How I Cope with Depression
My Experience with Depression
I have Bipolar Disorder and I cycle through different kinds of depression.
For me, not all depression is alike. Here are some distinct types I've experienced:
"I feel flat." Lack of emotion. Sometimes it feels like I'm outside of myself, watching everything. Activities are not enjoyable. Not much motivation. (Technical term: Apathy)
"I feel irritable." Short tempered. Snappy. Not nice to be around.
"I feel like crying all of the time." Lots of emotion. Everything makes me cry.
Other symptoms that I sometimes have are:
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Feeling physically achy.
- Not feeling happy with my life (even though it is going just as well as it was when I was feeling happy with it!)
Sometimes people also have an anxious type of depression, where the main symptom is anxiety. There are so many kinds of experiences.
Depression is a medical condition, and seeing a doctor is my #1 suggestion. I am not a doctor, and this is not a medical opinion.
I have had the most improvement when combining medication with these coping suggestions.
Tell Someone How you Feel
Tell a friend...
Tell a therapist...
Tell a family member...
Tell a cat or dog...
Tell a stuffed animal...
Tell your journal...
You are not alone. Tell someone. It really helps.
For some strange reason, I've found that just talking about how I'm feeling, makes me feel better. Maybe it's because it helps me to take action to do something about it. Or maybe it is because I know that I am not alone.
I've used all of the above "somebodies" to help me get through rough periods.
(Picture above is from http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkadog/3093763311/)
Supplements for Depression - be sure to check out the reviews :)
Always talk to your doctor before beginning a supplement.
Have you found a good supplement for depression?
Which one do you recommend the most?
Take a Walk (Almost) Every Day
Exercise Lifts Mood
It was easy advice that I read. Go outside. Walk 7 minutes in any direction. Turn around. Walk home. This was suggested on a website about mood disorders.
The easier something seems, the more likely I'll be able to do it when I'm depressed.
Maybe that will work for you too. I altered it a bit. If I walk around my neighborhood one time, I give myself one star on the calendar. If I walk around twice, I get two stars. For my route, walking twice around equals about a mile.
Here is a picture of a month during which I was really devoted to walking. It also helps to have a goal that I can try to meet each month. 15 miles was my goal, which meant walking twice around every other day.
I think a goal should be fairly easy so that you can actually accomplish it.
Why walk? Because it has been shown to boost mood.
Check out this news story: Post-Exercise 'Glow' May Last 12 Hours
Complete a Short To-Do List
The idea behind this is that every time you cross off something on your list, you will have the positive experience of knowing that you have completed a task.
It's important to create a short list of things that you know that you can actually do.
You want to set yourself up to succeed; not fail.
Break larger projects into smaller tasks. Be specific.
You can include things that you might not ordinarily put on a list, like getting dressed, brushing teeth, washing face. These are things you might not remember or feel like doing when you're depressed.
If you finish your list, and feel like it, you can create another short list.
A short list also works to keep you from being overwhelmed. It also will give you an accurate representation of what you actually achieved during the day. Sometimes I have distorted thoughts when I'm depressed (ex. "I can't do anything!") and if I know that I've been crossing off things on my list, then I know that can't be true.
Find a Diet that Works for You
There is an undeniable connection between food and mood.
It might not be easy, but you can figure out which food makes you feel worse and which makes you feel better.
I try to avoid or limit my intake of:
Foods high is refined Sugar
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
I try to eat more:
High Fiber Foods
High Protein Foods
Fish & Nuts (they contain Omega 3 fatty acids)
Everyone is going to be different. I also have hypoglycemia, which does have a significant effect on my mood, especially if I don't eat the right kind of foods. If I eat more fiber and more protein, then my blood sugar tends to stay more even, and I don't have such a roller coaster day.
I've found it hard to switch my diet completely, all at once. However, I've discovered that over time, bit by bit, I can change it by making different buying decisions at the grocery store and different selections when eating out.
I also find that if I snack on raw vegetables, I tend to feel better. I don't have an explanation for why this seems to help, but it does!
(Carrot picture is from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyntharyn74/3262089319/)
What do you think?
If you have more comments on this topic, I would love to hear from you in the guestbook section below!
Does changing what you eat help make you feel better?
Save up money for the down times.
No money = Lots of Stress = Bad for Moods
It's hard to work when I feel really down.
Having money problems can be a super big stresser.
Therefore, I try to always be ahead. I try to save money when I'm in my productive period, so that I have the extra money as a cushion.
Seth Godin talks about being one penny ahead here. I agree with him, there is a huge difference in life quality between being ahead and being behind.
It's hard to catch up once you're behind. It's easier to stay ahead.
(Picture is from http://www.flickr.com/photos/seychelles88/362428141/)