there is a chinese proverb that i tripped over and fell softly into while skipping through the Tao of Pooh a few months ago.

“one disease, long life.  no disease, short life.”

depression is my one disease.

i get sick with other things, obviously.  i’m actually writing now through a head that feels full of concrete and joints that feel like rice krispies-fragile and snap, crackling, and popping.  i have a wicked cold.  (i just spent my first time in Boston so i just want to make it clear that it is not a wicked cool cold, just wicked.)

here’s the thing with one disease that follows you around: at some point, you need to listen to it.  disease is always, always, always, a call to act.  i don’t buy that whatever you get sick with is your fault, but if you ignore it, what happens next is your responsibility.

something like depression is tricky because it is your brain that is first affected so your decision making capacity diminishes.  however, i’ve been depressed enough to feel it coming.  i’ve gotten pretty good at knowing, okay, if i don’t do something right now to tweak my self-care, i will be depressed in six weeks.

any disease: diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer, depression are teachers.  they will show you how to take care of your self, if you allow them.

for a fact, i will get depressed if i don’t take care of myself.  since everything is connected, when i don’t eat sugar, when i go outside for some fresh air early in the day, when i sleep 9 hours a night (i can’t sleep less or more and expect to keep depression at bay), when i eat plenty of good fat and watch my carb intake, i keep depression in its place AND increase the quality of my life.

depression is so good for letting you know that you need to pay attention to yourself.  there is something going on in your life that is not right for you.  learning how to fix those things is certainly a skill set.  learning to express your anger in ways that don’t hurt anyone or anything, discovering how to feed your brain and body in a way that nourishes it, facing the injustices that your psyche can’t accept and making either peace with them or changing them if you can: these are some examples.

i’ll be back with more when all the cold is gone and i only have my disease to serve.