Lurking devil in the darkness…

Did you know that 988 is the phone number of the suicide and crisis hotline, so call or text 988 or chat at I recently learned that some of my readers struggle with issues and demons I fought with years ago. We all understand if individuals are battling beasts in the open, then others are raging wars alone in the shadows. I want you all to know that you are not alone on this battlefield, and I hope to say the correct words to help. I have been to the edge and pondered that prolific plunge, yet came back stronger and wiser, remaining on the green side of the grass. Friends and family make a difference, but it takes speaking up to enact change and recovery. For many avenues of help, you need to reach out and start the conversation.

I went through many years of a deep, dark depression that tried to encourage me to visit and leap from the ledge. This game between darkness and light stole my thirties, never to return them as time only progresses and never regresses. The onslaught occurred as the angel and devil on either shoulder taunted me ruthlessly. Although this atrocity was a lengthy war, the deadly battle did not reach the dark side’s desired conclusion. The following helped and continues to help me, and I hope others can learn from my time in perdition and reentry into society.

I have met people with families who are as useless as waterproof beach towels, and to them, I say learn your Facebook options. Do not be someone with two thousand Facebook friends you do not know or talk with most of them. Instead, go to your FB timeline and post that you are struggling and need to speak with someone, as many good people will talk. I am optimistic that you will receive a helpful response quickly, but do not stop there and request a private conversation with them.

You can join Facebook groups for whatever you can imagine and post looking for someone to talk with privately too. As a member of fifteen groups primarily focused on multiple sclerosis, I learned that 75% of MS patients are women. So three of the groups are men’s groups which get together twice weekly to video chat. If one gentleman is having a dreadfully difficult day, everyone will listen to that person, as many times, compassionate ears are all they need. With these Facebook clubs, camaraderie is crucial, and fellowship is fundamental, while everything is essential for the well-being of all involved.

To help with brain balance, you must overload your brain with enthusiastic endorphins. These positive peptides resemble opiates in the brain and raise the pain threshold. This action significantly and positively affects one’s mental agility, benefiting the overall outlook on life. Friendships are a great way to boost your endorphins to aid your cognitive modulation. For me, it started slowly, with one friend who reintroduced me to the art of socialization. He would visit my house once per week until he eventually enticed me to venture into public with offers of savory sustenance. Of course, I still felt shame, but my new buddy did not back down from the challenge of encouraging me to open up to the possibilities of life.

Laughing is another way to boost and induce more of the body’s positive mind manipulators. Eventually, I made more friends, which helped me remember how to laugh and enjoy life. Good friends can encourage your tear ducts to dump buckets of face-drenching tears as you pound on the table and cry out with laughter. These new compadres helped me make fun of this arguing devil and angel and see the humor in everything. This idea was helpful to me, as I could then forget about all of my sorrows and past while focusing on my new friends and positive life outlook.

Exercise and meditation can also help your mental wellness, as they did and continue to do for me. For those of us with MS, there can be a fine line between doing too much and not enough exercise. What is worse is that this line bounces like a caffeinated Chihuahua on a pogo stick, rarely staying in the same place. Meditation helped me to guide my mental monsters out of my brain while organizing my thoughts. The practice of this quiet rumination can be challenging, especially for those of us with busy brain syndrome. The key for both is to simply stay the course.

Here is the deal: I am not a therapist, nor do I play one on TV, but this is my opinion as a survivor of dreadful thoughts. I know that life’s challenges and struggles can cause a powerful depression that can envelop your existence. I understand that depression is different for everyone, and every person deals with it differently. However, I feel that one of the most critical factors in healing and recovery from depression is communication. Discuss your issues with family, talk with friends, or communicate with teachers, but most importantly, do not leave loved ones in the dark.

988 is the suicide and crisis hotline.

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