For many years of my life I had to deal with Depression. It was a deep sinking feeling. An overwhelming helplessness, fighting through a fog. Hopeless. Numb. It was like going through Dante’s version of hell, “abandon all hope all ye who enter here.”, working my through all nine circles to emerge a day or two feeling normal and then it would overtake me again.
Thankfully I haven’t experienced depression in a very long time. It doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. It just hasn’t happened, which I’m very grateful for. Though I’m not experiencing it I know a lot of people currently are. Everybody at one time or another has experienced depression. Some though experience it more frequently. Here’s some tips that have worked for me going through these episodes.
- Make a list of things to do
Some reasons depression comes is that there are things you want to accomplish and haven’t gotten to them. Or there seems like there are too many things and you feel overwhelmed by them. I would recommend making a list of things that you can do that day. Start with the easy stuff and work your way to the harder things.
2. Do things you love to do
It depends of course how much time you have in that day, but find one thing you absolutely love to do and do that thing. If it’s playing guitar play guitar. If it’s building a small boat in a bottle build the boat. Sometimes you don’t get to do fun things and they’re long overdue.
3. Don’t watch too much T.V. Youtube, Internet videos, Netflix
A problem with depression is that you have no energy. You tend to be very passive so being active is helpful in getting through it. Sitting and binge watching netflix isn’t going to help you but reinforce that feeling that nothing ever changes. I used to watch t.v. for hours to try to feel better. I reasoned to myself that when I felt better I would be able to do something. So I’d sit there till it happened and it never did. The day was completely wasted and I was still depressed, even more so. I’m not against binge watching things. If you’re experiencing depression it’s the worst thing for you.
4. Hang out with someone
Time alone is good for you, too much time alone can be devastating. I would recommend calling someone up to hang out. Go out and do something fun. Sometimes depression comes if there’s a social deficit. Also it comes if your doing a lot of activity that you’re forcing you to do because you have to. You begin to believe the situation will never change. You haven’t seen anybody in a while so going out with people changes the circumstances. There’s a tendency to believe you’re not worthwhile and that no one likes you. This helps to change those feelings as well.
Movement is key. If you’re chopping wood. Lifting weights. Running. Just doing something to get the body moving and your blood pumping. The endorphin’s produced helps the brain get to some kind of equilibrium. Sometimes depression comes because the brain isn’t producing the right amount of chemicals. This helps with some of those problems.
Healthy sleep is key. When you’re depressed you’re incredibly lethargic. It’s hard to move. You get really lazy. Part of what keeps that going is poor sleep. If you’re moving around and getting some things accomplished this will help you return to a natural cycle. If you’re binge watching t.v. this will keep up. This was one of my poorest disciplines. Watching television kept me up all night. Sometimes people who experience depression a lot also suffer from insomnia. See a doctor immediately if you have insomnia. Good sleep is key to curbing depression. Some things I do to help get relaxed to go to sleep is stopping all screen viewing, phone, computer, t.v. an hour or two before. The longer the better so your brain is stimulated by the pixels through the flickering screen. I also recommend taking a bath and reading a book.
7. Don’t drink a lot
Alcohol is a depressant that causes you to slow down. When you’re all ready going pretty slow it’s going to make things worse. Needless to say any other drug no prescribed to help this condition is going to mess you up. I would only recommend drinking one to two beers in a social setting so that you’re not alone.
Sitting down and praying helps me to sort through my thoughts. A lot of people suffer depression because of a lack of hope and a thought life that goes all over the place. Praying helps me to sift through my thoughts and target why I tend to dwell on things that aren’t useful. People tend to linger on all things they’re thinking or feeling and that’s a great way to feel like you don’t have any control over your life.
9. If you haven’t already see a doctor or mental health professional
There’s a lot of stigma attached to mental health issues that keeps a lot of people from seeking the help they need. Seeing a doctor and getting the necessary treatment is like anything health related. Please do yourself a favor and seek the necessary help.