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How I Cope with Depression

Updated on June 28, 2011

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/)

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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:

Caffeine

Alcohol

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)

Whole Grains

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?

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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/)

What are your thoughts on Depression? - and what are your suggestions for coping with it?

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    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Blessed

    • profile image

      tomaztt 5 years ago

      i hate depression! it can crawl to anyone in the world. it does not look on person. it does not matter if you are homeless or the richest person in the world, family man o the president of the world :) many times it is spiritual opression. No medicine can put this away, I found out that only in Jesus Christ in accepting Him as your Savior and Healer that can make you FREE. And I LOVE IT! :) be blessed be cured, be in peace of your mind and in peace of your life!

    • BenJacklin LM profile image

      BenJacklin LM 5 years ago

      great info on a sensitive subject. Getting out and about is my main tip, make sure you get fresh air and sunshine whenever possible.

    • CleanWater LM profile image

      Magrietha du Plessis 5 years ago from South Africa

      Bipolar is very difficult fro me to cope with,the depression part is horrible and I am going to try you tips and see if I can nudge myself in a direction.

    • modernchakra profile image

      modernchakra 5 years ago

      Thanks again for sharing. You are quite inspiring. Take care.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Came back to google +1 this gem. Wishing you well and much love, Rose

    • David Dove profile image

      David Dove 6 years ago

      An outstanding, common sense lens on this most difficult of subjects, thank you. Getting the message out there that it's different for everyone and there is no quick fix will help everyone.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Your definitions of the types of depression seem to be right on the mark. I suffer from the 'my life is crap' version more than any, and every single little task seems to be monumental and a "waste of time anyway, because it wont make my life any better". Diet is a contributory factor, and I have found that soda is one of the worst things of all! On top of that I have been going through peri-menopause for around 10 years now (started at 38...ugh) and I have found that there are some really good menopause herbal combination supplements that work for me most of the time. The trouble with hormones is knowing how much to take, because either too much or too little has the same effect of being off-balance. Sorry to hear that you have your own 'cross to bear', but you seem to be tackling it in a positive way. Bravo!

    • JillY88 profile image

      JillY88 6 years ago

      My mother-in-law is going through a hard time at the moment, crying all the time. It is hard to know what to say to her. I am glad that I found your lens, thank you.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      This is a really useful lens by someone who's been there. I've experienced depression and I've tried everything you mentioned here -- diet, exercise, medication, therapy -- and it really requires a multi-pronged approach. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      grannysage 6 years ago

      A very important and difficult to talk about subject. Thank you for sharing your story. I have depression and anxiety and you are right, you can't just talk yourself out of it. It is really a chemical change in your brain, and medication is needed to balance them. I tried St. John's Wort when I didn't have money for my antidepressant. I thought it was working just fine until I realized I was thinking a lot about dying. Since getting medication, I have also been working on thinking positive thoughts as an additional therapy. My husband says that since I started making Squidoo lenses I've been a lot happier. So maybe we should add that to the list of therapies that work.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      @anonymous: Thank you Tipi. I've heard lots of good things about vitamin D lately. It's on my list of things to try.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      @sousababy: Thank you Rose. I sure can relate to your description of depression! If only we can remember what being well feels like when we're depressed, that's sure to win part of the battle.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      @grannysage: Squidoo makes me happy too. It's a creative outlet, a place to belong to, and just a place filled with so many amazing people. There is something about Squidoo that attracts really intelligent, caring, and creative people...... It's not just a content farm, that's for sure!!

      Thanks for your comment on the St John's Wort too. I know many people find it helps with mild depression, but as with any medication or supplement, its effectiveness can change over time. I've never tried it but do rely on Lithium Orotate... I've been on it for 4 or 5 years now. I'm lucky that it does work for me.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Oh you have done such a wonderful job factoring in the easiest ways to help someone through depression. When I am in depressed, I feel like 'the walking dead' and nothing (even good things) don't matter. It is a scary place to be and when I am 'well' I almost can't believe how dismal I felt my life was (while depressed). Thank you so very much hotbrain for featuring my lens in your sidebar widget. I will be lensrolling this to some of mine. Have a wonderful and happy weekend. Fondly, Rose

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You are in my hearts prayers. I've gone through some depressive times and understand some of what your're saying here. Depression is complicated and there are no easy answers other than to do more of what you know works for you. I do notice that St. John's Wort and D3 are helpful. May life be sweeter for you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great Lens. Everything is spot-on. I agree that seeing a doctor and medication is the first step. Without it you may think that you have gotten somewhere, but then you have a bad day and wonder why you bothered and if this is really worth it. With the correct medication it is all worth it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I think this such an important topic and great that you would share your own experiences could help others know they are not alone.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      I've been looking at depression from a spiritual perspective over the last couple of years. I've realized that the body will in fact die if the brain chemistry is not conduce to activating the muscles. Depression is a lot more serious than we likely realize, as I believe it's a sign that someone is losing life energy, and they really are at greater risk for death- accidents, illness, malnutrition, etc. I've been able to 'turn it around' without medication, but have also absolutely needed medication in order to move the body again. Great lens, angel blessed.

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 6 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      You have good suggestions for coping with this difficulty. You are helping so many people by sharing your experience and how you made things better. Good luck!