This is a sensitive topic especially to those who are going through it. Depression is overwhelming and draining; it can rip you off all the happiness. Depression will make everything loose meaning. It glorifies loneliness and sadness, which is not what we want for ourselves. It becomes even more serious when it starts interfering with your daily functioning.
Well, a lot of organizations have come up to help people suffering from depression. While I fully support this course, I believe that overcoming depression should be a progressively deliberate process that the affected individual decides to go through. Change begins with you. You are the only one who understands how you truly feel, so you hold the sole solution to let go what is bothering you.
I have personally undergone depression, so I write this from a place of love and understanding. Depression had made me an angry person, a moody person. Nothing felt right at the moment. I could not even focus to do my daily activities. I was lagging behind in everything. I often preferred to curl up in my warm bed and cry rather than get up and be productive. Sometimes I justify the crying a little, coz it is okay to cry. It is okay to be open to emotions, coz we are human beings. However, it gets bad when you are not able to climb out those negative emotions. It becomes ‘not okay’ when the negative emotions start to define us.
The sad part for this whole process for me is that I couldn’t afford seeking professional help. So I decided to tackle my depression hands-on. First, I started by figuring out a few things that made my depression worse and I avoided those. And how did this help? It gave me space in my depression to actually introduce the things that were supposed to help.
When I got a clear picture of these two sides (the bad things that worsen my depression and the good things that reduce it), I continued applying them appropriately to date!
However, I pay extra attention to the things that fatten my depression. Why? Because these are the things that when I do them, depression or not, turn my mental health into an actual wreck!
Here are some of the things that I have had to give up to keep my mental health stable and to stay happy most of the time:
- I reduced my social media usage
Don’t get me wrong, I did not entirely keep off social media, I just reduced the time I spent on it.
I also got extremely selective of who I followed. I follow only people who impact my life positively. If someone’s posts are not improving how I feel, I just keep off them.
I literally sat down and unfollowed every single person that I felt was not helping me feel better. It was tiresome, but it was so worth it. I no longer have to feed off negative attitudes, posts and comments.
Social media is wonderful, but too much of it can actually make you sick!
- I stopped sleeping late
I know most of you who have undergone depression like me can attest to this one.
My mental health worsened whenever I felt tired. I got grumpier; I would pick a fight with literally anything that was on my way, I would bang doors for absolutely no reason and smash my phone on the wall if anything irritated me.
My poor mental health would go from a 30% to an 80% whenever I was tired.
So, I gave up staying up late and embraced going to bed early. For all it costs, it was an absolute game changer.
- I stopped expecting too much from myself
I have always had high expectations of myself. Insanely high expectations.
However, depression taught me to throw these expectations out through the window. Expecting too much of yourself when you are depressed will end frustrating you even more.
When I was depressed, there are days when mustering the courage to get out of my bed was the biggest achievement of that day. And that was enough at the moment, coz it wasn’t easy.
- I stopped cancelling plans because I want to stay isolated
When I am down, I look for something to look forward to in my calendar. I schedule interesting events that I know will uplift my spirit, and make a firm decision that I will attend them. Whether it is a movie night, a karaoke night or a friend’s party, I make sure that I have something fun to do.
Curling up in your bed or sofa only increases your stress levels, and makes you dull and moody. It takes away all your strength and morale to do anything. At your lowest moment, you need to find something that cheers you up. That way, you have a moment where nothing else but your happiness matters.
You have more power over depression than you think, so take control!
- I stopped skipping meals
While others are stress-eaters and find comfort in food during their low moments, I tend to not eat when I am not okay. I realized that during depression, it is vital for you to stay healthy and strong. Depression can eat you up, which is why you have to beat it first before it does.
However, you do not just eat any other food. What you eat impacts the way you feel. Avoiding alcohol is essential because it only worsens how you feel. Lack of vitamin B in such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
Tip: Depression is diagnosable and treatable. Do not suffer in silence. Do not wait to confirm that you are indeed depressed. If you are not okay, talk to someone, seek professional help. The world needs you in your best self!