What Mr. Tiger Taught Me About Coping With Depression
At some point every day, I play Baby J.’s DVD of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”. She stands in front of the TV intently watching as she smiles and tries to understand what the characters are doing and saying.
The show may be geared toward older toddlers, but Baby J. enjoys the colors, songs, and characters. She doesn’t quite understand the lessons taught by Daniel Tiger and his neighbors, but I do, and surprisingly, I have taken away a valuable lesson from this kid’s TV show.
There is an episode where it is Daniel Tiger’s birthday, and his birthday cake gets smashed. Daniel Tiger is disappointed, and as he sulks in Mr. Tiger’s arms, Mr. Tiger says
Remember what I always say? When something seems bad, turn it around, and find something good.
I realized as he said this that it not only applies to disappointment, but to depression, as well, as my depression is often fueled by disappointment, and things not going my way.
When I’m already in a depressive episode, disappointment makes it worse. Things not going my way make me lose faith in myself and my abilities, and I get more depressed and down on myself.
I’m currently experiencing both this depression and disappointment, and before hearing Mr. Tiger’s message, didn’t know how to cope with either of them.
But after really thinking about it, I realized that “when something seems bad” I can “turn it around, and find something good.”
I’m disappointed with the way a certain project I’m working on is going, and that fuels my already depressed mood. So, for the past few days, I’ve been sulking, feelings bad about myself and wondering if I really am as talented as I thought.
Today, I’ve decided to look at my situation and my disappointment differently. I’ve decided to look at the disappointment of my project as a learning experience, and that not only makes me feel better, but makes me feel like I am actually being successful.
As for my depression, looking at it a different way is difficult, but it is possible. I choose to see my depression as only temporary, and I choose to cope through it, because I believe I can get through this.
When something seems bad, turn it around, and find something good.
If children can listen and learn from Mr. Tiger, I can, too. I can look at my depression and disappointment differently, and try to find the good in both situations.
It seems impossible to find something good about depression, but I’ve decided to see it as a time to rest, which both my body and mind need during an episode.
The sentiment applies to so many parts of life, and if applied, makes living a whole lot more pleasant.