Another important component of staving off a depression is to stop thinking about feeling depressed. I used to think that I wasn't thinking about depression, when, in fact, I was. If I spent my days writing about depression (like I am right now), responding to comments about depression (like I've been doing), and reading about depression healing (which is still a facet of thinking about depression), then everything in my day was related to coping with depression.
However, now I find that I can write about it without dwelling on it. I can respond to comments a few times a day, and leave it at that. And I no longer read books or articles about depression because it's rare for me to find any information I don't know, or learn anything that's helpful to me.
The best thing in the world for me was to develop new hobbies that have nothing to do with writing and/or depression. So, yesterday I spent my morning studying for my botany exam next week. I got a haircut, which I find relaxing. And then a friend and I met one of our gardening teachers at the elementary school we're going to help landscape, and the three of us went out to dinner.
What I've learned is that doing something that's creative, fulfilling, and fun is truly the best medicine of all. I no longer dwell on why I'm feeling depressed. I know there's a seasonal element to all this, and so be it. I try not to worry about the duration and intensity of the next depression. Just because last year's episode was extraordinarily painful doesn't mean that this year's need be.
And finally, I don't discuss my feelings about depression with anyone, but my husband and a few close friends. Last year I made the mistake of thinking that sharing my feelings about what was happening with others would make me feel better. And it made me feel worse.
Tomorrow, I'll finish this series and talk about the support team I've lined up in case I need them.