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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Tips to help you battle with depression

You’re so depressed you can’t get out of bed. You’re so anxious you can’t stop moving. Maybe both. That latest medication or complementary treatment seems to be helping. Or you’re thinking nothing’s ever going to work. Regardless, simply getting through the day is a challenge. I've been there. In fact, I'm still dealing with it. Here are some things I am trying that might help you as well:

Start by taking small steps. Lying in bed wishing you could just pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep? It’s OK to keep lying there. Maybe do one small thing that might make you feel a bit better. Like smile for ten seconds. Or stretch a little. I know you don’t feel like smiling or stretching. But give it a shot. Maybe you can manage to get up but don’t feel like doing anything. Make some tea or coffee, go to a comfortable chair and look out a window. Sit outside if the weather’s OK.

Go for a run. Everyone knows how important exercise can be to mental health. It not only produces endorphins but can give you a feeling of accomplishment. There’s no need to do some heavy-duty workout. If you don’t feel like running, walk. If you don’t feel like walking, stroll. Just move your body a bit each day. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Get a massage. Whether you’re depressed or anxious, massage is one of the best ways to be kind to yourself. So are other “hands-on” treatments, such as craniosacral therapy and Reiki. Plus, scheduling a massage every week gives you something to look forward to. If you can’t afford one, ask your partner or a friend. They don’t have to have any special skills. My only caveat would be that deep massage techniques like shiatsu or rolfing can bring up emotional stuff. So it’d be best of the person doing it has experience massaging clients with depression and mania.

Repeat after me. When you’re depressed, being asked to think positively can be like asking someone who’s color blind to see red. But you can pretend to think positively. Again, just for a few seconds, or a minute. Say to yourself, or out loud, “I feel fabulous. I feel fabulous. I feel fabulous.” Think of it like a mantra, or a prayer, or the way children “make believe” in order to have different experiences.

Write or draw. Describing your experience can give you little distance from it. I wrote a lot of e-mails when I was going through my breakdown. Knowing there was someone out there listening helped get those thoughts out of me instead of just rolling around in my head. Drawing can also help get things unstuck. You don’t have to be an artist. Scribbling is just as effective. Use lots of colors.

Talk to Friends. This one’s a bit tricky. Because most friends want you to feel better so badly, they often make suggestions that make you feel more inadequate. It’s OK to ask a friend to just listen. Just listen. To only make suggestions if you ask for them. It’s also OK not to talk. Marilyn Monroe, of all people, said: “It’s often just enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone.”

Cry and scream. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It’s a way to let go. Find a safe place to just let it go…let it go. 
Be kind to yourself. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t think, “I shouldn’t have a broken leg.” But if you’re depressed, it’s easy to think, “I shouldn’t be depressed,” or “I should calm down.” In our culture, we pride ourselves on pushing through things. When you’re depressed, however, “beating yourself up” only increases your sense of helplessness. It’s OK if you aren’t as much fun to be around. It’s OK if you’re not as productive as usual. You don’t have a broken leg…you have a broken heart. And it takes time to heal.

I really hope this helps. I’m still learning to deal with my feelings and I make it a point to remind myself that it's ok to go through this. It is a test, I will pass it and so will you.
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