I am walking through the supermarket just coming from the pharmacy, picking up four prescriptions – and two weren’t even ready – and I’m suddenly hit with this blow of depression. This is my life now: Lots of medications and depression that can’t seem to be fully treated.

But it only lasts a few seconds. I immediately bounce back using my coping skill learned over the last several years. I have continually been in counseling for about 10 years, and, while counseling definitely helps tremendously with depression, I learned my “tricks” on my own to get through my suffering that has been so prolonged. 

With my skills, I may experience depression and even suicidal thoughts, but I have learned some coping mechanisms to get me out of that place as a soon as possible.  The first I say very often, to myself and other people, especially when they say “I’m sorry” for what I am going through. it simply: “I count my blessings every day.”

I have a lot of blessings in my life, so it’s easy for me to say this phrase and retract myself from that deep, dark hole of depression.

How can I do this? Some of you might ask. It doesn’t take much effort. Simply think about or even write a list of the things for which you are grateful. It’s similar to a “Gratitude list” but for me, one I keep in my mind and give thanks to every day. 

What are the things I am grateful for? Caring friends, a good roof over my head, supportive family, my cats, my dog…. and every single little blessing that comes to me every day. I may struggle with depression. I may be on a lot of medication, which may not be so good for my body. I may be permanently disabled and unable to work.  I may sometimes struggle financially. BUT I am luckily, I am blessed, to have what I do have.  all these things above and more give me joy, comfort, and relieve anxiety.

10 years ago, I would’ve been very surprised at my list. I was more focused on my career, income dating, appearance….all sorts of things – furniture, clothing, jewelry, shoes; all these things that don’t matter in the big picture of life!

A helpful mantra I have for when I feel suicidal is “You’re not going to win.” whom am I speaking to? No one really. I just imagine that an evil force wants to bring me down, way down, but I won’t let it. It may seem silly, but it does help me. I guess it makes me feel like I have some control, that I don’t have to let depressions thick, dark and mud cover me completely to suffocate my spirit.

They say what doesn’t kill you stronger and I definitely believe that. To get through a dark tunnel (any kind of challenge), and find the light at its end, one becomes humbled and forced to consider what’s really important to them. For me, it was realizing that anything that could easily disappear or did not bring me great joy, such as material items, are not important to me and my happiness. my life and happiness does not depend on them. Even that, my life and happiness doesn’t depend on even many of my blessings, but I am very thankful for and recognize them. 

If we can’t be thankful for the good things God/the universe brings us, then life takes on a whole other meaning – a negative one I think. I believe it’s more difficult to live in that world. living the way I do is also a choice. I choose not to focus on the negatives and focus more on the positives. After all, I have very little control over my life and what happens to me. So, if I focus on things that are out of my control then my life would feel out of control and I would resort to hopelessness.

I’ve also learned a little “magic trick” that I want to share: when I put faith in the universe/God, miracles do happen; I am given blessings – or just what I need.  This happens every time I start to worry. I tell myself to just “let go,” stop worrying, and put my faith in a higher power that takes care of me.

What tricks or skills have you learned to help you get through depression or anxiety? I’d love to hear your comments!!