Recently I have found myself deep in depression after my sister died of cancer. I know there was nothing I could have done – yet, knowing is far from believing. I keep reminding myself that I need to accept the fact, still I am unable to let go and forgive myself. A few years ago, I suggested 7 tips on how to deal with depression, but here I am trying to motivate myself to visit the 7 tips.
Lest you think I am on a lost cause or course, not actually, because here I am writing this blog after a two-week blankness. I am actually coming out of the doldrums. What has helped me is the very first point on my 7 tips: Positive influence, or surrounding oneself with positive people, or positive connections.
I begin every week with volunteer work at a local church, teaming up with other volunteers to prepare and serve breakfast to our neighbors in need. Yes, Monday morning at 5:30 we are in aprons, in the kitchen, being creative about making the best breakfast. We serve, we sit down with our guests, share a devotion, then we clean up. The experience is totally uplifting, fabulous, and propels us through the week. And we look forward to teaming up again.
The fundamental and overriding principle here is that, as Brene Brown puts it in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, as human beings, we are wired for connection. Whatever situation we may be in, good or bad, afflicted or thriving, we are meant to be connected. We draw strength from one another. Connection is the primary resource in all situations and circumstances.
Most of us know this, yet, often times there is the temptation to go it alone. As with all “how-to” strategies, knowing how does not always translate into success because – again as Brene Brown points out – there are things that get in the way, for example, trust issues, shame, vulnerability, and so on.
I am personally blessed, in this regard, with a PCP who is more than just my physician. It’s just one example. I am able to talk to her about my depression, and she is empathic with a listening ear and sharing encouragement. Connections come in many different ways if you are open to seize the opportunity.