Since this is the first post of 2018, I wanted to talk about a familiar subject, but in a different context. I have written before about how role-playing video games are one way that I use to ease my depression symptoms. It is at its most important in my own life between the months of November to March when the seasonal component of my depression is at its strongest.
What we know about depression is that it is one of the most common mental health problems that we see today. For me, it has been a major part of my life since I was a teenager. The most common way that doctors treat depression is through medication.
In my experience with anti-depressants, they can be effective at easing my own depression symptoms. The problem is over time they before less effective. Over the past ten years, I have changed to a new anti-depressant once a year.
It gets worse for me when I am in a long depression cycle. In one tough year my psychiatrist changed my anti-depressant medication three different times.
Medications are an important part of the process of easing depression. But you can do things that you can do that are outside the realm of medication that help ease depression. It can be is as effective as medication.
Sleep is a major part of if your depression worsens or gets better. One thing I have learned is not to oversleep or take naps. I never take naps so it is never an issue for me. The expert in my life tells me all the time that naps are counterproductive. It can worsen your depression because staying in bed while depression is consuming you is a bad thing.
That leads to another important “rule of thumb.” I have written recently how staying in bed for three straight days was helpful, but it made me fall deeper into the depths of my depression. This is a gray area. Staying in bed feels good in the moment but in the long term, it could mean more days of feeling worse. That is why out of all the advice I can give, this is the hardest to do.
I had to make the decision to finally get out of bed at the start of this week. Since then I have been able to ease my depression by getting back to what I love. Writing.
One of the worst parts of my depression life is that when I am depressed I tend to go away from a healthy and balanced diet. Eating right, according to every one of my doctors, is paramount to easing depression symptoms. When I skip meals or even go a day without an appetite I know my depression is getting worse. For me, this is a sign, and eating is so important to living. Eating right as a part of my mental health plan isn’t always synch, when I am depressed I tend to skip meals. When I finally start eating regular meals again, I can tell the difference.
It pays to be kind to yourself.
I struggle with this the most when I am depressed. When I am lost deep in my depression I tend to feel like the only way out is to push the limits. I try to write all day in hopes that I will feel better in the end. It never works because I am not being kind to myself.
After my latest bout with depression, I decided to read. I opened up my favorite collection of Edgar Allan Poe written works and I read my favorites. The Raven. The Purloined Letter. I got lost for a few hours in my favorite Poe poems. It felt good to do something that I love. The next day when I went back to writing I eased into it. Only wrote on my blog. The next I worked on a chapter. By mid-week, I was back to writing in a normal schedule, but when I reached my limit, I walked away for the day.
Find ways to be kind to yourself by finding things that you love and do them. If a bubble bath makes you feel great, do it. Listening to some great music over the last couple days was helpful in easing my depression to a manageable level. You can read a book. Allowing yourself moments in your day of downtime can mean all the difference. It pays to be kind to yourself.
The last thing that I wanted to talk about is self-acceptance. I have learned over the past four months of writing this blog that when you believe in yourself, it changes your perspective. It sounds cliche, but don’t let others define who you are in this life. In my own life, I have learned to accept who I am with my illness. No one is perfect and for so long I thought I had to be to have success.
It’s a false thought. I have lived through so much anxiety and depression since starting this blog. Yet, I still find a way to connect with my fellow bloggers. Every day that I accept that I am a decent person despite being Bipolar, means I am more comfortable in my own skin.
I believe that we all have something to offer in this world. If those of us in the mental illness community start respecting ourselves and those like us, it could mean that we can finally start to strip away the stigma that surrounds us. It starts with accepting who you are in this life.
Always Keep Fighting.