I’ve long suffered from depression. I was first diagnosed with it at age three. When I have a depression attack it’s as though someone is crushing my spirit. I get a headache and my thoughts becomes dark. I can only see my faults and failings, I second-guess myself and others and I become hypersensitive to rejection and to feeling left out. My thinking gets fuzzy and unclear and I have to push myself to accomplish anything.
It’s been said an episode of depression is akin to being “in the jaws of the black dogs.” I like the analogy that depressed thoughts are weeds in the garden of your brain and its cognition and you have to be vigilant about weeding them out because the distorted thoughts will otherwise take over. The idea that you can remove the weeds is comforting because during a depression attack I feel powerless and overwhelmed.
Something that is helping me right now is yoga breathing. I worked with a yoga teacher for several weeks and she taught me to focus on my breath and count breaths. She also loaned me a terrific book, Yoga for Depression by Amy Weintraub. Even if I don’t perform all the yoga poses I could, focusing on breathing, especially slow and deep breathing, seems to make a difference. It’s as though I’m breathing the depression right out of me.