Depression and You
Welcome to an advice session on Depression, with me your host, a person who is highly unqualified to talk about it, but what the heck! This is a list of things to do to try and make yourself feel less like shit. Disclaimer, I am not an expert in any way, I just happen to have depression. Another disclaimer, depression is different for everyone, so what may work for one person may not work for the next. So here we go... off on an adventure in Depression-land. (That makes it sound like the world's worst theme park.)
Alcohol is a No-No.
Alcohol is a depressant. Something that us people with depression don't really need any more of. You may feel great after drinking a little but I can almost guarantee that the next day when you get up your brain will be screaming at you in some dramatic way "WHY?!?!?" while you try your best to get on with your day (or in my case try to get out of bed.)
This doesn't mean that you can't still go out with your friends and have a good time. Just because everyone else is drinking does not mean you have to as well. People may call you a buzzkill or a party pooper, but you can still have fun! One time in college I went to a party in my apartment complex and walked around with a red solo cup that I had filled up with Mott's Apple Juice at my apartment. I would run out I would excuse myself for a couple of minutes to run back and get some more. Had a blast and even got to witness my friends make total fools of themselves. So yes, I will gladly be called a buzzkill or a party pooper, but at least I won't dance on a table and fall off of it just before throwing up all over my crush. Ah, college.
People Just Do Not Get It.
For people that don't have or have never had depression, it's hard to understand what it is like. They don't understand that even when we are smiling and seem to be having a good time, that we would be in the deepest part of our depression. They will read something online or in a book and suddenly become experts at "fixing you". As much as it is appreciated that they are trying to help, one WebMD article does not an expert make. I have heard it all "You don't seem depressed." "But you are so happy!" "I know! I am soooooo depressed! My wifi was down for like an hour last night." "Since you are happy today, is your depression cured?" "Just don't think about it." "Back in my day we didn't have anything for being sad, we just got over it!"
Sit down with loved ones and tell them how depression is for you. Understand though, that even if you talk to them about it, they still won't fully understand. If talking seems too hard, write them a letter. I wrote a letter to my parents to tell them about my depression, mostly because I would sob uncontrollably while even trying to mention it, thinking I somehow let my parents down for having depression in the first place, but also to make sure I told them everything I wanted to tell them. I sometimes still write them letters when I feel like I can't get something across to them by having a sit-down conversation (and it has been over 4 years since I told them). After talking to them, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off of me and I was able to get the help I needed with the support of my loved ones.
Take a "Me" Day.
If you take away just one thing from this article, let it be this. If you need it, take a day for yourself! Take the day to reset your mental state and feel better. Mental Health days are a lifesaver, in some cases more than just figuratively. Sleep in, have a self-care spa day, read that book that you have been meaning to read but haven't had the time, write a novel on aliens that take the form of cats to take over Earth and enslave the human race! DO WHAT YOU WANT! (Unless it involves some sort of murder/crime).
If you are having a bad day, tell people. Just tell people, "Hey, I'm having a bad day today." People may ask why and you don't have to tell them, though I always find it fun to say something like, "I have crippling depression and it's kicking my ass," or making a rainbow arch with my arms like SpongeBob and saying "DEPRESSION". (I'm weird, what can I say.)
Medication and Meditation
Ah yes. The M&Ms of Depression. Not only are we depressed, but we also have cool acronyms! The first M is Medication. It's there for a reason. Doctors will not force something on you that won't help. You may have to try a few different types of medications before you find something that will work for you. To make it even easier on you, there is even a type of blood test now that allows you to see which medications will work best with your body! If medication doesn't work for you, you don't have to take it. It's a personal choice and one that may or may not help/work.
The next M, meditation, is also something that may or may not work for you as an individual. I may sound nuts, but yoga and meditation have helped me significantly with my depression. It also helps with the debilitating migraines that I get frequently. I have tried out various methods of meditation but have found that what I like best is an app called Simple Habit (not sponsored, just really love them!). There are lots of free meditations that you can do, as well as some paid ones, and a lovely on-the-go section where you can pick different types of meditation for panic attacks, tough day, sleep, etc. A similar app that I also use is called Calm. I use this one mainly to listen to white noise while I get ready for bed. Other suggestions, take a course at your local gym or watch a youtube video on it!
Keep Your Brain Busy
When you aren't doing anything, your brain has time to think about and wallow in its depression. My doctor gave me a few suggestions on how to help with this such as take a course in-person (not online), study places outside of your home, go for daily walks and hang out with friends. Just getting out and doing something will help keep your brain away from that depressive hole in the universe we talked about earlier. There is nothing worse than being left alone with your thoughts all day.
100cc's of Cuteness, STAT!
Have you ever seen a video of a baby goat running around and doing jumps off of other baby goats? It's the most ridiculously cute thing I have ever seen in my life! It gives me a mood boost and keeps my brain off of the depression. Sometimes I need a cuddle with one of my dogs/cats (I have a lot of animals). Sometimes I need to watch a compilation of vines called something like "Vines that cured my depression" or "Vines that butter my croissant", weird I know, but so funny! Whether it's a cute animal or something that makes you clutch your sides from laughter. Find something that gives you a mood boost and use that to your advantage whenever you feel the need.
This is the part where you would find one of those generic "Hang in there!" posters with the cat dangling from a tree branch, but instead you find me, an average human (totally not an alien in the form of cat trying to take over the human race), telling you that you are amazing, that you are not alone, and that you are a BAMF! Remember to talk to someone about it, whether that's family, friends, teachers, counsellors, me (the totally normal human being).
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Hanah De Laurell