The caterpillar must seem very strange to anyone observing it for the very first time. An otherwise active, healthy, and always ambitious organism going into a complete depression for the sake of getting its wings. But the caterpillar doesn’t know that’s it’s getting wings. It’s completed overcome and bombarded by chemical signals that shut off its appetite and slow its activity all in preparation for an amazing metamorphosis. It cocoons itself away inside a chrysalis from the outside world and stays in almost complete inactivity for 4 to 5 weeks until slowing emerging into a completely different creature. I know the caterpillar must think to itself, what the heck is wrong with me!!? I’ve lost my appetite, I feel dejected and lethargic, depressed even. Im having mood swings and episodes, I’m exhausted and all I want to do is curl up and close off from everything. Have you ever felt like the caterpillar? Perhaps you too are ready for metamorphosis…
Mental Health is a very serious thing, I don’t mean to make light of it with the previous illustration. What I do want to do is shed light on the fact that so many of us don’t understand that depression can in fact be a Journey, not a debilitating illness that will plague us for the rest of our lives. Much like the caterpillar if we are disturbed and not supported while we transition, the impact could be deadly. We may not realize it at the time but many mood disorders are a biological function of the body, being unbalanced and searching for homeostasis again.
The spirit is disturbed and without harmony or balance it will shut down and need time to regain its vibration. Severe Clinical depression and suicidal thoughts, I do believe, often worsen because the environment for healing for many is not available.
If you find yourself in need of repair and reprieve then do yourself a favor and TAKE THE TIME YOU NEED! What about our responsibilities? We don’t have the luxury to curl up in the fetal position for 4 to 5 weeks. We often worry that jobs, relationships, communities and businesses will not be around when we get back. Let us take a page from the caterpillar’s book. The caterpillar PREPARES. In preparation for the journey it works hard and handles its business while times are good.
Now very few in today’s world can work a short time and save up money for an unexpected hiatus away from life as they know it, but we can prepare our minds and emotions and our time.
Here is a list of practical things you can do to prepare for a bout with depression….
1. When you’re feeling your best, BE at your best. Work hard, stay late, save your money and do for others.
2. Don’t waste unnecessary energy, focus on what matters and remember you’re preparing for a journey most won’t understand.
3. Communicate with others about your journey in preparation for what support you may need when you become depressed.
4. Write in a journal to your depressed self, let yourself know it’s just a phase, it will pass and remind yourself that at this moment you feel great and you are capable of happiness. Also use journals to chronicle triggers and patterns.
5. Anticipate the depression or mood change, as it starts in don’t waste energy fighting it, prepare yourself to endure it. Many times recognition and early discovery leads to early recovery from a bout of depression.
Exercise and get appropriate nutrition. Eating a balanced diet and keeping your body active helps keep your endocrine system balanced and healthy.
Grow to accept that bipolar mania and depression does not have to define you. Each day strive to work on yourself and prepare for when times get especially tricky. Take personal pride in your journey I know it’s not easy for some and for others the road can be downright unbearable or feel uncontrollable. Trust me though, with time and patience you will be able to understand, transition and believe that “you’re not crazy, you’re just ready to change…”