This year I decided to live in Italy. It is now the sixth country that I’ve been a resident of. The other countries I’ve been a resident of are, Poland, Finland, England, Thailand, and my birth country Canada.
I’m a hockey coach and writer, and I’ve been very blessed to have those jobs take me all over the world. I’ve worked with NHL hockey teams (LA Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets) I’ve won some championships, and lost some championships. I’ve been hired and fired. I’ve made some amazing friends along the way, and some enemies too. Oh, and through it all I’ve been struggling with depression.
In reflecting on my year here in Italy from the standpoint of happiness, I can say that overall, I’ve been quite happy here.
When I talk about happiness, it means more than just being happy, to me it means not being depressed. And as I wrestle with this illness of depression, the more days where I am not sad is better….while happiness sounds like a fairly loose, general term, to me it means I’m not sad, and the more “not sad” days I can string together the better. Sometimes I can string together a full week, and occasionally a full month, and I’m working towards a full year.
Depression comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and as one of the “happiest” guys around the arena – it comes as a shock to people when they find out that I have this illness. It’s like the famous Pagliacci – the sad clown – or Charlie Chaplin, comedian with depression… and for me, it’s a journey…
Just recently, over the past 10 days I’ve noticed a bout of depression come on, and start to sink in. It can last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks, and writing about, and sharing about it often helps. I think of it as a chess game, or a journey because now that I’m sitting here in a funk, I am trying to look back on my lifestyle over the past few weeks to see if there is anything that may of triggered it…lack of sleep? did I drink too much? did I change my diet? is there additional stress in my life? am I anxious about something? all of these questions play in my mind while I try to figure it out – try to pinpoint something in hopes that the next time I can catch it even earlier, or beat it all together…
I’m not ashamed of my struggles with this illness, I don’t try to hide it. I don’t advertise it, and I try to be positive around my players, but if asked about it I’m not afraid to talk about it. In fact, talking about having a bad day is something that really helps. In some ways it releases the feelings a bit. It gives me permission that it’s okay to feel that way.
And no matter how much I try to analyze it, I always end up going back to the coping methods that work for me. I talk to a friend or family member. I try to watch my diet. I try to get lots of sleep. I try to focus on my latest Hope Project.
‘Hope Projects’ are the name I’ve come up with for a small project or hobby that I use to occupy my mind. In order for it to be a Hope Project it must meet three qualifications.
1) It must be something I have some skill or talent at.
2) It must be something I enjoy.
3) It must brighten someone else’s life.
It doesn’t matter what you make as your Hope Project as long as it follows those three rules.
Today the sky is a bit dark and cloudy, but I’m confident that the sun in behind the clouds and it will start to peak through soon enough.
Much Love Friends,
p.s. if you want a free copy of my book The Hope Project just send me an email and I’ll send you a copy.
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David Small is a professional ice hockey coach and author. David is the author of the Amazon #1 seller The Hope Project. David is also the author of Whatever It Takes and his first published work Small Stories. Small Stories is currently being republished in a 2nd Edition with 100% of the profits donated to The Kids Help Phone. David has worked with Team Canada, the LA Kings and the Columbus BlueJackets. David is the founder of Small World Health and currently resides in Bolzano Italy.
Thanks David for sharing all about your ‘Hope Projects’. What a wonderful name to call them. My two ‘hope projects’ are blogging and making colorful cozy quilts for the women’s shelter.
And WHAT ABOUT YOU my dear depression getaway friends? Do you have any ‘hope projects’ in your life. Do you need one or two?