When I was sixteen I started seeing a psychologist and she was great. She left the practice to be with her kids more and came back later. While she was gone I saw another great psychologist. They were both very important in the change that would be coming in my life. They taught me so much. One thing they had in common was what they called an emotional tool box. They taught me how to use mine.
I am Bipolar II, and as you might know that comes with worst episodes of depression then the manic episodes. That is why I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar disorder at first. My episodes of depression have always been worse. They have been my main focus for most of my life. They seem to consume everything. My emotional tool box helped me learn how to deal with them.
I learned how to tell when I am depressed. Not always right away, but I do know the signs and can spot them. I learned to tell the difference between situational and chemical depression. Once I knew which I was experiencing I knew which tools to use. If it was situational a funny movie or show to distract me. Listening to music. Talking to friends and family to work through what ever the problem was. Chemical is a lot harder and not as easy to get through. I am very lucky in the fact that I have always been a rational person. I’ve always been able to look at myself and see things how they are. This won’t work for everybody and it may only work for me. I remind myself that it is all in my head. That it is a episode that will pass. I just have to get through it. I remind myself when I think about wanting to die how selfish that is. That it will end my pain, but will cause my loved ones pain instead. I remind myself that I have lived through worse and I am still here. It is a constant dialogue in my head. It is kind of like talking someone down I guess, but you are doing it for yourself. I also share with someone what I am going through. It is normally one of my parents. I live alone so it is good to make someone aware I am in a bad place. They call and check on me. My Mom will stop by. I can’t stress enough how important it is to let someone in your life know that you are having a hard time.
These tools have helped me so much. I went from feeling helpless to feeling like I had some control in this mess. Those wonderful ladies gifted me with the tools that have gotten me through life. They are the ones to who taught me about this concept, but I’m the one who came up with the tools. They are all things I figured out on my own with guidance from them of course. Between these tools and the medication I was put on at the time I became me again. My personality was back. I was spending time with friends again, I started taking care of my neighbors kid after she got off the bus. She has become a great friend and a little sister to me. I started dating. I felt like I could breath again.
I had hope for the first time in so long. I want everyone to have that hope. To find themselves again. Start your tool box. Find the tools that will help you cope with your depression. Everyones tools are different. What works for me may not work for you. There is one thing I will tell you that you need most. Do not do it alone. You can do all the work, but let someone know you are suffering. A therapist, a friend, a spouse, or family member it doesn’t matter. Just don’t try to handle it all on your own. That is setting yourself up to fail, because being alone just makes the things in your head seem true.