How An Inchworm Helped Beat Depression

Years ago, my sister had suffered from severe Depression.  But at the time we did not know what it was.  All we knew was that she was miserable and nothing seemed to help.  She was living in London all alone, away from all of her friends/family, working very long hours for a heartless Finance Corporation, and living on a diet of Red Bull and Hobnobs (those are chocolate covered digestive cookies).  Geez, ANYBODY would be miserable!

I of course was very concerned and being so far away I felt powerless to help her.  It was the time before skype, facetime, whatsapp, internet, email, and calling overseas was extremely expensive.  Wanting to do "something" I picked up a greeting card to send to her in hopes it would cheer her up a little.  Well, the Angels must have been guiding my hand because even though it was a very simple gesture, it had a huge impact on her life.  On the front was a drawing of a smiling inch worm on a flower and read “Sometimes life looks overwhelming and if taking it day by day or hour by hour is too much….”  And on the inside it read, “Take it moment by moment.”

When you are depressed, the horrible thoughts can be overwhelming and seems constant and you feel like you are in quicksand sinking fast.  It was the visual of this little inchworm and this phrase however that helped her realize she did not have to handle everything at once.  Whenever she became overwhelmed by terrible thoughts she thought of that inchworm and remembered it was okay to take it "moment by moment".  

After a while she called and I told her, “Did you realize that you only called me three times today crying?  Yesterday it was five.”  

She said in astonishment, “Really?  I hadn’t noticed.”  

She had felt like such a failure for even having a single bad moment, that she did not even realize there were moments where she was not miserable.  

Every phone call I pointed out something positive:  

     “Did you realize you didn’t even cry on this phone call?”  

     "Did you realize you actually laughed on this phone call?”  

She then became proactive about her thoughts and did everything she could to make them go in the other (more positive) direction any way she could.  When on the phone we tried to focus on funny, positive, and uplifting stories.  It went from 3 crying phone calls a day, to 2, to 1, then every other day, to every few days, to once a week.  When she became aware of the good thoughts, no matter how small, she started to focus on those rather than the bad thoughts.

In the card shop, I could have thought, "Geez, this is stupid, what can a little greeting card do?" I could have done nothing assuming it was too small to help or give in to feeling powerless.  Sometimes it is a tiny moment that can turn the tide of any battle.  In this case, it was a simple greeting card and a little inchworm that made all the difference. 

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