Saturday, October 17, 2009

Overcoming Depression, Part 2

Today's tip on overcoming depression comes from one of the daily "DivorceCare" devotionals I have been receiving.

Tip #2 Manage your expectations

Says Dr. Jim A. Talley "You expected somebody to do something. That person didn't do it, and you get mad. What makes you even madder is that person doesn't seem to give a rip that he or she didn't do it. Now you're really hurt, and you begin to boil on the inside. You shift at that point to real bitterness. You have to go back and reset your expectations to what you can control and deal with. You can't force other people into your expectations."

I was really down about myself- I had worked so hard to lose weight, only to put it all back on when my ex announced our marriage's demise. Then, I was so emotionally overloaded that I felt like I couldn't handle even the smallest stressors. And, to top it off, my friends (what few I have!) were keeping their distance, because they didn't know how to handle the situation.

Through the course, I learned that it's normal to be overwhelmed with a divorce, to have a rough time dealing with things and to respond by overeating (or undereating, if that's your stress-mechanism). I learned to be gentle with myself, and tell myself that it's *normal* to be emotional, *normal* to not be able to focus all day long, *normal* to be sad, and *normal* for others to withdraw from you (either because they don't know how to help, they feel uncomfortable, or they just don't like being around sad people). I told myself NOT to expect my usual star performance on the job, and not to expect that everything would be perfect around the house.

And, over time, it worked. I can go out with those few friends now and have a good time, without thinking about all the hurt I suffered in that marriage. I can focus on losing that weight, and my productivity on the job has returned to normal. I don't have the life I wanted or expected, but things are starting to go really well and my outlook on life has greatly improved.

So, if you're faced with a tough time, try re-evaluating your expectations, and see if there are areas where you can lighten up a little bit.

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