This is a guest post by Mary C. about fighting depression on your own.
When you’re going through a difficult time in your life, it’s the perfect opportunity for depression to ease its way into your life. Believe me, it will if it gets a chance. It’s not something that’s hits you all at once. As I said, it eases in.
Before you know it, you’re sleeping until noon and then you only get up to relocate to the couch. If you work outside the home, you sleep until the last minute, throw your hair up in a clip, and rush off to work. You just don’t feel like messing with it. You find yourself thinking, “It won’t hurt just this one time.” Then you realize you have gone to work looking like hell for several days. People asking if you’re okay or if you’re sick gave you a clue. You stop answering your phone or even answering the door. You don’t feel like talking to anyone right now. Forget cleaning house or washing clothes, you tell yourself everyday you’ll do it tomorrow. If you find yourself doing some of these things, Honey, depression is taking hold.
You should not mess around with depression. Naturally, you should see your doctor right away and follow his or her recommendations, but there are additional things you can do on your own.
I was always a high energy, free spirited person; however, a few years ago, I started a battle with major depression. I knew I couldn’t lie on the couch and let life go by. I don’t respond well to medications; therefore, I had to find other ways to control it. It was so hard for me to get started. I literally had to force myself to crawl out of bed the first few days.
I assure you, if I can do it, anyone can. Getting started is the hardest part.
Get Out of Bed
First, you have to get up. If you have to set two or three alarms, do it, but get up. Put on some coffee and while it’s making, force yourself to take a shower and wash your hair. You will feel better just by doing that. Throw on a robe and grab a cup of coffee. Weather permitting, go outside on the patio, drink your coffee, and get a few minutes of fresh air.
Fix your hair. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just do more than twist it up with a clip. Put on some make-up even if it’s just mascara and lipstick. Put on something nice even if you have nowhere to go. No sweats allowed. Now look in the mirror. Wow! Much better, huh? Even if you’re just staying around the house, when you walk by a mirror and catch a glimpse of yourself, you’ll feel good about what you see.
Get a Move On
Once you get in the habit of getting up and taking care of your appearance, you could try to add a little exercise. I know, just saying it fills you with dread, but it doesn’t have to be much to begin with. Before you take your shower, do anything that will get your body moving such as taking a short walk, or doing a few sit-ups and push-ups. My favorite is to turn on some music and dance. Do anything that gets you moving for at least 10 or 15 minutes. It might be agony the first couple of days, but just do it. It will help.
Now That You’re Up, Get Out
More than likely, the last thing you want to do is go somewhere; however, you should try. Think about things you enjoy or even better, something new you’ve always wanted to try. Making yourself leave the house is hard, but once you get where you’re going, you’ll wonder what was so hard about it.
I love to bowl and swim. Not only are these fun activities, they are great exercise. It had been years since I bowled. After going the first time, I realized how much I had missed it.
If you have a local college, check and see if they have some non-credit classes. You’ll find things such as computer courses, foreign language lessons (I’m trying to learn Spanish), writing classes, photography classes and I even found a paranormal investigation class (call me crazy, but I’m going to do this one). Maybe look around and find some dance classes. Choose something, sign up, and go.
Clean Your House
Your house probably got messy while you were doing all that lying around. Take one room at a time if you have to until you get the whole house sparkling clean. Won’t it make you feel great to get up in the morning or come home from work to a clean house? It makes me smile. Try to do a little each day to keep it that way.
Fill Your Time at Home
Fill part of your day at home doing something you enjoy to keep you from getting back on the couch. It’s not my thing, but scrapbooking is very popular these days. I like to paint. If you’re not a great painter, do an abstract.
Do some inexpensive home improvements such as painting a room. Go to your local hardware and craft stores and browse around. You’re sure to find something that suits you.
When you get into the habit of doing some or all of these things, reward yourself. Go to the beauty shop. Getting a new hairstyle is always a mood lifter for me. Then splurge and go buy yourself a new outfit.
You Can Do This
These are just some suggestions for fighting depression. Doing anything that requires movement isn’t easy when you’re depressed. Grit your teeth and get a move on.
If you have something that you do to keep your spirits up, please share it with the rest of us.