It’s a lonely place down the rabbit hole. I’m referring to depression. I never know how I get to this place but eventually after a long manic phase this is where I wind up. For me, I don’t see the warning signs. I’m busy as heck during my manic phase and can’t seem to find enough to do. Then one day all of the sudden my enthusiasm has left, my desire to do anything has left and my physical energy has been depleted.
I don’t stay down as long as I used to as long as I stay in contact with other people. When I isolate, which isn’t uncommon, I lose touch and I begin to feel despair and abandoned with little hope. It’s been a long and lonely road for me but I do have tools to work with. The phone, the Internet, friends, and listed below are some other tools I use to get out of this funk.
Some of my favorite tools are slogans of AA and Alanon:
- Easy Does It
- First things first
- How important is it
- Just for today
- Keep an open mind
- Keep it simple
- Let go and let God
- Let it begin with me
- Listen and learn
- Live and let live
- One day at a time
- This too shall pass
- Progress not perfection
- Gratitude changes your attitude
- Keep coming back
- Take what you like and leave the rest
Self-help books are meant to help you cope with situations that you are not prepared to or can’t cope with. These books let you analyze your most inner self to discover what is going wrong, and where things are not working. I used the books that I had acquired while attending Alanon meetings for greater than 16 years. I learned how to take care of myself without sacrificing my serenity.
Medication tends to be the first thing depressed people reach for. Though they can provide you with a temporary relief, they are not guaranteed to cure the underlying problem as with any mental disorder. There are many other causes of depression including inflammation, disturbance of stress hormones in the body, nutritional deficiencies, and immune system malfunctioning. Medication can be a live saver at times though. It should never be ruled out as ineffective or unresponsive. I depend on medication to see each day through. There is nothing to be ashamed of and you shouldn’t fear you doctor. You need to trust in you physician and if you don’t then find a match. Find someone who fits. This is a live long illness and it’s best to invest your life into someone you trust. I’ve had several doctors due to relocating and have been seeing my currant doctor for over 15 years. I trust her and that is vital to any working relationship.
Psychotherapy is one of the better methods that can help you climb out of a major depression. It is also effective for nearly all types of depression and anxiety disorders. The treatment involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), where a therapist monitors the various mood swings and behavior of a patient, and then works on them by talking to the patient. CBT involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist once or twice a week. The idea behind IPT is to examine the relationship between the interactions between people and the development of an individual’s psychiatric symptoms. It involves one-on-one discussions with a therapist to find out ways to improve those relationships for improving mood.
If you really want to know how to pull yourself out of a major depression, remember this important step: relax yourself as much as possible. Relaxation is just as important in treating depression as those anti-depressants you’re taking. Take a nap, listen to soothing music, visit a spa or just go for a massage. Look around for things that can be relaxing, grab a hot cup of a relaxing tea, Valerian or chamomile. These teas contain L-theanine, an amino acid which helps with the release of the serotonin, a chemical compound responsible for your relaxed state of mind.
Indulge Yourself in a Hobby
Avoid Bad Habits and Adopt Healthy Ones
Eat Healthy, Relaxing Foods
Cultivate Healthy, Supportive Relationships
Depression can be debilitating and is very different from just feeling unhappy. Usually, there is a reason for unhappiness such as being rejected or not getting the job you wanted. Depression is a pervasive feeling. It’s almost as if you are in a black tunnel with no light. Hope disappears and the things you used to find enjoyable become a chore. Even winning the lottery would not snap someone out of depression and it is never a good idea to tell someone who is depressed to sort themselves out and pull themselves together. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
A depressed mind tends to mull over all that is wrong and worries unnecessarily about all the negative possibilities that may emerge in the future. Focus on the present moment and try not to dwell on the past of future events that aren’t real. An acronym for that is FEAR. Or Future Events Appearing Real. Either way it’s important to focus on the present time. Focus on touch, taste, sight, sound and smell leaving less time for needless worry.
Depressed people tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong they blame themselves and when things go right, they put it down to luck. Depression reinforces self doubt along with feelings of worthlessness. Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a depressed person, not a healthy functioning person. Don’t take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling this way.
Regular exercise has benefits for helping to overcome depression. Exercise releases endorphins which improve natural immunity as well as improved mood. Regular exercise offers other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease, cancer and boosting self-esteem. Experts advise getting half an hour to an hour of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking at least three to four times per week.
Depression can make you want to hide away from the world and disappear. It’s okay to take some time out but give yourself a time limit and then do something productive to improve your mood. Depression can be well managed and there can be a wonderful life beyond depression. Hang in there and keep the faith.
Listen to music especially upbeat music. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive spirit. Listening to upbeat music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.
A journal can be a wonderful tool. Use it to write down fears and worries. Sometimes, having an outlet in this way can be soothing and ease you. Writing it down allows you to look at your life from a different perspective. Another good way to use a journal is to write several things that you are grateful for. Do this every day. It forces you to think more positively and can help to remind you that things are never that bad. In a gratitude journal, you can write about anything that happened in the day that made you feel appreciative. A kindness someone did, a call or visit from a friend, etc. Make the changes you want to see in yourself and picture a better healthier you.