Coping with depression / depressive episodes can be painfully difficult.
I have not written a post in what may well be an entire month, as I have been swinging between depression and self-destructive behaviours.
I am not the only one in my household with a diagnosis of depression – my partner does too. So, I thought I’d write a little something about how to deal with depression, be it yourself or a loved one.
Before I begin on this one, a little disclaimer in that I am not giving personal advice and this list is by no means exhaustive – these are just some of the things I have found helpful. So please don’t hate me if these don’t work for / apply to you!
Rest and recuperate
First off, if you want to spend the day in bed, then spend the day in bed. Obviously not if you’re going to leave any children or pets unfed! But if you can, then do it. Don’t feel guilty about it. Mental health is as important as physical health and what would you do if you were physically unwell? Take a day to rest. So why should mental health be any different?
Also, pro tip, if someone tells you they are depressed (or anything else), don’t tell them to exercise *eye roll*. Yes, exercise is good for you and gives you all those happy hormones, but don’t come along and tell them they’ll be better if they exercise. It is not that simple and chances are they won’t open up to you again after that!
Make things easy for yourself
Get some quick and easy foods for the house.
We don’t all have someone who can / will cook for us and when you are feeling low, making food feels like a huge chore.
I have just come home from the supermarket where I picked up some quick and easy foods. In our cupboard we have microwave packs of rice, noodle pots and canned soups. We also have a few frozen pies and frozen veg but they can also feel a bit like too much hassle.
These may not be the healthiest of choices, but otherwise I know my partner won’t eat anything at all. If I can pop a pack of rice in the microwave for 3 minutes and know that he is getting something to eat, that’s all that matters.
On the other hand, there’s eating your feelings!! I am guilty of this one. I keep carrots, hummus, yoghurts in the fridge so at least if I am going to eat everything it’s a little bit controlled! However, if you order a pizza every time you feel crappy or every time you have something coming up that is messing with your emotional state, don’t beat yourself up. It is what it is.
Don’t keep it all in
Cry if you want to cry.
Let someone know if you need help.
Or, if you don’t want any help, just give someone a hug. You don’t need to tell them why if you don’t want to. (On a related note, anyone tried those weighted blankets? Curious to know if they help!)
If your partner is depressed, ask them what you can do for them. Don’t say ‘can I do anything’ because you’ll most likely get a no. Try ‘what can I do?’, then you might get somewhere. Even if my partner says there’s nothing I can do, I let him know I’m here when he wants me.
I do also tend to do little things like stocking up the cupboards with things he can eat easily or picking up a little chocolate or milkshake or something on the way home.
Work out a plan for the future
When you are feeling better, it’s a good idea to make a plan for when / if it happens again. You can do this with basically anything else too – anxiety, BPD, whatever.
Basically just work out what triggers you, what the signs are that you’re deteriorating, what you or a friend/loved one can do to help.
I saw a comment on Twitter the other day, where an account that promoted men’s mental health had said ‘avoid medical professionals at all costs’. It may just be me, but I thought that was shocking advice.
Yes, we have probably all had ‘that time’ where we were let down or disappointed by a medical professional, but that doesn’t mean to avoid all of them forever. Or, to advise other people to do so.
Asking for help takes a lot of courage and although it’s really the luck of the draw when it comes to things like therapy, Talking Therapies are so important. And, don’t be embarrassed to take medication to feel better. Like I said previously, mental health is just as important as physical health.
Is there anything else you do to cope with depression?
Let me know in the comments x