Beyond Blue

On Fridays I will address a question related to depression and find the answer from an expert. If you have a question you want answered, please ask it on the combox of this post, and I’ll try my best to do some research and feature it in an upcoming Friday post.

On the combox of my post “The Frog in the Pot: How Stress Creeps Up on Us,” Beyond Blue reader Kim wrote:

I am boiling and I can’t figure a way out of the pot! I can’t get rid of my kids, my grandmother, or my husband. Between all of them there is no time left for me to get a job or do anything too help financially. I feel like i’ve been screaming for help, but everyone just tells me what a great job I am doing. “You’re so strong… you can do it!” Guess what… I can’t. I’m going to lose it! Any suggestions?

Beyond Blue reader Pat responded beautifully when she wrote:

Dear Kim: You cannot do everything for everybody! I found that out the hard way. I was that person. My father was dying, my husband is disabled, I was working 12 hours a day at a job I hated and I was babysitting my granddaughter and doing all the housework and helping my son and daughter also. 

Guess what? I totally burned out and had to leave my job and take some time off for myself! I got into a terrific out-patient group therapy for six weeks. It helped tremendously. My therapist and doctor said that the human body can only take and so much. Then you get so overwhelmed and so stressed that you just quit working literally. Everything shuts down and you can do no more.

If you do not take care of yourself first, then you will be worthless for anyone else. No one can take care of you but you! Do it now! Take some time for yourself! Do things that are pleasurable. Some ideas:

* Take a long, hot bath with candles lit

* Take a walk

* Read a book

* Look at a candle long and hard

* Exercise by yourself 

* Do deep breathing exercises 

* Anything and everything that makes you happy 

* Listen to music

* Paint, draw or just write in a journal every day 

* Volunteer to do something nice for someone else worse off than you

* Call a friend

* Go out for coffee by yourself or with someone who understands and loves you.

I will pray for you and all the people who go through this every single day.

Thanks, Pat. Those are all great suggestions.

For the last month or so I’ve been brainstorming about how to reduce my stress, as well. It’s critical now to many of my health conditions. In fact, I feel pressured to relax … like if I don’t seriously chill out I’m headed for neurosurgery.

So I’ve been researching hiking trails, kayaking courses, biking routes. I have been looking up outdoor clubs online so that I can hook up with a group of campers and stay safe in a state park.

Eric saw how much work I was putting into relaxation and said, “You are approaching relaxation like it’s another work project. Don’t stress about de-stressing for crying out loud. Just do something you like.”

I switched gears and decided, instead of investing more time into researching the best hobby and how to do it the right way, to start small, like I do with every other overwhelming task.

For example, I was doing the laundry the other day … the windows were open and I could hear the birds. Miraculously, things were quiet downstairs: no one was ripping out the hair of another’s head or shouting “POOP” for all neighbors to hear, followed by loud laughing. And I took maybe three minutes and just laid there, on the bedroom floor, listening to the birds, and feeling the breeze.

I’m trying to do more that lately. To catch the small breaks in my day. Because I think that de-stressing might be a little like fishing: the more you try, the less you score. But if you just hang out, dangling your feet over the deck with a fishing rod in your hand, just might catch a biggie. Or at least a few small ones.

hitplogo.jpgFor more suggestions on how to leap out of the pot, visit Sharon Hoyle Weber’s website, She offers plenty of suggestions to get the hell out of your boiling water. 

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