326 Days ’til 40: Beating the Blues

01 Apr

We have all had our moments – those moments of depression and despair, the blahs and the blues.  The World Health Organization estimates that 121 million people worldwide have depression.  Clearly, you are not alone.  Yet, when in the midst of depression it is easy to feel as though you are alone – maybe not alone in your depression, but alone in the world.

Depression is common, which says a lot about the way we as humans react to the pressures we experience in the world today.  The pressures and demands are great and it is hard to keep up – physically and emotionally.  It is normal to experience frustration and depression when we feel like we can no longer cope with all that is happening in our immediate environment and the world around us.

The larger question is, “What do we do to help ourselves feel better?”  The first step is to try to define your depression, or blues.  What do you believe may be the underlying cause:

  • Inadequacies
  • Job Stress
  • Relationship Stress
  • Sleep deprivation (this can cause depression and also can be a symptom or effect of depression)
  • Biological Basis (chemical imbalance, need for serotonin, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression, anxiety disorders, etc.)
  • Financial Woes
  • Life Cycle Stressors (weddings, funerals, divorce, communions, etc.)
  • General Malaise for no apparent reason

It is critical to attempt to understand the underlying cause of your blues, as the cause will help determine the best way for you to beat your blues.  For example, if you are worried about inadequacies or need strategies to cope with job or relationship stressors, a life coach or therapist may be able to meet with you for a few sessions to provide some coaching in these areas, along with concrete problem solving strategies.  If your depression is sleep deprivation, you may want to consult with a sleep clinic in order to understand the causes of your sleep issues.  I know many people who find their quality of life instantly improves when their sleep disorders are resolved.

If you have a biological basis for your blues, you may need to be evaluated for medication in order to correct a biological imbalance you were probably born with.  This correction can bring about almost instant relief for individuals who need it.

If your depression is caused by financial concerns, meeting with a financial planner may help you to feel more in control of your financial status and assist you with the process of getting back on your feet and managing to plan for your present and your future.

If planning a major life event (such as a wedding) is getting you down, it is good to take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass! I always try to tell people that their wedding day is supposed to be for them, fun, and not a stress- inducing event, but so often the weddings seem to be more for the guests than the betrothed, and the stress seems to end the day after the wedding is over.

If you have had a tough life stressor, such as divorce or death of a loved one, it may help you to consult with a grief counselor in order to work through the pain of the loss.  I know many people who benefitted greatly from even one or two sessions with someone experienced in explaining the stages of grief we go through and how to work through them in a healthy way.

Finally, if you are feeling depressed for a reason you do not understand, it is really important that you seek help.  You are not alone, even if you feel alone, and you do not have to go through your blues in isolation.  Make sure you reach out to those who are able to give you support and a helping hand.  Talk to a counselor, physician, family member, friend, pastor, or even call a local crisis hotline.  And, PLEASE, if you are feeling so blue that you are wondering if life is worthwhile – CALL SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY – you are worth it.

Today, 326 days ’til 40, I will remind myself that everyone has good and bad days.  If I am having a really bad day and feeling blue, I will try to keep perspective and remember that life does get better.  I have a lot to live for and as I focus on those things, the pain of the dark days slowly turns into hope for the future.  We all have bad days, and we all have the ability to get through them and move on to live the lives we were created to live, in happiness and peace.



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61 responses to “326 Days ’til 40: Beating the Blues

  1. msmckibbon

    April 1, 2012 at 01:02

    Great post, and so very true. Even in my darkest times I make it a point to remember that without the dark, there would be no light. I also try hard to feel the pain rather than to turn away from it. Only through the process of feeling the pain have I been able to truly move through it and move forward.

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:37

      Thanks for this very important insight…. I hope the readers will also see your comment.

  2. Bob Faw

    April 1, 2012 at 01:10

    Great points here. To that end if the cause seems to be traumatic memories that keep intruding there are great programs growing around the world for this. Hopefully there will be more and more all the time. One such great program is Vital Cycles ( with free downloadable resources, etc.

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:36

      Thank you so much for sharing this important resource with the readers of this blog!

  3. jensine

    April 1, 2012 at 01:13

    I think you need a bad day now and then to be able to appreciate the really good ones … you can’t have light without darkness

    And by the way love the photo

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:34

      Very good point! Thanks for the photo compliment.

  4. David

    April 1, 2012 at 01:25

    Actually very worthwhile post for me today..thank you

  5. shanson3871

    April 1, 2012 at 02:10

    I have suffered from severe depression for years and Anger Displacement Disorder… it’s a constant struggle to stay out of the dark place.. I go to therapy 2x a month and I’m on medication. It is helping, I see that I don’t get nearly as down as I use too.

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:32

      Thanks for posting that intervention helps…. So important for people to understand.

    • writerwannabe763

      April 1, 2012 at 17:26

      “Struggling” is one of the best words for the process of going through depression…It is a constant struggle to try and maintain a positive attitude….My prayers are with you as a fellow ‘struggler’ that has only recently in the past very few years..finally gotten to the point where I feel a freedom that I have not felt for a very long time! Diane

      • shanson3871

        April 2, 2012 at 14:43

        Thank you. I would love to get to a point where I felt like I could just breath.. ya know..

        • 400daystil40

          April 3, 2012 at 04:28

          Yes, I do know the feeling – you will eventually get there.

  6. Waldo "Wally" Tomosky

    April 1, 2012 at 02:23

    Yesterday and Tomorrow are imposters.
    If you can get through today then you will be stronger and smarter tomorrow.
    Then tomorrow will become today and you have already handled that.

  7. viveka

    April 1, 2012 at 02:28

    Depression – a big black hole to claim up from, my friend tells me .. she has 2 times per year.

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:30

      You are right…. It can be a whole for those going through it.

      • viveka

        April 1, 2012 at 12:55

        Yes, she really has a hard time – but she pulls through it twice a year. Saying that I think we all are hit by depression, but we get out of it before it get server. Every time we are feeling down is a depression. Hits me every week *smile

  8. writerwannabe763

    April 1, 2012 at 03:09

    I guess that I fell into the ‘don’t know why’ category of why I was going through depression. Although some of the other reasons probably paid a part, at the time.

    It is of course necessary to find a good therapist to help you not only perhaps to find out if there is an immediate cause..but the emphasis must be on ‘good’! …good for you.. I’m not saying that therapists or psychiatrists don’t try to do a good job and most of them probably help a lot of people. And of course medication is often very necessary as part of the treatment.

    I had just about every type there was…psychiatrists (notice pleural), therapists, group therapy and I even had shock treatments at the suggestion of one of them. I was at the lowest of the low periods and just felt my family and everyone would be better off without all the crises happening all the time.. While that was very troubling, I did go through with ‘them’ and short term perhaps it saved my life. Unfortunately it was short-lived as far as solving anything.

    I will cut to the chase so to speak and say that what finally helped me and I do stress ‘me’ as everyone is different….was a cognitive therapist. She was also a Christian and as I was, we were able to incorporate my faith into the therapy. While it didn’t happen overnight, I finally can look at life …not as a challenge to survive, but as a gift to be embraced.

    You are so correct in saying that some help is needed and you don’t ever have to feel alone!

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:30

      Thank you for sharing these experiences. I agree with you wholeheartedly! If a mental health “professional” is not good they can, at best, put on only a short term band aid….at Horst, they can make everything worse….(been there myself…… I had one bad shrink yea ago who, looking back, clearly exacerbated a depressive time of Mine to keep a client longer to get income… was disgusting….. Of course when I was in the midst of it and depressed I was not able to see all the damaging input from this VERY unhealthy professional….. I always tell people to interview at least three before choosing one to work with…… And to remember many become therapists because of their own issues, which may or may not be resolved. Great comment!!!

  9. Summer Moon

    April 1, 2012 at 04:32

    This is a great post! All of the advice you give is excellent! I must say that the last depressed reason you mention really hits home for me. I suffered from bipolar for way too many years (almost a decade), but never knew what was causing my extreme highs and lows. The highs were great, but the depressions were anguishing. I almost gave up on getting help, but thankfully I listened to loved ones who knew something was wrong, and I finally got the answers that I needed. I’m now armed with medications and therapy for my bipolar and I am learning how to better deal with it.

    I think it’s so great and important that you included seeking help for that unknown depression in your post. It’s so important for people to know that there is help out there.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:22

      Thank you so much. I hope the readers who are struggling may learn from this post…… That it dispelled some myths and that it may help them seek help.

  10. rabidmongoose

    April 1, 2012 at 04:59

    I think I like your last paragraph the best. I really appreciate how you put good- and bad-days in perspective because setting those realistic expectations protects against disappointment. You are right-on when you say we all have bad days, but that they, “slowly turn into hope.”

    I struggle with mild depression on a daily basis, usually surounding issues of inadequacy and acceptance. As you noted, I have to get past my feelings to find the root of the problem. Once identified, I can dispel the depression by confronting the incorrect self-talk telling me that I’m not good enough and that no-one really likes me.

    Thanks for sharing on this topic today, it was particularly meaningful for me.

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:21

      Thanks for sharing based on your personal experience. It will mean a lot to others to hear about how you work to confront negative thoughts. I really appreciate this comment.

  11. Bird

    April 1, 2012 at 05:41

    Good post!

  12. allthingsboys

    April 1, 2012 at 06:45

    Also, life circumstances can actually alter the chemicals in your brain, creating a depression that can be cured by a course of medication that is only for 6 months. So not everyone needs lifetime meds.
    Great article. We need more public awareness about this, and tools in our tool box to help learn to decompress, for those whose depression is caused by stress. Thanks for sharing!

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:18

      Yes you are so correct! Imbalance of chemicals is not necessarily a lifetime reality (though another problem is those who feel better with mess and then stop them thinking they are fine and fall back into depression.) it is important for people to know that pharmaceutical intervention can be temporary and that fear of being on medication for a lifetime is not a reason to delay treatment. Thanks for your comment!

  13. thelastsongiheard

    April 1, 2012 at 07:27

    A lot of good info here – thanks for the post.

    There’s a lot of pride that factors into this too. No one wants to admit to being lonely. No one wants to admit to suffering from depression. Also, there’s a fear the doctor will just say something like “pull yourself together,” “it’s not that bad” or “cheer up” – it’s no wonder sometimes that people will tell their bartenders things they would never tell their doctor…

    Lastly, what would the family think? Or work? Who wants to be labelled as the sad one? Or the crazy one? Who wants to be judged by their current or future employer as being a potential liability?

    How many sufferers go unnoticed and unhelped as a result?

    Lastly, if anyone reading this lives in England, don’t forget there’s one number you can always call, 24/7 – the Samaritans – angels on Earth who’ll show you you’re not alone – 08457 90 90 90

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:13

      Thanks for your comment and the Samaritan number! You are so correct so many fears (including fear of judgement) prevent people from getting the help they really need.

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:14

      P.S this fear of the reactions of others can be paralyzing…… So sad.

  14. anotherthousandwords

    April 1, 2012 at 11:13

    Living on a fixed income has no depressive effect…because I accept it. I am just coming out of a great depression, that of overly-noisy neighbors, whose children had tantrums several times a week, and frequently in the early morning hours.

    Almost an entire year of having to live with these intruders has taken its toll. An entire month later, I still do not feel right, recovered, from the daily barrage of crying, screaming, arguing, and excessive noise from mornings well into the nighttime hours and beyond.

    The stress was incredible, and has taken its toll on this old body.

    But, as I believe, one must continually move–FORWARD!

    • 400daystil40

      April 1, 2012 at 12:11

      What an important point you make! Living environment can definitely effect stress and depression. It is also critical that you mention neighbors/ noise causing this….. A bad environment is not always in the home, it can surround it.

      • anotherthousandwords

        April 1, 2012 at 12:15

        Thank you so…every day becomes better than the last…and I thank you for your perceptive blog,,,KEEP GOING!

        • 400daystil40

          April 1, 2012 at 12:56

          I will! 🙂

        • maudestandard

          April 1, 2012 at 23:40

          I have a crazy neighbor that wakes me every morning a few times with noise. It isn’t as bad as what you had. You must have been on your last nerve. It takes a bit of time to settle inside from that type of experience.
          The neighbor gets up at four a.m.

    • thelastsongiheard

      April 2, 2012 at 04:20

      I can relate. I had noisy neighbours for nearly ten years. People think you’re over-reacting when you stay late at work because you don’t want to go home.

      I used to be woken at 2 or 3 in the morning by loud, thumping music from next door. When they finally moved out, I swear my own heart beat would wake me up because I could hear it in my dream and I’d consciously think it was my neighbours. It took me months to re-adjust.

  15. Little Miss

    April 1, 2012 at 11:56

    *ticks all of the above* 😉

    Hope you beat any blues you have x

  16. CMW

    April 1, 2012 at 15:17

    Great post! Too many of us shy away from talking about life’s ups and downs and are really reluctant to reach out for help when the ‘downs’ are really depression. We carry a lot of negative stereotypes about depression and tend underestimate how common it is…it’s something that ‘other people’ deal with. Thank you for sharing this information 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      April 2, 2012 at 05:17

      Thanks and thank you for your comment, which is so true (and sad).

  17. saymber

    April 1, 2012 at 16:07

    It’s hard when you are in the “tunnel” of depression and depending on your support systems, it may be hard to break free. I’ve been dealing with chronic depression (along with a bunch of other labels in the mental health arena) most of my life. It is my support systems (family, friends, therapists) and “tools” I’ve learned (crafts, exercise, diet, chores, artistic persuites like writing/drawing, helping others) that help me deal with depression/anxiety etc when it comes on strong.

    It is imperative to remember that no matter how bad today may seem there is all of tomorrow to try to experience something better!

    • 400daystil40

      April 2, 2012 at 05:15

      I agree with you, thank you so much for your great insight!

  18. aboutproximity

    April 1, 2012 at 19:57

    Thank you for the encouragement.

    Don’t ever feel afraid to ask for help. As the wife of a pastor, I struggled with this for almost a decade before I found courage to ask for help. It’s lonely trying to go it alone. Perfection is impossible. Asking for help is never a weakness.

    It is very brave.

    • 400daystil40

      April 2, 2012 at 05:14

      Such a very good point, thank you so much for your comment. You are correct, so many people feel like they must be perfect because of their roles in life. I agree, it takes MUCH more strength to admit weakness and ask for help!

  19. The Quiet Borderline

    April 1, 2012 at 20:20

    Excellent post.

    For anyone that is depressed but does/’t know why, this is a good place to start with great tips that this post offers.

    Keep ’em comin’.

    The Quiet Borderline

  20. Karen Berthine

    April 1, 2012 at 20:56

    Great post – thanks for sharing!

  21. Spider42

    April 2, 2012 at 12:36

    Excellent post, one that raises points that we all are more than well aware of (in varying degrees) but like most mental based problems/disorders tend to put out of mind unless faced with them ourselves or in someone close to us. Most of the time anyway.
    And I was happy at the end when you made a point about a topic that is very dear to me – perspective – something that I think very few people really consider or maintain.
    We tend to get so lost in the day-to-day vagaries and pressures and dramas that being able to see a larger picture, consider time and age and what we REALLY want and see for ourselves and those around us in an ideal scenario – all this and so much more is just a matter of perspective, if you open your mind and vision.

    • 400daystil40

      April 2, 2012 at 12:46

      Yes, you are so correct…. I am going to write more on perspective in a few weeks…. The hard thing is willing ourselves to keep perspective when in those dark places….. Sometimes it takes a lot of strength to be willing to see hope for tomorrow when one is depressed.

      • Spider42

        April 2, 2012 at 13:14

        Absolutely true – but the funny thing is that hope itself is such a cornerstone of the human condition that it confounds, amuses and intrigues me how people lose hope so easily when things have been going well, yet find it at the absolutely darkest of times, that little bit of faith to hold on to and spread to those without.
        Hope is a strange thing.
        Very much looking forward now to that post when it gets done.

  22. Intermittante

    April 2, 2012 at 12:46

    Thanks for writing this 🙂

    Finding out what ails you really can be a lifesaver. I’ve only this year found out that I’m dealing with a-typical depression. It explains my large bottom, my mood-swings, lethargic days and enormous need for sleepy-time. And I’m -so- glad it’s been established that that’s what it is, because now I can work on it.

    It’s so important to just seek help when you’re suffering. Because you do not need to suffer. Have you by chance read my post about my experiences with medicines and a-typical depression? I wrote it in the hope people might be motivated by it to not take no for an answer and stay skeptical even when you’re doctor says he knows best. Don’t stop until you feel healthy, right? It’s absolutely worth it!

    • 400daystil40

      April 2, 2012 at 12:57

      Yes, you aye so correct. No one should suffer needlessly. I love how you mention not stopping until you feel better because so many doctors blame their patients or claim issues are in their heads if they can’t find answers (heaven forbid they admit to sometimes being incompetent!) will you post the link to the post you mention in this comment section so other readers can access it easily? I think it will be a good resource for them. Thanks!

  23. maudestandard

    April 2, 2012 at 15:35

    I had a moment of angst over my comment here. I used the word crazy and forgot to say that someone who has a mental illness(what and awful label) is not crazy. Mental illness is physical, like Diabetes. Crazy has an element of being deliberate and I think cruelty toward other people is involved.
    I am still groggy. so forgive this mess of a comment.

  24. Lisa Pace Wegrzyn

    April 3, 2012 at 05:15

    Great post for me to read today. Thanks!


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