It goes without saying that what I am about to suggest doesn’t replace a psychiatrist, a therapist, or appropriately prescribed medication. Also anyone that is actively suicidal ought to engage with emergency services immediately. I would suggest though that those things require what I’m about to suggest to be truly effective over the longterm.
Depression feeds itself through our thoughts, our relationships, and our behaviors. We can be COMPLETELY unaware of how our depression gets fed and how we can starve it. We can starve depression and feed our desire to get outta bed, make a phone call, get the laundry out of the dryer, eat broccoli, you know- live. Now let’s go through the areas that concern us.
Supports: Depression keeps us isolated or around negativity. Who brings you up out of the quicksand? There are familiar people in your life that are HUGELY toxic or at the very least as unhelpful as headbutting a brick wall to calm an upset stomach. Surround yourself with people who care and are not trying to throw passive aggressive jabs at you every 5 minutes. Such a person can clean the windows while you load the dishwasher or go with you to shop when you feel like you have no energy to do anything without another human there to do it with you. If you don’t have people like that in your life 12-Step groups, support groups, online supports are a way to start connections. The sooner we start the sooner the connections can help and grow. Healthy connections are as important as medicine. We need them to thrive.
Physical Health: Depression wants us laying down while eating deep fried hot dogs in a donut bun or cocoa puffs in a bowl of vodka. Food effects mood and is huge in creating depression or joyful motivation. Perfectionism sets us up to only eat grapeleaves and water which will definitely lead us back to the deep fried hotdogs.
Try to go for no alcohol (its a depressant. You know makes depression. If you drink regularly see a doc before stopping. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal).
Eat things that are as positive as possible. Salad with fried chicken on it is better thank a bucket of KFC, a mushroom omelet with sweet potatoe fries is better than bacon and home fries.
Get a doctor to check your blood and urine levels. Diabetes or low vitamin D can play a huge role in our mood.
Thought Life: Depression controls our perceptions and only allows us to see what it points to. Positives and potential options erase or become so diminished they are barely seen. Focusing on the positives isn’t denying the hard stuff or walking around pretending the worlds fine. Its seeing the whole inventory of our lives. Making gratitude lists, writing down or repeating phrases that contradict our negative thoughts, and envisioning potential positive outcomes are all ways to do this. Remembering success if the past and taking in positive feedback from people we trust is absolutely essential. Don’t minimize or discount these things.
They are life. Write down 3 achievable goals everyday and when you complete anyone of them scratch it off the list like you just conquered Normandy beach. Celebrate it especially when it was a fight to accomplish it.
Environment: What music are you listening to, books are you reading, shows are you watching? Not being puritanical but if you’re absorbing things that make it worse maybe switch to neutral or even hope/ joy producing?
When is the last time that you were in nature? Being outside of a false environment infront of a tree or looking out at a creek can change us. Escape from the dry wall prison as often as possible. It is restoring and reseting. Frequency matters. Don’t go for 5 minutes and say “that didn’t work.” Go, go again, repeat.
Like pets but don’t have 1? Visit a pet store and breath in all the puppy and kitten love. Like plants but have killed fake flowers in your life? Go to a garden section of a store just to have the sensory experience.
Bringing in natural light to your home or cleaning up a specific thing (no food waist on the counters or no dishes in the sink may be challenging. Asking a friend to help or taking a half step on some of these things can be huge. Getting 1 window open or just taking out the dishes to the sink can be a huge success depending on where you’re depression is in the moment.
Anyone one if these changes is great. Together they are life changing.
Let me know what you think and what content you’d like.