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Old 09-13-2005, 04:17 PM   #1
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tkoval HB User
A little bit of hope goes a long way

"One evening when I was walking through the forest, I spotted a butterfly
struggling to emerge from its cocoon. Oh no, I thought, what if he's
stuck and he can't get out? So I took out my pocket knife and cut a slit
down the center, and out came a beautiful butterfly. I threw him into the
air, and he fell onto the ground. For without the necessary struggle, the blood did
not work its way into his wings and they were not made strong. Had I left
him alone, he would have overcome on his own." So why do bad things
happen to us, because they force us to grow stronger. This story makes
more sense to me now as time goes on. For my cocoon was an anxiety
disorder, panic attacks, and a serious case of depression. How am I
stronger? Because before this terrible condition came down upon me, I was
depressed and I was anxious, as I have been most of my life. But it was
the kind of depression and anxiety you can deal with. It's not a good
life like that, it's just existing really. They were problems I never
would have dealt with had things not happened the way they did. I probably would have continued my entire life feeling the same way, never knowing that there was something better out there, never seeking treatment or knowing that some simple changes in my life could result in such big improvements. For so long I failed to see the silver lining on this cloud, I saw nothing but tragedy. Why am I experiencing this, if only I could go back into the past and change this event that brought it all on. But because I was so
depressed, I was forced to seek out things that made me happy, as hard as that was. I found
exercise, that I didn't do before. And exercise, by the way, is one of the
best treatments for depression and anxiety. When I was at my worst, the only thing that made me feel better was riding my bike. I quit my job because things were so bad, so I had time, and I rode my bike for 8 or more hours a day. Hey, it helped! It was better than sitting alone in my room. It was good to get out of the house, experience the fresh air, the bright sun, and to eat at some new restaurants. And the exercise has been great for my body. I also started reading, which I
never did before. I discovered some new hobbies, golf, bonsai trees, karate, fishing among others. There are a lot of things in this world, find something you like. Before all of this, I don't think I had any hobbies, I couldn't have told you one thing that I liked to do. I discovered a
spiritual and religious side of my life that I never knew before, also one
of the most powerful therapies for depression and anxiety. Seek out your local church, even if you have never been religious before, like me. You'll find some friendly caring people there, and some powerful words of hope. I forced
myself to make new friends and to spend time with the ones I already had.
I forced myself to spend time with my family. And I discovered a
sincerity in me I did not know existed for I had been a very apathetic person. Helping other people less
fortunate than yourself can help your mood and make you happier than anything
else, not money or fame or anything. It's a real happiness, something you
feel deep inside, not just a shallow feeling that we get from buying a
porche. For instance, if I can help one person to get through what I went through... then my life has meaning to it. And I'm stronger now because I appreciate life. I'm no longer just existing. Even when I feel depressed or anxious, I'm thankful that it's not as bad as it used to be. Now, just feeling normal is something to celebrate. Being able to go to a restaurant without worrying about having a panic attack, or to the movies, everyday things are new and exciting to me. There are a million wonderful things in this world, as awful as it sometimes seems. Go discover something you never knew before. There's so much more to life than just watching tv and working. So why am I writing this. Because hope is incredibly important
when fighting depression and anxiety. For me, at the worst of my
condition, the only thing that brought me joy was reading the success
stories of other people who had gone through the same thing as me, and
knowing I could do the same. That was what kept me going, the knowledge that it would not last forever, that it could not last forever. The scariest, most depressing thought I had
was that I would never get better. That thought alone was what sometimes
brought on my anxiety and my depression. That is a terrible thought and you need to know
it's not true. Don't lose hope because as the doctors will tell you,
anxiety and depression are "highly treatable." Go to a therapist if you need to, they can help. Don't be embarassed about it. Therapy is very effective for both depression and anxiety. Now, am I out of the woods yet? Not completely. There are still times when I feel pretty bad. But the thing is, they're less frequent and less severe. More importantly though, is that I know it's possible to get better now, so it doesn't bother me as much. Now even when things get bad, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know that there's hope and it's incredibly inspiring. Each day since I've started to take an active role in recovery has been better than the one before it. So let me close with a few
other things I found helpful that maybe no one has told you about. Yoga,
for one, can be highly relaxing and satisfying. I've known a few other people who have found success with this. Acupuncture has been
PROVEN to work for depression and anxiety, and in many cases is as
effective as medication. I was very skeptical at first, and I've only just started treatment so I can't testify to its effectiveness. But I've read clinical studies that have shown it to work. How? I don't know, I don't care. If there's even a chance it can work, why not try it? Plus the man who does it is very interesting and kind, it's been a fun and interesting experience if nothing else. Also, don't be afraid of medication. Talk to your doctor or therapist. It can do a lot of good. I sometimes regret not starting medication earlier. Finally, a couple books, the only books I can
say actually changed my life. The Tao of Pooh, and The Te of Piglet both
by Benjamin Hoff. And the art of Happines by the Dalai Lama. The first two were my introduction into the philosophy of Taoism, very interesting and very helpful in my case. Also these books were fun to read and presented in a humorous way. There's nothing like a good laugh to brighten your mood. Good luck in your struggles, don't lose faith. There's a million things you can do to get better. I know it's hard to see that truth when you're in the midst of this, I know how bad it can be. But you have got to believe me, you will get better.

Last edited by tkoval; 09-13-2005 at 04:18 PM.

 
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