In my previous post about depression, I told you my story. This time, I want to give you some ideas how you can help yourself to begin to feel better and to regain hope. At the same time, please be reassured that if you get stuck or need more in depth help, hypnotherapy for depression can help.
Firstly, count yourself lucky if you have never been experienced depression. It can be incredibly debilitating where nothing seems to have a point and the future just seems to be the ‘same old, same old’. It is difficult for some people to understand depression if they haven’t experienced it, and advice such as ‘Get over it’ or ‘Cheer up” are unfortunately still common. And useless.
Secondly, I am not medically trained, but since I work with many people who are depressed I feel able to say that while antidepressants clearly have some use, I have only seen, on rare occasions, a few people who say that their depression medication has made them feel better. Often what I hear is that their medication makes them feel nothing, or that it makes them anxious. I think it’s fair to say that I have yet to meet someone who actually feels that medication cured their depression. And I certainly haven’t seen anyone who is bursting with joy and happiness because of it. But I suppose I wouldn’t, given that they’re coming to me for help. Clearly, meds are not the answer for everyone.
Thirdly, what I have now learnt, and what is talked about relatively little, is that if you are living with depression now, unless you take action you’ll either carry on being depressed, or you’ll dip in and out of it for a long time.
The difference between whether you sink or swim is how well you learn to look after yourself. And looking after your wellbeing is a lifelong commitment. Just like taking a shower or a bath, you can’t do it once in the hope that you never have to do it again. This is the reason why I have used the words ‘living with depression’, and in my opinion, this is the reason so many people go in and out of depression. They feel better and forget their self-care because they think they no longer have to do anything. They relapse into the old patterns of thinking and being. After all, they feel better now. It’s gone! Hallelujah! Then life happens and they fall back into the ‘hole’.
Prevention is better than cure
To avoid losing all your teeth, what do you do? You take care of your teeth every day. At least, I hope you do. So, you are taking action to prevent your teeth become full of holes so you don’t have to see your dentist too often, right? The same goes with your physical and mental wellbeing. Depression is no different. Trust me, it’s much easier to prevent sinking into this deep hole, than being in it and trying to get out.
Of course, I also know that it’s easier said than done, because nowadays our lives are so busy – if only mainly with things that are not that important, like scrolling on social media. But that’s a story for another blog post.
And I’ve been guilty of this myself. I do something that makes me feel better and soon as I do, I forget about the thing that works and wonder ‘why am I feeling down again?’ The thing is that doing something is better than doing nothing – anything more than nothing is success - so even if you only find 15 minutes per day to do something that makes you feel better, it’s healthier than doing something for 30 minutes just once a week. Looking after yourself takes time, effort and discipline but if you are depressed now, what’s better, continuing to feel this way or taking action to prevent it?
Things that can prevent and add to your wellbeing
Here is a list of some things that you have probably already heard about, but some you may not have thought could help. As I noted above, done regularly, even if in small chunks, they can all make a real difference. But they are not a magic pill, because some form of action from us is always needed. Please also note that this list is not exhaustive, there are still more things that can help you. I will go into these in more detail shortly in another blog post.
· Breathing exercises
· Any form of exercise
· Being in nature
· Being amongst children and animals
· Healthy eating
· Getting enough sleep
· Meeting up with a friend who can boosts your mood
· Practicing mindfulness
· Any other spiritual practice not mentioned above
· Problem solve and take action
· Practice core feelings like gratitude, love, forgiveness
· Practice random act of kindness
· Write down your to do list for the next day so you have a purpose to get up in the morning.
· Do something that you love
· Be assertive
· Take control over the things you have control over
· Be around people that energise you
· Watch or listen something uplifting
If you are already in the hole, what then?
If you are currently in that ‘hole’, stop beating yourself up and just accept and acknowledge that this is currently the situation. Understanding that if you are depressed now, what I said earlier applies: anything more than nothing is a success. Literally, anything. So, if today you are only able to get out of bed, great! It’s a success. Acknowledge it. Better yet, write it down. Doing things in small chunks when you are depressed is one of the best practices because your energy is often limited, so start small. Maybe do something for 15 minutes and then take a break. Then do something else for 15 minutes. The important thing is that you don’t get overwhelmed, so only have 1 or 2 things on your to-do list at any one time.
And when you are ready to build on it, push yourself further. If there is a specific trigger to your depression, explore whether you can do anything to resolve the situation. If there is, take some action to resolve it. If there isn’t, accepting it and then managing how you feel might be the best cause of action.
You might want to choose one of the things from the list and do that. It doesn’t matter, just that you do something. Anything that you know has in the past brought you joy, relaxation or calm. If you don’t feel like you want to do anything, just choose one thing from the list and do that for a little while. Do it anyway. If that doesn’t suit you, choose another thing from the list. But keep moving, however slowly.
When we are depressed we often don’t want to do anything but pushing yourself to do something, even if just 15 minutes per day, will make a huge difference in the long run. Overtime, you might be able to do little more until it builds into a ‘ladder’ that helps you out of this hole. After which, it’s all about looking after your wellbeing. Keep doing more of what works for you.
The thing is, unless we do something, take action or change something, nothing will change. It’s easy to look for answers and cures from medications or other external sources, but that’s like a plaster covering a volcano which is ready to erupt at any minute. It doesn’t work. But one thought, one realisation, could be enough to change everything. Start now.
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