Early in 2018, I was diagnosed with depression, and have since tried both CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and talking therapy to help. The first one worked for me, but the latter, not so much.
And that’s okay.
If therapy does work for you then that is fantastic. I wish it had for me. To be honest though, I’m more of a Carrie Bradshaw: “I’m more of a solve your own problems kind of girl.” I have to keep reminding myself that we are all created differently and can’t expect everything to work for everyone. However, this does mean that I have had to approach my depression differently. I have learnt to recognise signs and feelings in my body about my down/ low/ depressed days, and how to cope with them. I have also made slight modifications to my daily routine for (fingers crossed) the better.
Here are my tips for how to cope with depression, day to day:
Learn how to say no
I know what you’re thinking: how does that have anything to do with depression? But personally, I would literally say yes to whatever anyone asked of me, even if I knew I didn’t have the time. I didn’t want to let anyone down (hello, unhealthy perfectionism). At the end of the day, I was wearing myself too thin. I have now understood that it is okay to say no (thank goodness) and spend my time doing projects that I truly love and am passionate about. If you are feeling the pressure from a friend, or even a partner to constantly be attending events, goal-setting or working then have a conversation with them.
Now, I’m not saying that I am perfect at this; I still eat takeaways, chocolate and crisps. But, I try really hard to eat at least one piece of fruit and two vegetables each day. It may not sound like much, but honestly, it has a double affect. I feel better for having done it, and I feel better literally. We all love a two birds, one stone moment. You’re always going to hear that healthy eating helps depression, along with exercise but that’s because it works. Even if you just start small, you have to start somewhere.
Listen to my body
This was something I never used to do. I used to work myself until the point of exhaustion, grab another coffee and keep on going. Nowadays, I am much more kind to myself. If I feel tired, I’ll take it easy on myself that day, ensuring that I get an early night. If I feel anxious, I will make myself a peppermint tea (my calming tea – we all have them, no?) and do something that I know will take my mind off it. We all have off days, we just need to recognise and honour them.
Just like healthy eating, this has a two birds, one stone affect. A few of my colleagues and I go to classes together and it’s a really good way to get out of the house, socialise, as well as getting those endorphins and serotonin levels up! Plus, seeing a change in your body really helps to encourage you to maintain this new hobby.
Of course, this route may not be the way for everyone, and I once thought the same. At the time though, my doctors essentially begged me to go on them. Yes, I may have cried my eyes out when I took my first one – I felt like the biggest failure ever – but, now, thanks to hindsight, I would take medicine for any other illness, so why not this one? There is no shame in taking medication. My mood definitely levelled out due to them, and, after nine months, I am lowering my dosage to eventually come off them.
Let me know in the comments below how you cope with your depression, therapy doesn’t work for everyone and there is no shame in it.
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