Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Helping Combat Depression

I've been going back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to write this post and decided on posting it in the hopes that maybe it can help someone.

Those close to me are aware that I struggle with depression. It's more of a chronic thing with me rather than situational, so it's not something that really will ever go away. That being said, I want ME to be in control, not the depression. Sometimes it's more work than others. I put together this list of things that have been helpful to me.

Go Out-If you're sitting at home doing nothing it's far easier to get into negative thought patterns that go in circles and can be consuming than it is if you're out and about.

Exercise- As loathe as I am to admit this, I do feel better mood-wise if I've been more active. I love going out on my bike, so I can kill two birds with one stone by going out AND exercising.

Sleep- It seems a bit cruel that one of the symptoms of depression can be insomnia, because a good nights sleep can really put a new perspective on things! Be careful with this though, too much sleep isn't a good thing either.

Therapy- Finding a good therapist can oftentimes be incredibly frustrating, but if you are able to find one that you click with I think it can be very beneficial. It's not easy, and if you don't want it to work, it won't.

Medication- I don't ever think medication is 100% effective by itself, but if you can find something that works for you I think it can be an invaluable tool to feeling better about life.

Use a Lightbox- Seasonal depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD) hits a lot of people. It's especially hard here when even the non rainy days are often rather gray and gloomy. There are several options available. I use this little guy:
It's a goLITE. It uses a blue light technology which is better for me since it doesn't emit UV rays. Someone somewhere is laughing at the girl who needs sunshine to help with her depression but is allergic to the sun!

If you feel like you suffer from the "wintertime blues" I HIGHLY recommend looking into one of these. I use mine throughout the year, depending on the weather (sometimes I swear we go weeks and weeks without ever seeing blue skies) but I know a few people that just use them in the winter time when the days are shorter.

These are just some of the tips that work for me. I'd love to hear what others have to add to this list.


Anonymous said...

Great advice! I'm starting to experience a little bit of this depression with one of my teens. She hates it.
I am going to try these tips out on her.

Jenny said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Great post. I know for me a sunny day makes me feel a lot better, so I can totally see needing the use of a light box in places that get lots of gloomy weather.

Noodle said...

I've also suffered from depression for about 10 years... That being said I find journaling to help alot I can write down the crap thats bugging me or stressing me and get it somewhat out of my system... That works for the little to med stuff... Also I find just being aware of depression and having my husband aware of my normal symtoms help cause I can relise its getting worse before it gets to bad... Being aware helps me alot knowing that its just my illness not ME being screwed up =)....I also have a VNS system for my sezuires that also helps with depression (yeah two brids with one stone) so I can be off meds all together yeah! Actually sitting down and looking on the good things in your life helps to it reminds me that life is really not that bad... Hope this helps some one I know that once you find personal ways that help you work with it cause in the end you are the one in the most control, even though it doesn't always feel that way...

Sonya said...

Im really glad you posted about this. I have found myself being more down since I moved here and if it wasnt for my kids I wouldnt have gotten out of bed alot of the time. All the advice you mentioned is spot on. For me it's also important to surround myself with positive people. If you dont you find yourself going down that same destructive path as they do and it's not always a good thing.
The weather here is just so awful during the winter..and summer sometimes. I've learned to keep flowers in the house,candles burning,I even downloaded some beach Getting yourself out of the house is super important. It's sometimes hard to make that step but when you do get out you notice that you feel a whole lot better.
Thanks for posting about this!

annies home said...

thanks for visiting my blog and you are so right about how to dry and defeat depression

Anonymous said...

i applaud your bavery, in sharing this:)
i love some folks with depression. thank you for the tips:)

Veggiemomof2 said...

I have a set of HILARIOUS books that I will pull out & read when I feel depression coming on.

I use to battle SAD, but now that my office is in a room w/many windows, it's alot better.

Sharinskishe said...

I do have to say that I too have bouts with depression. It really isn't fun. I too have decided to take control and not let 'it' control me. It works most of the time, but it can be a lot of work.

The hardest part for me is going out and smiling to the world. I would never let the world know that I am having a bad day. I have always put a front on when outside the safe haven of my own home.

I find that this kind of 'faking or acting' is very energy draining for me. But for the most part it is good for me. Sometimes that backfires and at home I am even more depressed that I am faking happiness. (This deeper stuff only happens once every couple of years, Thank goodness!)

I am finding that for me, reading and commenting to my new Blog friends is helping. I am happy when I am involving myself in your posts and imagining what it would be like to be your neighbor or a neighbor to my other Blogger friends. It helps me remember that I am OK and that I can reap benefits from you and others who are kind enough to share their lives through journaling with me.

Thanks for letting me enjoy your Blog. I do care about you and I hope that you are feeling better. Let me know if there is anything I can help with. I can tell you stories if you want. Just email me and let me know what you want to know!

Take care and know that I am here for you!!!


Eileen said...

When I lived further north, the long winters could get me down. Now, I live further south, and all the sunshine flooding through the windows helps so much, I don't think even about depression anymore. What a blessing! Plus, I am in a happier stage of life, which helps, too. (My childhood and teen years, living up north, are not my fondest memories). Oh, and regular exercise, drinking enough water, eating healthy foods, and supplementing with flaxseed or fish oil helps a great deal with keeping me in a stable, energetic, mood. My favorite exercise is T-Tapp. Very gentle, strengthening and energizing.

Melissa D said...

My WFMW post is also on combatting depression (it's a Christian perspective) - but I agree that all your ways and means are incredibly helpful. One thing I've realized is that I need more exercise than the 20 mins, 3 times a week prescription. I only feel good with about 45 minutes or more, 5 days a week.

Grey said...

I think it's important to have fun. Make yourself, even if you want nothing less, even if you'd rather crawl under the floorboards, go treat yourself. In public if possible. Whether you can afford it or not, whether it's too many calories or you have too much to do to waste time on it, do it.

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