Use these four strategies to overcome depression.
I have traumatic brain injury from past spousal abuse. Sometimes that causes me to make mistakes.
One day about three years ago I made what seemed to me to be a tiny mistake. I hung a piece of wet laundry in the wrong place. My husband reacted by saying to me, “I know why your ex-husband beat you up!”. His over-reaction to such a meaningless error hurt me too much emotionally to speak kindly at that moment. I just hugged him and walked away.
My husband is a Vietnam Veteran. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, dysthymia (chronic depression), coronary artery disease, pancreatic tumors, diabetes, carpal tunnel, diabetic neuropathy, and high blood pressure. I am a survivor of domestic violence. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, major depressive disorder, migraines, and more. You would think that it might difficult for us to live together peacefully, right? But, 99.00% of the time, we get along beautifully. People who see us together say we are appear as though we were meant to be together. And our four grown children agree. Because we share common values, we have found four ways to cope with our depression and other issues.
We touch each other as often as possible. We start each day by lying in bed holding each other. Throughout the day, we hug often. I also massage his, back, neck, and feet when he becomes irritable and at night when we go to bed.
Touch, especially massage, helps by lowering his blood pressure, improving our chronic conditions, causing our immune systems to function better, and lifting our spirits. The Touch Research Institute at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine has documented these benefits of touch through research.” The healing power of touch extends across the life span,” says the Institute’s Tiffany Field, Ph.D.,“from helping babies grow and children concentrate at school to decreasing chronic illnesses and disease.””
Immediately after getting out of bed each morning, we take our two small dogs for a walk. Exercise helps us manage our health issues, boost our energy levels, control our weight, sleep better, and improve our romantic life. Most importantly, exercise improves our mood.
We also love to spend time hiking, walking in nature. Walking outdoors, experiencing nature, decreases depressive symptoms.
I have been learning to play piano for the past year. I practice piano after we walk in the mornings and at intervals throughout the day. When I practice, we both decrease our depression symptoms. Listening to music significantly reduces depressive symptoms.
We share tons of love each day, We continually argue about who loves who more. The love we share greatly impacts our mental and physical health.
Our love for each other lowers our stress levels and our blood pressure, the speed at which our bodies heal, encourages us to maintain our preventative care, and discourages his unhealthy former habit of smoking. Washington Post Staff Writer Rachel Saslow described these benefits of love in her article “Health Benefits of falling and staying in love.”
But the most important thing love does is to heal us emotionally. Love has an immediate impact on our depressive symptoms.
Thomas Lewis, MD, Fari Amini, MD and Richard Lannon, MD, describe it in the following way: “Our nervous systems are not separate or self-contained. Beginning in earliest childhood, the areas of our brain identified as the limbic system (hippocampus, amygdala, anterior thalamic nuclei, and limbic cortex) is affected by those closest to us (limbic resonance). It synchronizes with them (limbic regulation) in a way that has profound implications for personality and lifelong emotional health.” “
Yes, we both take antidepressants daily. And, yes, we did spend a few months in counseling years ago. We learned how to communicate in spite of our depression and other issues. After we learned to communicate, we went home and learned how to show each other love.
My grandmother was definitely right about how to cope with any issue that arises in your life: Love your way through it. And, as the familiar song goes, love makes the world go round.