“Joy does not simply happen to us,” wrote spiritual author Henri Nouwen. “We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
I find choosing joy and trying to experience joy to be among the most difficult tasks when you are depressed. And yet it is critical to try to reconnect with those persons, places, and things that were once able to give us enjoyment.
I am fortunate to be working with a doctor who has known me for more than 10 years. When I fall into a depressive episode, her solutions are much more comprehensive than just a medication adjustment or a suggestion for a cognitive-behavioral technique.
This last week, her instructions, written out on her medical pad, included:
- Exercise, but not too hard
- Time in nature — enjoy the flowers
- Light reading only, NO self-help
- Find ways to experience pleasure — old TV series, favorite albums, etc.
- No work this week
I think I read on one of your recent posts that you had been dealing with suicidal thoughts. What do you do when that happens to change the course of your thinking and move on?
Dear Therese, thank you, thank you, thank you for another helpful recipe, as well as your unique perspective and encouragement. I find that even wanting to seek and feel joy is a challenge.