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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Music and Managing Depression-

A couple of years ago I came close to a mental and emotional collapse. I had allowed myself to get out of balance. I was striving to do all of the right things; work hard, care for my family, contribute to society. However, in doing so I had become engaged in a program of self-sacrifice that denied me much of what I needed emotionally.

I was doing good things for noble purposes, but my self-denial was such that I was destroying myself from the inside. I risked collapse. I was deeply depressed, and beginning to have difficulty managing my emotions at work. In time I sought counseling and got things on a better track.

Part of my program of recovery required me to understand and manage my depression. In studying depression I found a bit of advice that was interesting. To break a depressive cycle it can be beneficial to listen to music. Loud music, or more correctly listen to music that is played loudly.

Over the two years since my near breakdown I have made considerable improvement. I have taken time to consider my own needs, and though I am far from self-indulgent I have focused on taking care of my needs sufficiently to break the downward spiral and begin moving upward.

Recently I have had to reconsider one of my plans, largely due to the changes in the economy. I had intended to leave my current career, since it is in part a contributor to my depression. It is stressful and insufficiently rewarding. However, the downturn in the economy created an employment scenario that is also stressful. I have reconsidered my retirement, and will strive to maintain my employment for as long as I can bear it.

Since that decision I have had more depressive moments. Moving on had become an important part of my depression management program. Now I was not moving on, and I needed an alternative management strategy.

For Father's Day I received an iTunes card from my kids. My daughter Beth also made an iPod available to me. I began downloading tunes and after loading up the iPod I began listening to music. A lot of music.

It helped. Granted, it is just a temporary fix, and sometimes only affective during the time I am listening to music. Still, it helps. That is good.

Besides the therapeutic value, it has been fun. Shopping for tunes one tune at a time, putting my library in order, and learning the iTunes system has been fun. That is also good.

My new course is to continue my employment, and begin looking for a new job. I will have the option of seeking a position that is sufficient to meet the needs of my family, and also meet my own needs. Until I find something that is adequate, or even fabulous, I will remain employed and free of the stresses of not being employed.

Now I just have to find some money to buy iTunes. Panhandling, maybe?

Got any spare change?

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