A woman I worked with had become very depressed from what was literally a life-altering job change. Her passion in life was being a law enforcement officer. Being out in the community was where she felt she belonged. Then, an illness caused tremors in her hands to the point where she could no longer handle a gun the way she needed to, and the job she loved became one she hated—still law enforcement, but tied to a desk. Her everyday unhappiness and struggle with the change snowballed into depression. She couldn’t do the desk job any more. With her children away at college and a husband who loved her but had no idea what to do, she felt isolated. She became lethargic, couldn’t get herself off of the couch. There was no energy, no spirit left. Fortunately, she sought help.
In her case, it was a matter of using another one of her passions to get her life back. As she had fallen into the abyss of depression, she had given up music, which was an enormous part of her life. She had stopped playing piano, listening to music or even discussing music with her family and friends. This had been a cornerstone of her life before; everything she did outside of her job was connected to it. For her, the first step was to force herself to sit down at the piano and play. She started with playing once a day for ten minutes, and slowly increased the time she spent. She needed to feel and hear the music again.
Once she allowed herself to get back to something that created pure joy in her life, she started to pull herself out of her depression and shift her perspective. She focused on music, playing and listening to it for herself, enjoying it with her daughters when they were home, sharing music with her friends. All things she used to do. Eventually, she was able to go to a concert with her husband—out of the house and back into the world. This led, as it usually does, to other positive changes. She started dressing better, going out with her friends and joining a spin class to work out with music. All of which widened her world once again. She is a perfect example of how important passion is and how hard it makes life when it’s lost. Use your passions to find a path to getting your life back after depression.