Please always remember that there is no quick fix for any mental health issue. In order to overcome it, you have to address your problem and ask for help a mental health professional. There are many mental health institutions where you can find professional support. Suffering in secret is never a good idea. Mental health professionals are out there to help people with any type of mental health issue. Don’t minimize your problems, sometimes everyone needs help and there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you find it difficult to go to the mental health institution just call a helpline (you can easily find a number online and it’s free!)
Remember you are not alone even if you feel this way. Many people have mental health problems especially in today’s world where it becomes more and more difficult to cope with stress and anxiety.
My goal today is to talk about the things I do when depression hits me hard. In the last few years, I’ve noticed that there are some quite simple things that make me feel a bit better and prevent me from losing my hope when depression kicks my arse.
Depression comes in very shapes and forms and it affects each individual differently. Most of my friends who struggle with depression say that it comes and goes in cycles. My depression comes in waves. Sometimes it comes in slow, small waves and other times it hits like a tsunami ruining everything in its path. The hard part is that you never know how’s it going to be next time when it hits you. It happens because it’s a very sneaky disease. It comes like a thief, stealthily and with our “consent”. It just sneaks up quietly under the cover of darkness and robs you of your motivation, sense of purpose and emotional stability. Sometimes you can be fairly fine and you can act like nothing bad is really happening but other times depression hits so hard that you cannot even breathe. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. You feel quite normal almost happy and upbeat and then everything changes within a fraction of a second. Your peaceful state of mind turns into a hurricane. You feel like you have been thrown into complete and utter chaos. Nothing makes sense. Suddenly, all your plans and goals for the future ceases to have any meaning. The only one that matters is “here and now”. And now you must do everything you can to survive. You just want to make it through. That’s all you care about. Because when this rollercoaster of emotions stops you will have to deal with emotional numbness. And if you ever been in such a state you know that it’s even worse from emotional chaos because emotional numbness is a lack of anything that makes you a real human being. You become more like a living corpse without a soul because it was stolen from you weren’t looking. And then after some time you kind of forget about it and your mind will go back to where you were before. You are planning your future and set your goal structure all over again. Like nothing really happened. I know it sounds crazy, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like the best explanation.
I guess you’re wondering why am I telling you this. Well, I have a very good reason for that. Struggling with depression for many years I’ve been looking for healthy ways to cope with depression when it hits hard. I noticed that there are plenty of things out there you can do to deal with a depressive episode. Of course, nothing can replace therapy and/or medication (I write about this above) but I’ve got some life-changing tips for everyone who is struggling with depression. So, let’s get to it!
Here are my healthy tips and powerful tricks for beating depression on the days when it just hits too hard for you to handle:
Life is “here and now” – don’t live in the past and stop thinking too much about the future. The present moment is truly the only thing we have. Focus on what you can control and leave what you can’t. Make every moment count. Life is a lesson that you have to learn the hard way. We are all going through tough times sometimes and it only depends on us how we chose to live these crucial moments. Don’t waste your suffering, use it to grow personally, emotionally and spiritually. Trust me you can choose how you want to experience every single situation that happens to you. Life is hard sometimes but no one promised it would be easy. Everything happens for a reason in life but to understand it you have to survive the tough times. Just think about all of these painful moments and hurtful experiences you’ve got through. You thought you couldn’t make it BUT you DID! And you should be proud of yourself!
You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.
Journaling is a powerful tool in healing. It not only helps you to gain clarity of mind and thoughts but also can easily boost your creativity and productivity levels. For me personally, writing is definitely the most effective practice for letting go past hurt and difficult emotions. Since I’ve incorporated journaling into my daily routine I‘ve been able to face and solve most of my problems. Sometimes the chaos in your head compromises your ability to focus and logical thinking but if you take a pen and paper you can easily understand what is going on into your head. Furthermore, journaling is a powerful tool not only for self-healing but above all for self-reflection and personal development. That is why I highly recommend you to develop a daily journal habit. You won’t regret it. Listen to me now and believe me later!
3. Small steps
Adopt a small steps mindset. Let’s face it small steps lead to big changes. If you feel overwhelmed, depressed and stressed out looking at the whole picture and taking large steps can be very intimidating if not impossible. But if you decompose your problem into two, three or more subproblems it would be easier to solve them one by one. Don’t know how to do it? Write down your problem on a piece of paper and design the tree of decomposition as if you’re designing a genealogical tree. It’s the same method. And then look at your subproblems as small, realistic goals that you can easily achieve. And remember you just have to get started!
It sounds clichè but it’s true. Self-care is crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. But you need to make up your own health and highly personalized self-care routine. The one that will work for you. Taking care of yourself should be a pleasure, not a sad duty. I know that when you are severely depressed sometimes getting out of bed and taking a shower can be extremely challenging. Not to mention about wearing the same clothes three days in a row… I know, I’ve been there many times. But I also noticed that when my depression hits me hard and I don’t feel like doing anything even a small thing like making myself a cup of hot chocolate or face mask can make a huge difference. Sometimes even a small thing we do can lighten the mood.
So, on days when all you want to do is to stay in bed all day without even taking a shower, try to challenge yourself and do at least one, the small thing then you like doing. It can be anything you want: comfort food, home spa or a cup of hot chocolate… whatever you need to feel a bit better! (healthy guilty pleasure!)
5. Don’t isolate
Connect with people – Talk with a trusted person with whom you can share your thoughts, feelings, worries, and doubts without being afraid of opening up to someone. Your situation changes by talking about it. Talking about your problems can help shed light on how to get through it. Even if you won’t resolve the situation immediately talking to someone about it can give you clarity of thought and a whole different perspective on it. Sometimes I have so much going on up in my head that if I don’t talk about it with a trusted person I feel overwhelmed, stressed out and confused. It happens when I feel confused and consumed with my thoughts and only if I talk it out I can get some inspiration and find clarity of mind. Not to mention that when I’m having a tough time talking to a friend keeps me sane and grounded in my world. That’s why I find talking about problems very therapeutic for many different reasons. Of course, no one person’s experience will be exactly like ours but there should be much to learn from them and it will help you to see the whole picture instead of focusing only on one aspect of the situation.
P.S. If you cannot or don’t want to talk to your friend about your problems you can ALWAYS call a helpline or talk to a mental health professional
Connect with nature – It’s not a secret that nature has the power to heal. Even a couple of minutes spent outside can make a difference in terms of our physical and mental health. Sometimes all we need to feel a bit better is to get some natural vitamin D. This is because the “sunshine vitamin” plays an important role in regulating mood. Most therapists are aware of that that’s why they recommend they patients (or clients) to spend time outdoors and soak up the sun especially when someone struggles with depression.
I myself find contact with nature extremely therapeutic. When I feel upset, depressed or even confused I like to go for a walk. This is because walking makes me feel grounded and helps me to make up my mind. So it’s fair to say that outdoor activity regulates our mood and boost positive emotions. So if you feel low, sad or distressed go outside and get some natural vitamin D! Let yourself feel the warmth of the sun on my face and fresh* air in your nose.
*it’s not always the case but you know what I mean 🙂
6. Love yourself
a bit more
Stop chasing self-confidence just be kind to yourself. Let’s face it, love comes easy in good days but on bad days we indulge in negative self-talk. As if beating ourselves up could do us some good. Let’s be realistic, that won’t help! I don’t know about you but when my depression hits me hard my inner critic becomes an as*hole. It’s like sharing an apartment with a bully except that this bully lives in my head. And I swear I really need to kick him out. That’s the worst roommate I’ve ever had. He’s always a bit behind with the rent and he never ever cleans… I will let him stay but only if he changes a bit…
So anyways, let’s focus on a healthy way to talk to yourself. Yes, talking to yourself it’s normal and actually good for you but you have to do it in a kind, gentle and compassionate way. If you feel lost and empty inside accept these feelings. Trying to force yourself to be happy or think positive doesn’t really work. Moreover, most of the times it only makes you feel worse. Allow yourself to feel sadness. Accept your darkest emotions
7. Perform your guilty pleasures ritual
Let’s talk about guilty pleasures and healthy obsessions. For me, it’s an important part of my daily routine. I’ve made it a part of my everyday to-do list. I’m serious. Let’s face it. If you’re not treating yourself you deprive yourself of life’s pleasures. And I’m not talking here about partying every day or relaxing under the influence of your drug of choice. I’m thinking of a variety of small pleasures that make you way happier than they should. I’m sure you have some guilty pleasures ritual you perform every time you feel low, upset, depressed or just stressed out. I, for example like to binge-watching Netflix, when I feel really low. Last time when I felt really depressed I’ve watched two seasons of “Atypical” in one day and then I started to watch “Maniac”. And yes, I’m proud of myself. You know why? Because it helped me to feel a bit better. So, I guess I’m guilty of having my guilty pleasures ritual. Of course, man does not live by bread alone (by Netflix alone in this particular case) so I prepared my favorite healthy comfort food: gluten-free banana chocolate brownie and (still gluten-free) spaghetti bolognese with my favorite parmesan cheese… Oh my gosh… I’m getting hungry…
Anyway, my advice to you is to create your guilty pleasures ritual and perform it every single time you feel low, depressed and stressed out. Just lose yourself in little things.
8. Lose yourself in a creative work
Art is a powerful tool to help the healing process. Ithelps to create your own sacred space in this world. Let yourself to conveyyour emotions in your artwork. Express yourself through writing, drawing, painting, making music or any other creative way. Don’t overanalyze just loseyourself to find yourself through your creative work. Never forget thatemotions enable us to embrace life in an honest, authentic and genuine way.
The creative adult is the child who has survived.
―Julian F. Fleron
9. Get informed
Depression has this ability to make you believe that you are alone, abandoned, completely misunderstood and forgotten by anyone. In other words, it’s easy to lose yourself in the darkest part of your soul and stay there for too long. But you have to realize that it doesn’t have to be this way. Overcoming depression is not easy but it’s possible. Besides, everything gets easier once you know what you’re dealing with. So if you feel depressed, lost and empty inside right now, you need to know that you are Life is in this journey. But to understand this you have to challenge facing right learn about this condition. Learn about other people’s experiences. Listen to podcasts, watch Ted talks, read articles and blogs – in a word, Google it! And in one second you will realize that you’re not alone! Depression is not
Don’t exclude this option. Depression is a real issue and should be taken seriously. Regardless of what some may think or say seeking professional help revels strength NOT weakness. People see a therapist for many different reasons and none of them is being crazy. Even if they think they are because the complexity of their lives makes them believe in it. Not to mention my favorite factor that makes people feel ashamed of being in therapy – the social stigma of mental illness. It’s 2018, so why it continues to be an issue? It blows my mind when I think about it. Wait a minute, I almost forgot about the myths surrounding therapy. Let’s see:
- You should be able to handle it on your own
- It’s a sign of weakness
- You’re just looking for attention
- You’re just being negative
- It’s for people who have no one else to talk to
- And any other bullsh*t…
Well, it’s time to destroy these myths before they destroy the scraps of hope. Don’t you think? Anyway, what I try to tell you is that if you feel you need to go to therapy; do it! Please do it. Don’t wait until you start feeling totally overwhelmed. Don’tfeel ashamed of asking for help. And if you take meds don’t feel guilty or embarrassed. It’s ok to take medications. Besides, no one is shaming people with physical illness for taking meds so why there is still the stigma surrounding mental health and medication?! Honestly, I cannot understand this…
Let yourself heal. Listen to your body and trust your intuition. Focus on yourself. It’s your journey of healing. It’s your path to personal growth and self-development.
For my personal experience, I can tell you that therapy saved my life…
I really hope you find these tips, tricks, and hacks useful, helpful and effective! You may not believe in yourself sometimes but I do! I believe in you. You’ve got everything you need to start your self-heal journey. Everything happens for a reason. We’re going through tough times to learn the hardest life lessons and growth personally, emotionally and spiritually. Besides, I really believe that all the answers to everything we ever need are within. All we need is to let ourselves to find them…