The struggle is real! We have all been depressed at some time or another. Things happen of which we have no control over. We react and we respond. Some of these uncontrollable and unexpected events lead us to feelings of depression. This is known as situational depression.
However, if like myself, you have been diagnosed with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), then you feel depressed at times (or sometimes a lot of the time) for no apparent reason. No different than many others who struggle with depression, a regimen of various psychiatric medications is part of my daily routine.
Thirty years ago, I balked at the idea that I would need to take medication and that I couldn’t fix this. Of course I could fix it. I can fix anything! I can do anything!
Time and time again it was shown to me that I couldn’t fix it on my own. The biggest step for me was to accept my depression. I needed to accept the fact that medication was necessary for me to live a somewhat normal life. And so it goes. But that wasn’t enough. Medication alone doesn’t work. It gives me a baseline to work with. However, there are days which are more challenging than others. And so over the years, I have discovered this…
10 Ways to Get Un-Depressed
- Go to a happy place – This is a real or imagined place. If I can’t leave my home, then this is a picture in my head. Other times, this is a favorite park of mine or hiking trail or even a trip to the coast.
- Rest – Sometimes this might mean a nap. Other times it means relaxing in a chair or on the couch or laying outside on the grass. It becomes my own personal time-out.
- Take a shower/bath – Sometimes a long hot shower will seem to drain the angst right out of me. When in the bath tub, lots of bubble bath, yummy smells, and candles seem to whisk my mind and body elsewhere.
- Using 5 senses – Do something using one of the 5 senses (hear, see, smell, touch, taste). Having my dog lay in my lap and petting him gently is a great way to help with depression.
- Get out – Get out of the house, work, car or wherever one is currently residing. New scenery, new noises, and new smells can work wonders.
- Phone a friend – Having someone to call who is a “safe” person. This person knows about your struggles and will listen without judgment. This friend or individual is also referred to as a “nontoxic” individual (that is a future blog post).
- Pampering – Doing something affordable to treat oneself. This can be as simple as an ice cream cone, manicure, or a new outfit. Or if the funds are available, this can be a vacation or just one night away.
- Exercise – The idea here is to engage in some sort of activity, however slow or difficult. One can take a walk, run, do yoga, go for a swim, engage in simple stretching exercises…this can be anything. Mostly it means moving and doing!
- Arts & Sciences – Engage in a hobby or start a new one, listen to music or read a book, gaze at and name the constellations. Whatever is chosen in this area, do it mindfully.
- Distraction – This is anything and everything to distract the horrible feelings associated with depression. This can be any of the nine areas mentioned above or something totally different. The idea is to occupy the brain with something else and distract from the negativity.
I’m the first one to admit that any and all of these ideas can be extremely difficult when immersed in the thick cloud of depression. It is really hard sometimes to move out of the deep abyss of depression. It takes practice and a whole bunch of it.
The more I try different ideas to deal with my depression then the longer my personal list becomes. Personally, having a list of proven activities that have worked in the past gives me more options to try in the future. However, it’s more than just trying different ideas.
Write down your own 10 Ways to Get Un-Depressed
Have this list readily available. Use it as a resource and a reference. Share it with someone you trust so they can suggest ideas from your list when you are struggling. Make duplicate copies and place them in convenient places throughout your home and other locations. The most important point here is to have a plan. This can be referred to as your “Depression Escape Plan.”
Please try not to get discouraged when one of your ideas doesn’t work. I have found over the years that some of my go-to ideas only work in certain situations and the other way around. Not every stage of depression is the same and so not every idea is going to work in every situation.
Don’t worry! As I’m sharing this with everyone, I am also reminding myself. The struggle is real and the work is hard. But, my depression and I don’t fight so much anymore. Now, I tend to wrap my arm around him and just carry him with me. I can’t fight him and I can’t make him go away. So, all I can do is learn how to live with him. That’s all any of us can do!
I would love to hear about your 10 ways to get un-depressed. You can comment with your ideas or you can email me directly. I wish you all good mental health!