So recently I slipped into a pretty bad episode of depression. It’s always there, like a lingering black cloud but sometimes it starts pouring with rain. I got to the point where menial tasks like tying my shoelaces took all the concentration and energy I had. I thought I would share some tips for pulling yourself out of a particularly bad period of depression.
1. Remind yourself of the good things.
Depression makes it really difficult to be grateful for the good things in your life. It seems like everything is terrible. So it’s important to remind yourself of all the good no matter how small it is. Whether it’s a stable job or a tv show you enjoy, all these things can help you feel better.
2. Get dressed in the morning.
It can be really tempting to wallow in the sadness, stay in your pyjamas and sleep. For me, getting dressed in the morning is the first step to having a better day. It makes you less likely to stay in bed and let the depression take you. Something like getting dressed is a big task when you are depressed but putting the effort in will make a difference.
3. Get out the house.
Whether it’s going for a walk or picking up milk from the shops, getting out of the house is good for you! You’ll probably feel like sitting inside in a dark room and crying or just doing nothing. But, if you force yourself out of the house to do small tasks, this is another thing which is a ‘fuck you’ to depression. All of these tips will ease the depression and stop it from growing worse. Allowing yourself to be depressed, however tempting, can be dangerous.
4. Keep busy.
When I’m depressed I find it really easy to sit and do nothing but think. Some thinking can be good but too much will lead you into an endless spiral until you are more depressed than you were to start with. How to stop this? I suggest keeping busy. Doing little bits of work or reading a book, anything that you need to focus on will help. Obviously it’s difficult to get motivated when depressed but any little thing you can muster up the energy to do will help. Do not get stuck inside your head.
5. Write things down.
Whether it’s lists of happy memories, songs you love, a plan for the week or all your thoughts. Writing things down helps to make it all seem more real. Writing down your feelings can be really useful, especially all the negative. Burn the paper afterwards or rip it to pieces, it really does provide some relief even if it sounds silly!
Do not, no matter how much it seems like the best idea, keep quiet. Open up to someone about what you are going through. A parent, partner, friend, doctor. Just talk to someone about things. Let them know you’re in a bad place and that you might need some help. Other people being aware is always good in case you get to a state of urgent care need.
7. Spend time with others.
Depression can make this hard. All you want to do is be alone and isolate yourself. But, if you make the effort to spend time with people, you will eventually feel a little better. Even if it’s just sitting inside and watching a movie. Having company means you are less likely to harm yourself and wallow in your own misery.
8. Professional help.
If things do not seem to be looking up, go to your doctor. If you’re not on medication or in counselling, these could both help. If you are on medication, it might need changing. Don’t be ashamed about needing help. Doctors are there to treat illnesses and depression is a very real and painful mental illness.
I know that all of this is much easier said than done! Trust me, I’ve been telling myself these things recently and had little energy to actually do anything. When I do muster up the energy though, it does help. Every little thing can make a difference and lift your mood slightly. This is the awful thing about depression: there are things to do which can make it more manageable but the depression makes doing these things seem impossible and pointless. The depression is lying to you. You are strong enough to get through this and hopefully some of these steps will help!