If you aren’t familiar with Bob Ross, he was an amazingly optimistic painter and TV personality that taught much more to his audience than just the techniques of painting. If you are interested in getting to know Bob Ross, check out “The Joy of Painting”, now on Netflix.
Here are a few things I’ve learned while being consumed by depression.
1. “If you do too much, it’s going to lose its effectiveness.”
From experience, I can say that I’ve been guilty of spreading myself too thin. Between family, friends, work and school, I’ve always been guilty of trying to control the situation for the best outcome for everyone. The more and more you over work yourself in relationships or work; you’ll soon see how your progress will dwindle after so long. It’s important to take a step back and realize that it’s ok to let someone else take the wheel for a while. Let your mind and body recover.
2. “Just let go — and fall like a little waterfall.”
This is the most important thing I learned. It’s OK to be vulnerable. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be sad and be angry all at the same time. It’s ok to have feelings that you don’t quite understand yet. This is the progression of depression. It’s truly ok to feel lost… Just don’t stay there.
3. “Don’t forget to tell these special people in your life just how special they are to you.”
It was easy for me to turn into a hermit and seclude myself from everyone I knew and cared about while depressed. I made all the excuses in the world to avoid anyone and everyone. But I will say, all it takes is a text, card or call to tell that special someone just how much they mean to you. Depression causes us to gravitate away from our friends and family to avoid the inevitable Q&A, and can leave them feeling abandoned. Even through the hurt, it’s important to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us and how much we appreciate their love and support during this difficult time.
4. “I think each of us, sometime in our life, has wanted to paint a picture.”
We paint pictures of how life is supposed to be and become upset when it doesn’t play out the way we expected, some of us even become devastated! But the truth is that life will constantly throw things at you that you may not be ready for but perhaps is what you need. The trick is learning how to roll with the punches.
Which spins into number five...
5. “No pressure. Just relax and watch it happen.”
It speaks for itself.
6. “It’s so important to do something every day that will make you happy.”
It’s so easy to fall into a routine of loneliness and self-pity when we’re deep into depression. I learned the vital importance of doing at least one thing everyday that brings a smile to my face. For me, my happiness is playing with my dogs, hiking with my husband or simply enjoying the outdoors. If you don’t know what makes you happy, try connecting with old friends, trying new hobbies or volunteering at your local animal shelter.
7. “Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is.”
The problem with depression is that we get so set in our self-pity that we forget how to function and enjoy what life has to offer. The most challenging thing I learned is how to thrive outside my comfort zone when I honestly could careless about anything. In putting myself out there, I found that I could make myself laugh again. It was hard, but it was possible. Force yourself to do something. Anything. Even if it’s just making it out of bed for the day! Set goals and do them. You are more than your depression.
8. “We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”
You are not your mistakes. So don’t wear them like a ball and chain. Forgive yourself. This won’t happen overnight but learn from your “happy accident” and vow to never let it consume your life again. Start over.
Fun Fact: According to Biography.com, Bob Ross reportedly completed 30,000 paintings during his lifetime.
If you are considering harming or have thoughts of killing yourself, please reach out to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. They provide 24/7 phone and chat response teams.