Most of you who have followed my blogs over the years know of my struggle with clinical depression. Most of you who knew me long before the blogs know I should have dealt with it LONG before I finally broke down and accepted help for it!
The important thing is that about four years ago I finally dealt with it. Anti-depressant, counseling, the whole kit and caboodle.
Over the years, I’ve developed a number of coping mechanisms that I can put into effect when I feel depression. Some are kept for days that I’m really in trouble because they’re the strongest lines of defense, such as when I get in the car and drive all day. (Now, I enjoy driving, so I do it even when I’m not critically depressed, so don’t assume every time I mention a drive here or on FB that I’m struggling.)
I wanted to share with you one of my tricks for days when the depression is starting to win and I know that I need to turn around the day. I hope that in sharing it I might be a help to someone else who is struggling with depression and despite therapy and anti-depressants still have those days when the giant monster seems to be winning the fight.
The trick? A shower.
Most people enjoy a good hot shower. It just makes you feel better most of the time. The feel of the water, the comfort of the heat, the smell of the body wash or shampoo. I know some say a good hot bath is the key…but it’s really a shower that’s the ticket. Here’s why…
When I get into the shower, I imagine that I’m covered in depression funk. Now, what does depression funk look like? In my case, it’s like being covered head to toe in tattoos of the New York Yankees, New York Mets, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. (Hey, I’m a fat guy but I’m working on it.) I look like that woman on the TV show “Blindspot.” I just felt the weight of the filth of having logos for those teams and drivers on me.
The difference between me and “Jane” from Blindspot is that my tats are just painted on versus hers where grandkids will be playing connect the dots on her torso when she’s 80.
So I step into the shower and wash my hair and face. I imagine the logos running off my face as I wash. Then the rest of the body…imagining as the soap suds run down that they’re taking those tattoos with them. The filth, the dirt, the depression….it all goes down my body and into the shower drain. I allow myself mentally to let go of the things that are attacking me and stealing my energy.
When I’m done with the washing part, and I’m completely clean, I spark good feelings by singing one of my crazy parodies of pop songs, like “I just met you….and this is crazy…..but I’m a dingo…..and I ate your baby!” Something that I know will make me smile or laugh.
Then I turn off the shower, dry off, and go back to face my day.
“Now Jason,” you may ask, “how does this work for someone who doesn’t work from home?”
Shower as soon as you get home. Imagine the day’s events on you and watch them wash away. Don’t let your night be ruined by the day’s events.
It’s not about needing it for hygiene. It’s about doing something out of routine to break the mental cycle that’s driving your depression.
“Some days I feel like I need more than one.”
I have on some days literally showered four times. But you know what? I’m still here. It worked.
I’m not saying this will work for everyone. I’ve tried things counselors have suggested that hasn’t worked. In some cases, it actually made the depression much worse. But for those that this will be effective, it’s another arrow in your quiver when you need to actively fight back against depression.
And always, if you feel it’s too much, seek help. When I finally did it, it transformed my life.