How to live when you can’t deal…with depression
All of us have had points in our lives when we Just. Can’t. Deal.
I know I’ve been there, and I’m willing to bet that you have too.
Here is a how-to post about to keep on going when you just can’t deal with depression.
1.)Don’t do it alone!
Find someone you trust and let them know you are troubled. It could be a friend, parent, coworker, spiritual adviser, comrade, or anyone else you feel OK being vulnerable with. It’s key to communicate to someone in your life when you are feeling so depressed and anxious you’re having trouble living the day to day for two reasons. One, you can’t get any support if you’re struggling alone. Two, someone else knows what’s going on with you and will notice if you’re not coming into work, walking your dog, or otherwise engaging in day to day activities that are normal for you.
2.)Honor your anger
It’s tempting to shove down negative emotions like anger and sadness. However, when these emotions arise, as they do for us all, once we experience and honor them, over time, their presence will be much less powerful in our lives.
3.)Honor your tears
If you feel like crying…do it! Once I was having a really tough day and while at yoga class felt the waterworks come on. I was embarrassed, but found once I cried I felt a small release. If you find that you have a difficult time crying in spite of feeling down, that’s a sign that your emotions have flattened out and getting back in touch with yourself is a high priority. Write in a journal, meditate, take a long walk in a safe private area, or just take 10 minutes for yourself in your car alone without distractions.
4.)Move as much as you can
Remember that yoga class? If you can, walk or even move around in your house. If you feel like you can’t be in public, challenge yourself to get a few minutes of sunshine. Make this task challenging for your self but not unbearable.
5.)Stay wary of red flags
If you begin to experience any of the signs below, it means that you and your support system may need some additional assistance…
- Thoughts focused on death or dying
- Engagement in unhealthy coping behaviors like excessive drug use or drinking (This is a tricky one. If you’re unsure if you’ve crossed this line, ask the trusted person you’ve already identified how you’re doing)
- Lack of engagement in activities that you previously enjoyed
- Thoughts of suicide or engagement in self-harming behaviors
A lot of what I listed above may seem really obvious, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to seek additional support when you begin to have these experiences. We all didn’t get where we are at alone, and we won’t find our way out of the maze of depression alone either.
8.)If all else fails, seek professional help.
As a first measure, if you or someone you care about is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Each county has its own crisis resources as well. Seriously consider seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. The topic of psych meds is a sometimes controversial one. I neither advocate for nor condone medications, but believe it is a choice best made by an individual and their doctor and family.
9.)Once you’re back on the horse, help someone who’s fallen down.
Healing from depression takes time and vigilance to ourselves and the world around us. We have a responsibility to the people we love and the world at large to reach out when our light is shining brightly. If you see someone who has fallen, help them up. Volunteer. Call a friend or family member who may be lonely. Take the risk of helping a stranger when it would be easier just to keep on walking.
10.)…And don’t forget to thank those who were there for you when it was your turn to have your face in the dirt.
Honor and thank people who have helped you when you were at your worst and be there for them when they are struggling.
What other ideas do you have for continuing to deal when depression is difficult to live with?