Music and Depression

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CelticGradhaich
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Music and Depression

Postby CelticGradhaich » 05 Mar 2014, 04:22

The past 8 months I have not been on medication for my clinical depression. My husband and I are trying to have a baby and I couldn't take it once I am pregnant... so with my doctor's approval I weaned myself off. The first 6 months off I did really well, especially with all the stress of being a first year teacher. The past 2 months, however have been getting worse and worse. I went on a strong, aggressive approach to get into shape and that was helping. Walking 2-3 miles on a treadmill and then 4-6 miles on an elliptical really does a body good. Then I stress-fractured a meta tarsal in my left foot. At that point I had a really hard time fighting the black days. And let me tell you, there were a lot of them. Two weeks in a boot and only being able to lift weights (when the complex's gym is open) has not helped any. I'm in a boot for at least two more weeks.

Then I started randomly listening to some songs on my phone. I found about 3 specific songs that really bolstered my moods. This has been a perpetual life saver the past couple of weeks. I think my neighbors are plotting to shut me up with how much time I spend singing at the top of my lungs each night.

My question to all of you is: how do you fight off the black days? What works best for you? What has not worked so well?
~Celtic

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May the Goddess hold you in the palm of her gentle hands.

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Aphritha
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby Aphritha » 05 Mar 2014, 05:01

I'm really sorry you're going through all this. :( Music can be a booster, as you see. Just keep cycling songs and seeing which ones work for you. When I'm down, the only music that works for me is Green Day(no matter the era).
Sometimes when I'm down, I don't want someone to tell me to be positive, or to try to uplift me. I just want someone to agree with me that things at that moment suck, and I have every right to be sad. Perhaps its just a need to vent and be taken seriously. I'm not quite sure.
Boredom is a huge problem. I was recently pregnant, and the whole pregnancy was miserable for me because I had so many ill symptoms I was stuck laying down most of the time. I was bored and isolated, and felt absolutely useless. If you're struggling with depression, eliminating as much down time as you can might be a good idea, even if your 'activity' isn't so active. Its better than being stuck on your rump with too much time to contemplate. I ended up signing up for a give/take advice webpage...it made me feel useful again, even if all I could do was type up recommendations for strangers.
I hope you're able to find something that works for you. Good luck!


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illion
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby illion » 05 Mar 2014, 05:26

I am not actually having problems with real depressions, but I can have my black days when everything sucks.

To go for a walk in the woods is always making me feel better. I contemplate whatever bothers me on my way inwards. I rage and let all the negativity lose. If I find a lake or a wise old tree or a huge ant hill or whatever, it usually automatically changes my perspective and I feel at one with Nature. It is always boosting my energy. When I go out of the forest, I think of all the solutions, how things are going to get better, and what I am going to do to make that happen. When I reach my home, I feel as if a heavy burden has been taken off my shoulders.

When I am to crappy to live with, my husband says to me that I should get out to the trees and stay there for a loooong while :D

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Re: Music and Depression

Postby Brân Gannaid » 05 Mar 2014, 07:59

I notice that when I am very sick or badly injured, I sometimes feel blue. As a follow on to Aphritha's post, if people tell me to be positive, or try to uplift me, I find myself consciously avoiding them. I respond much better to empathy, such as agreeing that my situation must be challenging and just listening.

And any music with which I identify at the moment can be healing. In fact, I sometimes purposely listen to music about doom and despair, and eventually it may even start to seem funny. I find that playing music myself is very soothing, even if I'm not the world's greatest musician (which I'm not!). And singing is very cathartic, as you've already found.

I think it's just human to have bouts of the blues, and embracing the feelings and emotions helps me a lot more than denying them. I think a lot of people put on a front of everything is perfect--when it's not. I move through things much faster if I really own the emotions than if I either attempt to change or ignore them.

Sometimes reading something that moves me also helps. It can be poetry, a good fantasy novel, or anything that engages me in a way that pulls me in.
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DaRC
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby DaRC » 05 Mar 2014, 12:59

how do you fight off the black days? What works best for you? What has not worked so well?
I find doing something creative, for me writing poetry / stories, has a positive effect and can help with a particularly black mood. Riding my bike or going for a walk, usually these journeys I end up sitting with particular trees (I have my favourites...) who also help.
Additionally gardening, growing seeds, seeing flowers bloom and gathering the crops, is a longer term protection against it.

Just enjoying the moment when the black clouds have lifted, taking stock with a good perspective and storing that memory, that feeling for the bad days is a positive thing.

What doesn't work is putting too much pressure on myself to 'be successful' - i.e. getting really fit can be an emotionally dangerous thing requiring great mental strength, expecting wonderful poetry (perhaps it's inversley proportional to the cathartic properties of the poem) and becoming stressed when 'nature' (i.e. slugs, cold/hot weather, etc...) happens to my long protected seedlings etc....
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby xidia » 05 Mar 2014, 14:35

I've managed two winters off anti-depressants. There's good days and bad days but overall the things I need to keep in balance are:
  • enough exercise (I find heavy weights a meditative practice, as well as cycling/running)
  • enough sleep
  • not too much alcohol
  • sunlight (I have a full spectrum sun-lamp in my home office)
  • creating things (meals, knitting, crafting)
  • a good balance of social activities and alone time
  • cuddles/physical contact with people I care about
  • regular meditation as a relaxant
The exercise and sunlight help with serotonin, creating things helps with dopamine and cuddles help with oxytocin. Those are - for me - the three neurotransmitters I seem to be naturally deficient in, and thus the ones I have to work to boost to keep my mood stable. I'm pretty sure meditation plays in there somewhere as well but I've not done any research to find out which neurotransmitters it's targeting.

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Re: Music and Depression

Postby elementalheart » 05 Mar 2014, 17:24

I have to go outside when I feel like that, preferably a walk among trees but even on days when I physically can't walk to the woods or the loch I will get up and walk down the garden and back several times a day and even that can get things moving again. If you have been used to a lot of physical activity and then lose that through injury etc then you lose a key part of your capacity to literally walk things off/through, and it is very hard to live like that but any little bits you can do to move the body, even if you are booted and hobbled for a while, do that instead, I have used (very minor dip) squats when I am waiting for the kettle, arm rotations or lifting tins of chopped tomatoes to the side when I'm cooking, literally any kind of movement, however limited. And swimming has been a godsend for me, I have problems with ladders so can't pull out of a public pool unless it has shallow steps but having found somewhere I can go for half an hour a couple of times a week I've turned that into a very elementally focused meditation which I then come home and take into my other very limited mobility opportunity, writing! Strange as it may seem, the tapping of keys on my laptop helps keep my hands mobile and the writing of anything from outpourings of frustration to meditational pieces, just autowriting, no plan or plot or idea, just start and let it go as it wants to. I've done that for decades and it's where a lot of my emotional stress gets physically and emotionally processed now, given limited mobility.

Other than that I have some things like animal feeding that need a routine and I get out of bed to do them no matter whether I have to spend every other waking hour on the sofa in between in order to manage that. Gardening, tending/pruning the orchard trees, there is always some way of connecting to nature without hobbling far and I let myself sink into it and let go the worries as far as I can.

I used to listen to a lot of music, now I am pretty much happy in silence even if not happy as such! But there are pieces of classical music, folk music, rock music, "spiritual" pieces, choral music, you name it, in any genre I have something I could feel like playing for nostalgia, to help myself cry, or whatever it is. I have lively pieces to get me going if I need them but I can't dance around the room any more so they're less played.

Anything you can lose yourself in or move yourself by, but writing is my best non-walking/dancing method. Maybe worth a try but only if you can physically tap keys on a keyboard, it's partly about the movement and pressure that involves the body and the creativity together, or so I've found.
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby elementalheart » 05 Mar 2014, 17:28

PS anyone that tries to advise me to get a grip or that I need a hug or in any way tries to explain, direct or otherwise interfere in my process had best beware when I am in a mood like that. Being heard is amazing, being told how to fix ones problems, not so much - angry bear response likely :x 100% with you and Aphritha and others on that score, AND I can explain the psychological, psychotherapeutic and metaphysical rationale behind that, but not when I'm in it, then it's just :x
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby CelticGradhaich » 05 Mar 2014, 20:35

PS anyone that tries to advise me to get a grip or that I need a hug or in any way tries to explain, direct or otherwise interfere in my process had best beware when I am in a mood like that.
There have been so many times... *cough cough* ex-husband *cough cough cough* when I just wanted to scream because I was having people "rationalize" my feelings away. That is a HUGE thing. Those of us who suffer depression, on any scale just need to be listened to, or just need someone to BE there. Most do not want someone trying o tell them "why" and "how".

I do love nature. There is a park not too far away (I am a country girl stuck in a city-slicker world) that is very comforting for me. I miss my grandmother's property in Leasburg, TX. 15 acres of woodland that I could get lost in forever. Since she died and we no longer own the property, it has taken a large toll on me emotionally. Her death is what caused my depression to begin. Holding the hand of a dear loved one as the doctor pulls the plug on their life three days before Christmas... Yeah. Part of me doesn't know how I got through it.

Sometimes I imagine that I am walking down the property line where the creek slithered through... Just walking in the silence as the air ripples through the trees and I hear all the little critter scurrying through the under brush. I was there so many times as a child and a teenager that I think that place is branded onto my soul. It is where I first found my connection to the Mother Goddess and to Druidry.

I have found a lot of solitude lately planning my ritual for the equinox this month. It helps me to have a task. The placement of everything, the decisions on items and the search for what I want and need, have given me quite a bit of purpose.

I completely agree with Xidia. My husband holding me, just in a big hug is some of the best therapy I can get. :) I definitely am a person that needs interaction with others to help me pull away from the darkness.

I have a few meditation techniques that I have used throughout the years. I use them when I feel the pull to do so, but I think that I need to start making time for it on a more constant basis.

Wow, I just realized that my brain is ADHD today... Random thoughts all over the place.
~Celtic

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May the Goddess hold you in the palm of her gentle hands.

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Re: Music and Depression

Postby ShadowCat » 07 Mar 2014, 11:09

A wonderful thread. Life isn't all sunshine and daisies. Darkness and light are just two sides of the same coin.

I don't mind sometimes to just huddle in a corner until I feel like coming out again. If anyone approaches me in that mood I will just snarl and retreat.

Venting agressively also helps me, going to the local gunrange can be quit therapeutic. (Guns are severely restricted here, I don't own any of my own and just use theirs a few times a year at most). I love to take out my racing motorbike and tear up some bricks. Even though I don't considered myself suicidal at any dark moment in my life, there's just this feeling of being alive that you only get when scraping the very edge. With my bike, I have always some sense left (the sound of the wind in your ears does that) but I used to drive a BMW-sport-car for a year that I sold because I kept pushing things further and further as I got to know my ride better. Knowing that I was potentially endangering others on the road by pushing things way too far was unacceptable, so I got myself a nice sedate old SUV for a car. If I corner that anyway to hard, I'll park it on my wingmirror ;) And driving that is relaxing too. It just doesn't do "fast" so no need to bother and I can look around, sing along to some music and chill that way too.

On the other part of the activity spectrum, I can sit and watch my chickens go about their day for hours, watch clouds drift from horizon to horizon and just don't do anything at all. That too is a fine way of letting darkness dissolve.
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CelticGradhaich
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Re: Music and Depression

Postby CelticGradhaich » 08 Mar 2014, 04:36

...going to the local gunrange can be quit therapeutic.
I completely agree there. The gunrange is very theraputic! Unfortunately, time and money are always a problem there. Ammunition and the range fees can be killer.
~Celtic

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May the Goddess hold you in the palm of her gentle hands.

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Re: Music and Depression

Postby Fides » 22 Dec 2014, 14:53

There are some songs that perk me up and get me singing and upbeat, but by the same token there are others that i cannot shut off fast enough because they have the opposite affect.

Dealing with depression is not a fun thing. I have been dealing with it for a while now.

I wish you well.


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