3 Ways to Boost Energy and Fight Depression.
Depression is a succubus.
It comes; it takes, leaving nothing but a dead shell behind. The creature saps our energy. We have trouble getting out of bed, moving away from the recliner, going outside; everything becomes a struggle.
I have fought this struggle for years. There was a time when I didn’t know it was depression.
Depression was normality.
Watching others, I knew I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t know why. Something was wrong with me. What was it?
My life is much better than most people. I have food, shelter, enough money to pay the bills and buy toys-yet I’m not happy.
It’s not sadness. I’m not angry, jealous, or any other emotional word. Depression is much more complex.
Most people without depression think it’s sadness. The word depression means:
4. Sadness; gloom; dejection.
5. Psychiatry - a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
9. Pathology - a low state of vital powers or functional activity.
Source: Dictionary.com https://www.dictionary.com/browse/depression
The mass public is easily confused by the simplicity of the word “sad”. Especially for those who respond, “Just be happy.”
I’ve been told that over and over. If you suffer with depression, I’m sure you have, too. That’s the problem. We can’t “just be happy”, otherwise we wouldn’t be depressed.
It’s more complex. My depression is caused by past events. Every person is different, with a different cause, a different experience, sucking away energy in their power source.
I was emotionally abused and witnessed physical violence throughout my childhood. Those events sit with me on a daily basis, eating away at my consciousness, sucking the energy out of my bones.
My life is much better than my childhood. I have nothing to be depressed about, yet I am.
It took a long time to realize I had a problem.
Depression was normality until I decided to go to counseling and risk talking about my life with some stranger.
It was the best thing I ever did.
Over the years, I came to accept that depression doesn’t mean I’m broken. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve happiness. It doesn’t need to rule my life.
I can own it.
I can defeat it.
Thus began the lifetime war on the shadow that creeps throughout my body. That war, like any war, requires weapons. I trained, finding the techniques that worked for me.
Here are three techniques for depression that I use every day.
1) Redirect your mind with task lists
Task lists are my number one weapon. They work hands down above everything else. By creating a list of tasks, I can force myself to get out of bed, off the recliner, and do something productive. I can check off the item, feeling a sense of completion, and move to the next.
Task lists keep my body and mind moving, which is the key to building energy. The succubus will still drain your well of energy, but you’ll build more than the demon can consume.
What do I put on my task list? Anything that gets me moving and achieves my daily goals.
For example, here’s a portion of my task list.
- Do the dishes
- Do the laundry
- Go for a walk
- Read for X hours - X is usually 1-2
- Write 2,000 words
- Work for X hours (I freelance, so I need this to keep my bills paid)
Add anything that you need to do in your daily routine. And make sure you add some fun things. My fun items are reading, writing, and walking. The rest keeps my body and/or mind moving.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t complete your task list. Some days the succubus wins and I only complete one or two items. Some days I complete everything and more. Some days I fall to the succubus’ advances and accomplish nothing.
Fighting depression is about building more good days and lessening the occurrence of bad days.
2) Instead of watching TV, kick start your mind by reading
I love TV. Not reality TV. Not talk shows. True visual storytelling with intricate plot lines and imagination. As I uncovered new weapons against depression, I found that TV is the enemy’s weapon.
No matter what I watch, TV slows my brain. If I binge it, I lose energy faster and faster, slipping into my depressive ways. It’s worse when the show isn’t intellectual or doesn’t have an intricate plot line.
*cough* Reality TV and talk shows, I’m looking at you and your addictive pull. *cough*
Those simpler forms feed the succubus in my mind, allowing my brain to go inactive, to flat-line. The enemy latches teeth into my brain matter and siphons the power.
Again, I love television. It was hard to realize it gives my depression power. I consider myself a cinephile - someone who loves movies.
How could I give that up?
I still haven’t, but I figured out how to replace it.
Beside my recliner, I have a stack of books. After every television episode, I turn to either my task list or pick up a book. If I pick up a book, I read for a half hour or more, usually more.
In the beginning, I read for a few minutes here and there, but as my brain acclimated to the changing atmosphere and fought the succubus back, I found myself not only reading more, but wanting to read more.
Today, unless my partner and I are binging a new season of Daredevil or The Magicians, I watch less TV and read more. When we aren’t binging, I’m watching shows I’ve already seen. My brain wants new information to fight the succubus, forcing me to pick up a book and devour its contents, instead of flat-lining in front of a screen.
Pro Tip: I try to only watch TV if I’m eating. My partner and I are on different schedules, so we don’t eat together, which means I consume my food in front of the television. Once an episode of StarGate, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Rick and Morty is finished, I force myself to turn the TV off and do something productive.
I don’t think I’ll ever cut television completely, but at least I know how to combat the negative effects.
Hopefully this helps some others fight the television screen, too.
3) Exercise - Not running, because running is for escaping psychotic bears!
Exercise is paramount to building energy for the fight against depression. Whatever that is, running, hiking, walking, biking, anything, it will give you the energy to keep yourself moving, away from TV, and raising your spirits.
I find walking and hiking to be the best exercise. Everyone recommends running, but I loathe running with a passion. If someone wants me to run, they need to drop a xenomorph, the creature from 1979’s Alien movie, behind me, then I’ll run… maybe.
Petting a xenomorph is on my bucket list, so I might get eaten instead.
Whatever exercise you choose, choose something you enjoy that gets your heart rate up. Running isn’t the only cardio exercise out there. A nice fast paced walk works perfectly for me.
What’s the point?
If you suffer from depression, give these three things a try. They help me on a daily basis and maybe they’ll help you, too.
As always, you’re allowed to be depressed. Don’t let anyone say you’re broken. Realize it’s OK to have issues, take up arms against the succubus, and fight back.
Own your depression. Win the battle.
© 2019 Willow Shire