I have struggled with bouts of depression since I was very young.
Depression is something that copious amounts of people struggle with, yet there is such a disconnect in society on how to treat it or how to cope with it. There is something stiffling about depression. I have often described the feeling as being trapped in a room with a limited amount of air and then having all of the lights go out. The air is stale and it is hard to see anything at all. I have spoken to numerous friends and aquaintances struggling with depression. The resounding issue they all have faced is the shame associated with depression.
I am not claiming to be a doctor or psychiatrist. It is not my place to tell anyone if they should seek medical assistance to treat their depression. There are many people out there with lofty opinions on depression. Some people are actually downright ugly about it. I once had a man yell in my face when we had a difference of opinion regarding depression.
Some people believe that depression can only be treated with medication. If you need to take medication to treat your depression, you should. There is absolutely no shame in that. But you should be the one to make that decision for yourself. You should do what feels best for you and make your own health your main priority.
I do have a doctor that helps me cope with the many life altering issues my auto immune dieases have caused. Depression is one of those issues, and I cope with it in my own way. Here are some of my suggestions for coping with depression.
10 Ways to Cope With a Depressed Mood
★Write down how you are feeling. There are many different ways to express your feelings through pen and paper. You can write a letter to yourself or journal. Journaling is my favorite coping mechanism because it allows you to vent to an unbiased ear about all the things that you are dealing with and how they make you feel. You can sketch out doodles of your thoughts. Or you can just scribble on the pages. Scribbling can be extremely therapeutic.
★ Be sure that you are tending to your basic needs. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Are you eating a well-balanced diet? Are you getting enough sunlight every day? Are you eating often enough? Are you taking any medicine that you may be prescribed? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself every day. You have to be responsible for your personal needs and take care of yourself in accordance with those specific needs. You deserve to have all of your basic needs met. If you are having trouble caring for yourself, ask someone close to you for help. Although asking for help can be extremely difficult, it is also important to remember that everyone needs help from time to time.
★ Put on your favorite music. One of my coping mechanisms is to put on my headphones, tune out the world, and listen to my favorite songs on my iPhone. Make a playlist specifically for bad days and include all of the songs you're really into at the moment. Or include sad songs that make you feel, cry, and think. Sometimes that helps too.
★ Get physical. Get your heart pumping. Go for a jog or hit the gym for a little while. There is a simple therapy in physical activity. Plus working out releases endorphins which will help your mood. I often go for a long walk or jog when I'm feeling down. It also frees your mind for some deep thinking.
★ Tend to your basic senses. Take an extra long bath or shower. Use aromatherapy candles, lotion, or bath salts. Ask someone close to give you a massage or get a professional massage if that is an option for you. Get a pedicure. Enjoy a bowl of your favorite soup. Go to your local coffee shop and enjoy the smells. Rent some movies and spend some time just relaxing on your couch while you watch them. Have a tickle fight with someone who makes you smile.
★ Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Even if you just cry, it will make you feel better to have someone to talk to. Just be careful who you confide in and make sure that they will respect your confidence. Sometimes I even vent to my cat. He just tilts his head at me, but he is a pretty good listener. Often, it helps me just to put into words how I am feeling. I am not expecting anyone to fix me or the situation, but it does help to talk through some of the issues your are facing. That is why many people have such great success in seeking the help of a therapist. If you feel that you would benefit from seeing a therapist, you should definitely seek one. As I said earlier, there is no shame in doing what is best for you.
★ Distract yourself. Watch your favorite movie or television show. Bake some cookies. Visit a local park and swing on a swing set. Color or doodle. Crack open a sketchbook and draw. Build a house of cards (or at least try to). Read a book you've been meaning to get to. Clean up your room or wash up the dishes. Grab your camera and take lots of random pictures. Organize your closet or clear out your desk.
★ Do something nice for yourself. Buy yourself a new outfit or a new pair of shoes. Take an extra long nap. Write yourself a letter and describe all the lovely things about yourself. Take a long bubble bath.
★ Indulge in your favorite comfort food. I am not promoting emotional-eating, but there is nothing wrong with indulging in some comfort food occasionally when situations in life seem overwhelming. I'm definitely a pasta girl. Bring on the macaroni elbows, fettuccine, or farfalle!! Yum! Grab a pint of your favorite ice cream (ice cream has magical depression-quelling powers).
★Listen to yourself. You know what is best for yourself better than anyone in the world. If you need some time to rest or be alone, do it. It's so easy to get wrapped up in your life, the needs of others, and all the expectations that people have of you. When you aren't feeling %100, you need to disregard the world and do what is best for yourself. You need to be patient and loving to yourself.
How do you cope with depression?