out of that rut that we all find ourselves in sometimes. I’m no psychologist or expert in clinical things or even in offering therapy to others. I’m still learning, still growing, still pushing road blocks out of my way. It’s a daily process. I’ll be doing this the rest of my life. I’m ok with that 🙂
I hope that my thoughts give you some feeling of encouragement and connection today. Know that you are not alone. Know that you have permission to acknowledge where you are at right now and if you are having some kind of struggle, be it just a bad day or a consistent season of imbalance in how you feel, go and speak to someone. I promise it will help. Better still, look up, look to God and give him the opportunity to take your burdens and set you free. It sure did the trick for me 😀
In love and honour,