Depression

 

Depression is a funny thing, not funny haha but funny peculiar. It exists on a spectrum, it can be a lifelong battle or it can be reactive after a traumatic incident like a bereavement or an accident. It can make you angry and irritable or sad and lonely. Everyone’s experience is different. One end of the spectrum requires psychiatric help and medication but the other end may well be managed by trying to get some exercise, eating better, getting a good nights sleep and having a good support network to talk to. So I’m just going to talk about the basics, the foundations of helping yourself.

 

Fake it till you make it 

The other not so funny thing about depression is that it’s s vicious circle. The things that might help like exercising, seeing friends, eating better or getting a good nights sleep are the last thing you feel like doing.

So for me it’s a case of fake it till you make it. Start small, don’t set yourself up for failure. If it’s going for a walk take it one step at a time, coat on, open the door and walk down the road. If you manage one of these give yourself a pat on the back. Organise for someone to come see you if you can’t face going out. Then notice how you feel after you do it. Particularly notice if you feel in any way better.

Compassion for yourself

The vicious cycle I mentioned before is not helped by the tendency to berate ourselves when we think we have failed at something. Think about if a friend came to you and spoke about feeling useless and a failure, what would you do? Probably look for the positives, point out the evidence to them of what they have achieved. We need to start doing that for ourselves. So instead of thinking ” I never even left the house today” turn it around and think what you did do. ” Well I got showered and dressed”.

Medication 

Medication can be really useful in just lifting you up to a level that you can start to do those other things that seemed impossible before.  There is a worry about becoming dependent or what other people think. So first of all your GP does not want you to become dependent either, they will only prescribe the dosage you need and when you are feeling better they will gradually reduce the dosage until you are able to manage without medication.

What other people think of you is none of your business

We as a human beings have a tendency to mind read. We assume we know what other people think of us. So here’s the truth, our assumptions are probably based more on what we think of ourselves, that Mum at the school you think is judging you might not have even noticed you. In fact chances are she is totally preoccupied with her own worries to have time to worry about you. Also if they are thinking about you it is just as likely they are sympathetic to what you are going through. Even if someone IS judging you, you need to ask yourself why does their opinion matter?

It’s not that easy

Depression is a complicated thing, figuring out what works for you can take a while. What I have outlined above is just the beginning and even with these I would advise taking one at a time. These aren’t solutions just suggestions, the aim is to try and to practice. This is a way of helping you to help yourself. You are in control.

 

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