I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can download a free printable list of hotlines here.
I hear a lot of people talking about how hard it is to get motivated when you’re depressed but I barely ever here anyone mention how much it physically hurts your damn body. It’s not just sleeping all day and despondency, a lot of the time it can be really freaking painful. Depression is different for everyone but for me it is accompanied by a lot of physical symptoms. Here are the some of the symptoms I have experienced and some of the things I did to cope with them.
When I am depressed I have a really hard time sleeping. I’ll lie awake all night but I’m so uncomfortable I can’t sleep. The first thing I do to help me fall asleep is take a low dose of melatonin. Melatonin helps your body sync your sleep wake cycle with light and darkness. It makes you very sensitive to light so I put up blackout curtains in my room to keep out any light pollution. Another thing I do to try and fall asleep is to turn the thermostat down and make it a little cooler in my room. After I get into bed I listen to a sleep meditation. I usually just find one on YouTube and play it on my phone. Finally, if I still can’t sleep I start waking up really early and make sure I get a good workout in. Getting up early and staying awake all day helps make me really tired at the end of the day.
Depression is a really physical pain for me. I get achy all over my body and usually get sharp pain in my chest. I like to soak in lavender epsom salts. Lavender has been shown to be relaxing and epsom salts can help with sore muscles. When I get out of the bath I rub icy hot on the areas that hurt (usually my chest and my legs). I have found that stretching helps so I try to do easy stretching videos on YouTube. A lot of times if my chest really hurts I’ll use a heating pad before I go to bed.
When I’m depressed I usually lose my appetite. It’s important to try and eat a little bit even if you don’t feel like it. Recovery is going to be that much harder if you don’t eat. If I’m really not hungry I’ll make a smoothie. I keep buy bags of frozen fruit so I always have the ingredients on hand. I mix some supplements like vitamins, flax oil, fish oil and protein powder in with the fruit to try and get an extra boost. I also try and eat a little bit of fish. Omega 3 has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression. You can checkout my super easy salmon recipe here.
When I’m depressed I get relentless headaches. The first thing I do to try and get some relief is chug a bunch of water. I’m really bad about drinking enough water. I bought a water bottle that keeps water cold forever and that seems to be helping. The second thing I do for headaches is peppermint oil. This stuff is a godsend for headaches. If you get headaches you have to try it out.
Depression and anxiety go hand in hand for me and I always struggle with both of them. Whenever I’m struggling with anxiety I cut sugar and caffeine from my diet. This makes a huge difference for me and I really recommend you try it if you struggle with anxiety. The second thing I like to do to help anxiety is drink chamomile or peppermint tea. I also like to use lavender essential oil to help with anxiety. When I’m feeling really anxious I like to curl up in bed with a cup of tea, lavender oil and a book and try to let some of the worry go.
I hope these little tips can help you get more comfortable while you recover but if you’re really struggling please go talk to a therapist or a Doctor. Remember this is only one of many phases of your life. There have been so many times when I felt like I would never recover but these days I live a (mostly) happy and joy filled life. If it’s possible for me then I know it is possible for you too.
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