Like most other illnesses, depression is a very personal thing. It hits different people in different ways and is therefore dealt with in different ways.
There is no one size fits all “cure” for depression, also, the reasons for it vary as much as the ways to deal with it.
From experience, it creeps up on you. People joke about “losing the will…”, but it’s exactly that. No energy, no….reason. One minute you’re on a path you’ve trodden many times before and then…you’re not. Metaphorically stood in the middle of nowhere, only it doesn’t feel metaphorical at all. And at the same time, it doesn’t matter.
With depression, it’s hard to say when it hits you because it doesn’t HIT and it’s hard to say when you’re far enough away from that bout, to consider yourself out of it.
What it does require is…
Understanding from people around you, furthermore, you don’t even have to know them all that well, they just need to understand, and to listen to you if you need to talk, and to talk if you just need to listen.
It’s a process, baby steps. It’s about setting goals and getting bus and staying busy. I must add that by this stage you will have already been pointed in the right direction towards coming out of it, whether by yourself or with help from others. The help you receive is there to “speed up” your recovery. Something or someone will have provided you with the “energy” you need to kick-start your recovery.
Did I miss something?
If I appear to have skipped something, it’s easier to describe the journey in and the steps to get out (and that’s not actually easy, just easier), than it is to describe the place where depression takes you. And on top of that, it’s different for everyone, every time…. There is no blanket explanation.
There is no conclusion here but…
If you feel, or know someone who may be susceptible to depression, here are a few things to bear in mind….Talk – Communication is healthy. Face to face. We hide behind emails, texts, social media (ironic, I know), they don’t beat actual reactions, intonations, emotional responses, how many times this week, or even just today, have you typed LOL and yet kept a straight face? Keep your numbers up. You don’t have to tell one person everything but you should have someone to confide in, you shouldn’t feel ashamed for doing so and trust is “flattering”. Two ears, one mouth. Listen, listen and then talk, in that order. It’s also a good time to consider making new friends or joining groups. Loneliness feeds depression. Loneliness and being alone are NOT the same things.
Diet and Exercise
Endorphins are your friend, in addition, regular exercise can be an effective antidepressant. Exercise helps reduce stress and “lifts your spirits” helping you to feel good.
Find something you enjoy doing or join a group or class. This also gives you something to look forward to daily or weekly…
And finally, cut out sugars and carbs and all the stuff that makes you lethargic, the so called “comfort foods”. They sap your energy and lower your mood.
Try to cut out stimulants like caffeine and alcohol too. Eat regularly and don’t miss meals. Aim for eating something healthy every few hours, substitute chocolate bars for fruits and drink loads of water, you’d be surprised at how much of a difference it all makes and not only for sufferers of depression….
Sleep and Wellbeing
Try to get a good eight hours of sleep per night. Chances are that if you’re not sleeping enough, you’re over-thinking things.
Planning helps. Plan out your day ahead, write things down, it helps. Manage your stress.
As a rule, if you CAN do something about then there’s no point worrying about it, and if you CAN’T do something about it, then there’s no point worrying about it.
Sunlight is good but daylight is adequate. Go for walks, eat al fresco, sit in the garden, whatever you can do to get 15-20 minutes of daylight under your skin.
Take the dog for a walk. If you don’t have a dog, get one (any pet will do). Having a dependant/companion to look after takes away a lot of selfishness and loneliness as does having an excuse to get out and about.
Depression does not have to be a life sentence.
It is both misunderstood and underestimated because it is largely invisible. I’m no professional, I can only speak from experience. I am sharing this with you because it helps me and it may help you. I’d like you to share your advice and experiences so that someone out there can see a light which was all too dim at one time or another in their lives.
There is nothing wrong with seeking professional advice if you feel that your depression is getting the better of you, or if you feel that someone close to you really needs it. It is treatable, remember that. Always.