Today is my 35th birthday. I am experiencing so much gratitude for making it this far. I’ve attempted suicide multiple times. I’ve been depressed for over half my life and today, today things are good.
I am proof that it gets better.
I wouldn’t say I’ve cured my depression but I do consider it to be in remission. It’s something that I haven’t experienced in any significant form for three years.
The cause of depression is different for everyone. For some people, it’s influenced by outside circumstances. For others, it’s hormonal or caused by other illnesses. And for some people, their brains just don’t produce the right amount of chemicals. That’s why we can’t ever give a one-size-fits-all answer to how to battle depression. Everyone is different. Some people need therapy, meds, or a combination of both. While other people feel better by changing their diet and exercising. I primarily focused on self-care for the mind with mantra, meditation, and focusing on changing the way my brain processed things.
That’s why I love sharing as many tips as possible because while not all of them will work for you, there’s a good chance that at least one of them will help. We’ve just got to find the combination that works for us. Here are some ways you can battle depression.
1. Seek Help
Therapy. Therapy. And therapy. I can’t stress this one enough. No matter how you decide to treat your depression having a safe place to talk about your feelings is probably one of the most important aspects. It may be difficult to seek help, but online depression therapy is a great solution. It removes the fear of face-to-face meetings, and still delivers the guidance you need.
2. Speak To Others
As well as professional advice, it is worth looking for support groups or talking to your friends and family. Even when you’re making strides to battle your depression, you can still have really bad days and it’s so important that the people in your life know what those bad days look like so that they can get you help if you’re not in a place to help yourself.
You don’t have to stay silent about it. You are not a burden. Those bad days are temporary but sometimes we aren’t able to see that, so make sure that you’re open and honest with the people in your life. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m struggling a lot today and I need help.”
3. Try To Stay Positive
I know, I know, you can think-positive depression away, but sometimes it helps (just a tiny bit) to know that there are people who love us and things that are going right, even when depression tells us otherwise. I used to keep a shoebox full of love notes from my friends and I’d read them when I was having a hard time. It helped.
I simply asked on Facebook if my friends could send me a sweet message that I could print out and save to read on bad days and it helped so much. Even when depression was telling me no one cared, I had those beautiful, tangible letters to read and look back on. Knowing how to celebrate your achievements and appreciate what you have can make the hard times just a little bit more bearable.
4. Move Your Body
This one is hard because most people with depression (myself included) have absolutely no desire to move any more than we have to. BUT if we can convince ourselves to go out for a walk, do a yoga routine, or anything that gets the blood moving and those happy brain-chemicals producing – we should. The release of endorphins has a big impact and sometimes it’s enough to make a bad day better.
5. Take Care of the Outside
When I’m deep in my depression, it’s hard to shower, brush my teeth, or care about my hair so focusing on those things can help me feel – well – human again. Take a nice long bath with wonderful smelly things. Use your favorite lotion. Put on your favorite cute outfit, try a new hairstyle, or do a face mask.
6. Write Things Down
Write down your feelings. Putting your thoughts down on paper can be cathartic and help you to see them in a different light. It can also help you keep track of the things that trigger your depression.
7. Quit Bad Habits
We all have bad coping skills and often they do nothing to help our depression. Over-eating and listening to sad songs is mine. But drinking, substance abuse, and other toxic habits can help us feel better in the moment but overall they just make things worse. Combatting those demons is better for us and helps us feel like we have some sort of control over our lives and that can help as well.
8. Quit Toxic People
On a similar note, it may be necessary to cut out toxic people from your life or at the very least – set better boundaries. The people around us have more power over us than we’re often able to see. Setting boundaries can make a huge difference.
9. Find Distractions
Again, when you’re depressed, it’s hard to be motivated to do very much but often, getting excited about finding a new hobby can have a huge positive effect. It’s a way to redirect a lot of that energy that’s weighing us down. See if trying something new (and time/energy/attention consuming) can help lift the depression a little.
10. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Finally, whatever happens, be kind to yourself. Depression is fairly normal. It doesn’t make you defective. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy and it’s not something that will last forever. There’s a way through it that’s right for you (it just unfortunately takes a lot of trial and error for some people.)
It gets better.