HOW TO SURVIVE DEPRESSION

Being depressed is an emotion and that emotion is a reaction to something that you usually have no control off, which is actually most of the time and so the body sends a little message to brain that you're trying to cope with whatever your going through. The body then starts to go into this exhausted, bag-full of emotions that's feeling one way one minute and completely different the next. Having experienced this overwhelming emotion a few times and more than I'd have liked to in my life, I'm going to share my advice on this rather crippling time to help you through and hopefully guide you out the other side of it. I'm not an expert and no it's not as simple as me just telling you how to get over it in 4 steps, it's much more complicated than that, but I have experience and sometimes I think it's better to talk to someone who really knows how it feels to live through similar experiences and gain some knowledge from them, at least for me I find that very comforting.

Over the years, life has dealt me some bad hand that resulted me heading into the dark world of being depressed and each time I've experienced it, I learn something very important about myself and it's simply this, I'm much braver and stronger than what I give myself credit for. After coming out the other side of many of these things I now realise that, but at the time I felt the weakest and most worthless being on the planet. I am so sympathetic towards anyone suffering with it and especially those doing it in silence, without anyone knowing. Believe me when I say you are an incredible being and that these feelings you have are just temporary and the hurt you now carry will pass in time. I could've choked someone if they told me this during those dark periods of my life but I now understand why they did it.

Whether you're facing job loss, death, break-up's, just had a baby, in debt or sickness, being depressed does not make you weak or useless. You belong to someone, a parent, child, grandchild, or friend, someone needs you and you should stick around to witness the change in your future, if not for your own sake, for those who count on you most. Though I believe you should do things for yourself, showing others that it can be dealt with, can really help the lives of others around you by setting an example and honestly all you have to do, is keep on living and getting out of bed in the mornings.

DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

My number one rule I made for myself several years ago after one of the biggest and scariest events in my life had happened to me was to do something every single day, that made me happy.
Every morning you wake, or afternoon, whichever works for you at this time, your first thought should be 'How can I make myself happy today'? Going a walk, doing a yoga workout, listening to your favourite songs, reading a book or helping someone else out? The simplest of things can make the biggest difference to your days during this time and so finding little things to make small changes during the day will definitely help. Doing something doesn't always involve spending money and when you have nothing, you soon learn you can do so much to make yourself happy without it. But don't worry if money is the problem and you can't cope without it, there are over 1,7 million people currently unemployed in the UK, you're not alone feeling this way and life is dismal without it if we're honest with ourselves.

TAKE CARE OF THE SLEEP PATTERN

I know what it's like to not feel tired until the wee hours of the morning and not get out out bed until midday. It doesn't matter how much you do, stress keeps you awake and the brain alert and panicked, so sleep doesn't want to come naturally. I honestly don't judge anyone for doing this. However, keeping to a routine of going to bed early and getting up early really, really helps. You have to discipline yourself and I know how hard it is, you've no drive and your body feels like a lead weight but you've got to do this for your own sake and so I would encourage you to always keep the alarm set. I used to sleep around 4 or 6 am in the morning and not wake up until midday feeling like a total zombie mess. My eating habits were all over the place and I felt nauseous all the time and I got plenty of headaches to go along with it because sleep is the absolute key to good health, phyiscally and mentally. My advice for a good night's sleep is to make sure you do something relaxing before bedtime to get your body into the zone. Another tip I found useful from a friend was to only wear pyjamas a few hours before bed instead of all the time, it helps with training the brain when to sleep and when it's actually time to relax. Wear clothes during the day, even if you don't leave the house and slip on the PJ's just before bed. Try and nail a decent sleep pattern and just see and feel the difference in your health, alertness and motivation levels.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
Don't just keep to the same routine every single day, change it up. Break the habit of the same old same old, after all, variety is the spice of life and what a better way to overcome those depressed thoughts than by doing something new. I would go through periods of feeling extremely claustrophobic if I couldn't leave the house, I felt trapped by it and leaving it was so important for me during unemployment. One of the most important things any human can do for themselves, depressed or not, is to get out of the house and get some fresh air. A 30 minute walk in the park is more than enough, if that's all you can manage. Don't rush it, just take a little dander around the trees and take in all the fresh air you can get. Sit on the bench and close your eyes, keep the phone out of sight, out of mind and just be as you are. This is also a great time to do some meditation but we'll discuss that later on. No matter what you get up to just make sure you leave the house more than once a week. interaction with other human beings is vital for your mental health at this point, the fresh air and coloured surroundings are all proven to help the mind refocus and gain control of it's emotions.

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EXERCISE

Going with the previous note of getting out of the house and meditation, I highly recommend making it a high priority to either meditate or do some sort of physical exercise such as yoga, HIIT class or maybe going to the gym if that's what you prefer and first thing in the morning. Nothing helped me through more than doing Yoga first thing in the morning's with my lovely teacher in the comfort of my own home, simply streaming from YouTube. It didn't cost me a penny and it made me feel so much better mentally, as well as physically. It gave me a new sort of energy and helped balance out my days. Meditation is another great form exercise and mostly for the mind but so is writing and keeping a diary. Try something at least twice a week to start and see how you feel. For me it really helped me keep focused. I did Yoga almost every day, meditated twice a week using the app 'Headspace' (which I highly recommend) and kept a diary with lots of writings about how I felt and although it sounds so cliche, I wouldn't recommend something if it didn't work and this made a huge difference to how I felt and lived through it all.

I don't know what you're going through right now or are about to face ahead of time but as someone who has been through more than you would suspect, I completely understand how you're feeling and how horrible depression is. It might be a completely normal reaction, but it's awful to experience and it can distance you from those you love. I learnt just how important it was to take care of the smaller things in life and myself. Pampering, lots of tears and using all four of these little rituals each day helped me through so many dark days and I hope they do for you too.

These four main points I've made aren't a message to preach at you but to really give you something to focus on doing that will make a difference to your life during this time. You're not a failure but a work in progress and the dream can still be a reality. Just go with the motions and deal with whatever your going through in your own time, never rush to get to the other side, you've got to ride it out and just keep going until it passes. You can do it, it's possible, I've witnessed so many family members do it and my parents really set the example for me. In truth, they're my rock and my best friends and without their constant support and love I couldn't have come through what I have and with a smile on my face every morning I wake. We're all so lucky to be alive and I cherish every day I have, no matter the circumstances in which I live in. I hope this helps, all my love

Laura x

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