How to be Depressed | For Writers
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Hello you. I hope everything is going well for you. I hope you woke up early, had a shower, brushed your teeth and ate a big breakfast.
I hope you did some exercise, pulled on a pair of shoes and walked out the door with your head held high, feeling on top of the world and ready for whatever it decides to throw at you.
Maybe you didn’t, though.
Maybe you slept for twelve hours straight or not at all. Maybe you forgot to take a shower or didn’t see the point in having one, maybe you didn’t eat and didn’t particularly want to.
Maybe you sat down on your sofa, feeling exhausted all day and scowling at yourself, dwelling on mistakes in your past and letting your mind be awash with negative thoughts about how nobody has sent you a text in two days, or that none of your friends really like you.
The latter is me. I don’t say was me because I still suffer with depression, though I have climbed out of the hole it put me in for five years.
Even though there are many causes to this complex illness, it is after all just a a chemical imbalance which needs rectifying. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you can begin to heal. So how do you live with depression? And how do you make the most of what this wonderful life has to offer? Let me tell you what I did to get on top of my depression.
Learn about the illness.
Depression is a disorder, and nothing more. You are sick and like most sick people you can and will get better if you want to. The first step in coming to terms with your own mental health is to learn about what is going on within your head, it takes a lot of bravery to do this and once you have… it removes a lot of fears or anxieties that you have probably been carrying around for ages. Yay! Go you! You’re on your way to recovery.
This is the most formidable of all these steps and one which I wish I had done sooner myself. It took me four dark years of squirming and suffering within my bubble of negativity and a number of people recommending a therapist or psychologist before I actually bit the bullet and went. I left it too long, I beg you not to do the same. Don’t leave it.
‘Getting help’ causes universal dread amongst people who suspect they suffer with a mental health problem; they are scared to have those suspicions confirmed and the long process of healing which will ensue seems impossible. They are scared by the inaccurate rumours around psychs which say that they will be given pills to change their chemistry and offer them ‘fake happiness.’ (I have never taken a pill in my life and my therapist refuses to give me them.)
If you take any of these steps away with you then let it be this one, professionals know how you feel and they only want to help you find the light and bring the joy back to your life.
Talk to everyone! It’s scary to come out as depressed, but every day that goes by more and more celebrities are discussing their mental health which is putting it in the news and eliminating the stigma around mental health conditions such as depression.
Heads Together is a mental health aid charity founded by Prince Harry and William of the U.K.
The two princes who lost their mother in a tragic car crash when they were children are two of the most prominent members of British society to discuss their mental health openly and it is becoming more and more normal for people to discuss it.
It is important if you are depressed to discuss it with your friends and family (when you are ready) because otherwise, some of the symptoms related to depression can be seen as laziness, or lack of care. If everyone around you has an idea of what’s going on then they won’t resent you for not feeling up to going out to party or seemingly being in a bad mood but they will be able to support you, and take it step by step.
Not having to justify your not wanting to do something or sleeping all day is an important relief in healing depression.
Reddit has a superb board for people with depression, I recommend taking a look and reading other people’s experiences, with almost 200,000 readers…It’s hard to feel alone.
Develop good habits and routine.
Foreboding and scary, the hardest step in this article is the one that requires the most determination and fortitude. If you are feeling that your life is in chaos then how do you expect to lay the foundations for peace, joy and success? You can’t build a house on sand, you need a strong base or in our case, a solid routine.
This means getting up, eating a good breakfast, having a to-do list and filling your time with productive activities to better yourself.
I had no routine, I would get up tired after 10-11 hours sleep and sit browsing the internet for 14 hours before sleeping again.
For me, I needed reminders to do things and a positive environment. I found quite a decent app called Fabulous, it’s free and is designed to help develop good habits. I don’t use it now because after months, the habits have become ingrained and part of my every day grind.
I feel much better for this, I feel like I have more control and by proxy I feel more confident and together, too.
I hate the gym. Good thing is though that working out is not synonymous with going to the gym, that place is just somewhere that some people choose to go to get their fix.
I personally do a few push-ups and pull-ups in the morning and spend the rest of my energy on hiking and riding my bike. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to go to the gym because you don’t.
If you enjoy playing football, then play football. If you like rock climbing, then take yourself off to the climbing wall…or even better, a mountain! Exercising produces much needed endorphins which give you a positive feeling and help relieve your depression.
Surround yourself with things you like.
This might seem basic but when you are depressed, you often forget what ‘liking things’ feels like, or even what you ever liked. I like the news, but never watched it. I like writing but I never did it. I like video games, but my Xbox gathered dust on my desk.
I call the worst years of my depression, the lost years. That’s how it felt in retrospect, six out of seven days were dark and filled with nothing. Perhaps a couple of days a month I was ‘happy’ by splurging a lot of money on some lavish restaurant but it was short lived and shallow.
Since I changed my habits and started to remember the childlike joy I once had in playing video games or creating a piece of writing, biking or walking in the hills – my life has turned 180° around. Do everything you can to retrieve your happiness, a hobby is invaluable to feeling satisfaction.
You will be all right. It really sucks if you have the black dog chasing you throughout life but if you’re savvy enough and take my advice (with a heavy dose of your own common sense) you can evade him as much as possible. You will have down days but I implore you to remember that they will come and go.
Go, be free! And enjoy the world around you.