4 Tips on Dealing with Depression
Through Darkness Comes Light
Self-loathing, listlessness, the inabillity to feel pleasure, the inability to feel ANYTHING. Depression is awful.
However, despite how unbearable it may seem at the time, there are a few skills I have accumulated over several years of struggling on and off, which make me feel like a PRO at dealing with the disease that some people call the “black dog”.
I'd like to share these tips with you, to help you to get through.
1) Look Forward
This one works in two ways; first, the obvious: look forward to a brighter time ahead. Even untreated depression doesn't usually surpass an eight month period, and with treatment, these episodes can be significantly shortened. Although it feels like Hell right now, it is a temporary discomfort. It is going to pass, and you're going to be OK.
The other way in which this statement works is in the more traditional sense of “looking forward to something.” I have found that booking to go to events, or to a place I've never been before, has worked really well to distract from a low mood and even to relieve it.
Whatever floats your boat – go to a gallery, to see a band, for a walk around a picture-esque area. Something you would enjoy, were you not depressed. It will help to lift those low spirits.
This might sound completely counter-productive, but, when managed correctly, it can work! I find that setting an amount of time where I am just allowed to be depressed, to listen to The Smiths and cry.
To frown so hard that my face feels like it is actually being pulled down by an invisible force and will never be normal again. This is cathartic, it helps, if you enjoy to write, write about how depressed you are. Do all this on your own: non-depressed people don't appreciate it...
It will help your healing process and you will LAUGH about it next time you're well — which will happen before too long, I promise.
3) Play an Instrument
Okay, so as a musician, I am biased on this one, but I truly believe that it helps MASSIVELY. If you're depressed, feeling worthless, lacking motivation, lacking ANYTHING, pick up an instrument. It can be one you have played before or a brand new instrument.
Get a hold of some simple, easy to read and easy to play sheet music. Play. If you don't want to read then just playing will still help but not as much as less of your brain will be occupied. It's rewarding, confidence-building, mood-lifting and something that will enhance your life forever.
Walking is something somebody advised me to do in my first depressive episode, when I was so desperate I would have done ANYTHING to feel well. The first time is the scariest: you don't have the experience to have the confidence that it will ever end. Walking is the thing that helped me the MOST in this difficult time.
It boosts your self-esteem: you don't feel like SUCH a waste of space, the fresh air is good for you, and the rhythm of your own steps helps you to be creative. Maybe afterwards you could go and make up your own song on that instrument?
Different things work for different people, but I am confident that the above four are sound advice for anybody in need. Eating well, looking after yourself cosmetically, and keeping busy/distracted are also things I would condone but they're not always – the first two especially – that easy to stick to.
I hope that this helps and that you or whoever you are thinking of as you read this feels well soon!