For almost 20 years, depression has been a major, constricting factor in my life. I was officially diagnosed with it in high school and have struggled with it ever since. Officially, my diagnosis is situational depression. Most times, I’m okay. In fact, I imagine most people wouldn’t think I have depression. I’m optimistic, joking, and an overall goofball.
When I’m depressed, though? People tell me I’m a completely different person. I’m irritable and gloomy. I withdraw, refusing to engage in conversation. Sometimes, my depression will last a day, a few days, a week, several weeks, or months at its worst. Most times, it only lasts 2-3 days before I crawl out of it.
Depression has cost me friendships and relationships. Twice, I’ve lost jobs. I’ve dropped out of university. It took me over ten years, off and on, to get my undergraduate degree.
Through the years, I’ve learned coping mechanisms. Of course, that’s not including decades of different counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Or the dozens of medications that I’ve tried (you name the antidepressant, I’ve probably been on it). I’ve read several helpful books, such as David M. Burns’ Feeling Good. I recommend it anyone with depression, anxiety, or similar mental illnesses.
However, I’ve realized that even counseling and medication are unhelpful on bad days. Sometimes it’s a chore just getting out of bed. For me, these little things help me cope with depression. They may not fully break me out of the depression, but I feel a little better. Sometimes, it feels near impossible to do them. Sometimes, I’m too depressed to think of doing any of it. It happens. But when I do some of this list, I feel better. Some of these might not work for you and that’s okay.
Though they’re numbered, this list isn’t ranked in any particular order.