What to do when you can’t shake the blues

By Fr. Garry Richmeier

Over my 25 years as a counselor, people have often come to me saying they are feeling down or depressed. They wonder what is wrong and they want to fix it.

I thought today I would share with you some of my experience about what to do when you’re feeling down, feeling the blues, especially when it lasts a while.

First of all, I want to say that these feelings are normal. These feelings arise out of events and situations we are going through, like loss, pain, disappointment or unfulfilled expectations. It is normal, human stuff to feel bad about such life experiences. But if the feeling lasts for a while, if they last too long, then they can get in the way of living life. That is when people turn to counselors, wondering “what can I do to make this different.”

That’s what I’d like to share in this video, some things that can help in dealing with the blues, help when you’re feeling down or sad or depressed.

Often times we can’t do much about the events and difficult times that bring out these emotions in us, but we can do something about our thoughts about these events and situations. We can do something about the meaning we give to these happenings.

That can make a whole lot of difference in our emotions. And that’s what I talk about on this video.

Emotional health is like physical health. We have to keep working at it. If we don’t keep working, we gradually get unhealthy.

Using distraction, denial or avoidance to shield ourselves from unpleasant situations is a recipe for depression. We have to face those situations, admit that they are awful or painful, and then we have to do the ongoing work of dealing with them so they don’t take over our emotions and our lives.

It is hard work, but if we want to be healthy emotionally, then we have to do the work.

[Fr. Garry Richmeier, a Precious Blood priest and spiritual director, holds a Master’s of Divinity Degree from St John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and a Master’s of Counseling Psychology degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist.]

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