Everything You Need to Know About Living with Depression
I’ve been living with depression for as long as I can remember. I wanted to compile all of the information I have about living with depression into one ultimate post. Feel free to bookmark this post and I will update it as I find new information and resources about living with depression.
You’re Not Alone
I get emails from people every day from people who tell me they feel very alone. If you’re feeling like this know that you aren’t alone. A lot of people are dealing with depression and seasonal depression every day and you might not even realize it’s affecting people you know. According to healthline.com, over 16 million adults had a major depressive episode in 2012. There’s nothing wrong with you for struggling with your mental health and there’s definitely nothing wrong with asking for help. There’s still so much stigma around mental health that a lot of people will end up living with depression in silence because they are too ashamed to get the help that they need. Your pain doesn’t serve you and if you’re suffering I urge you to reach out to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a friend get a therapist. Recovering from depression can be a long road and you should try to create some kind of support system for yourself.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. If you’re looking for more medical information visit this page by the Mayo Clinic. Some of the most common symptoms are:
-Feelings of overwhelming sadness
-Outbursts of anger or frustration
-Sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
-Loss of appetite or weight gain
-Little interest in doing anything
-Difficulty paying attention
-Lack of energy
-Feeling worthless or guilty
Treatment Options and Coping
There are tons of ways to manage anxiety. The best thing to do is to try out a few things and see what works for you. A lot of these things require consistency to see results so try to add some of them to your daily routine to help you do them more often. Here are some of the things that have helped me feel better while living with depression. I have a whole post about how I pull myself out of a depressive episode here.
When I used to commute I would say affirmations in my car. Now that I work at home I like to write a page of them in my journal every morning. I just think of things that speak to me and free write a whole bunch of them. If you’re new to using affirmations I have a post on how to use affirmations here and free affirmations you can download below. I also have a free mental health planner that has space to write daily affirmations you can download for free here.
I don’t meditate all the time but if I start to notice my depression or anxiety getting worse I will add it to my daily routine. I am not great at sitting in silence and meditating so I usually stick to guided meditations. You can find all of my favorite guided meditations for depression here or try these gratitude meditations. I like to do them first thing in the morning to help me start the day off on a good foot. I also find that the more regularly I do them the better I feel. Doing them as part of my morning routine helps me to keep up the daily practice.
Journaling really helps me manage my mental health and stay positive. I free write in my journal every day, answer prompts and write out my goals. I have a post all about journaling for depression and anxiety here. If you haven’t tried journaling I really recommend it. When I’m really feeling down I write a couple pages about everything that I am thankful for. Focusing on positive things in my journal helps me elevate my mood and keep things in perspective when I’m having a bad day. I also have some gratitude journal prompts you can try to help you focus on what you’re thankful for in your life.
I have been in therapy forever and if you haven’t gone I recommend it. I have a post about how to find a therapist you can find here. It takes time to find the right person but if you’re living with depression or struggling with mental health I think it’s definitely worth your time and money. I get all of my therapy from BetterHelp and I’m able to talk to my therapist over the phone, skype or email. It works a lot better for me than trying to go talk to someone in person. If you’re interested in reading more about my experience with BetterHelp check out my post here. If you haven’t been to therapy before and you’re feeling nervous be sure to check out my post about going to therapy for the first time. If you’re not ready to talk to a therapist you can also talk to a Doctor. They can run tests and see if you have any kind of vitamin deficiencies and look for any other medical causes.
Eating healthy is a constant struggle for me. I’m not the best at sticking to healthy food but it makes a huge difference in my mental health. I have a cookbook I created that has all my favorite recipes in it that has ingredients in them to help with depression and anxiety. I try to stick to a lot of vegetables, fruit, and fish and avoid processed food. I definitely have days where I suck at eating healthy but when I’m able to stick to my diet I notice a huge difference in my mood. As soon as I start to feel depressed I cut out all processed food and start eating really clean.
Working out regularly has literally changed my entire life. I just feel so much better when I go to the gym on a regular basis. If I can’t get to the gym I will do a quick ten-minute workout on YouTube. They’re perfect for if you’re feeling depressed because they are really short but will still give you some endorphins and help you start feeling a little better. When I’m depressed I try to just do a few minutes a day and when I’m feeling better I workout about four times a week to stay depression free. Check out all my favorite tips for using exercise to manage depression in this podcast episode.
Let your friends and family know what’s going on and ask them for support. Sometimes even just letting people in your life know you’re struggling can bring some relief. Be honest about how you are feeling and ask for help if you need it. Think about how the people in your life could support you and let them know how they can help. I have a podcast episode about how to ask for help when you’re struggling with mental illness and I would love it if you gave it a listen. If you’re struggling with negative people in your life start setting strong boundaries and try a social media detox. Sometimes unplugging can help you surround yourself with people who truly care about you.
There are tons and tons of resources you can check out. No matter what you’re struggling with there’s a book about it. You can find my favorite books about living with depression, mental health podcasts, mental health blogs and TED talks about depression. If you’re looking for more information to help you on your mental health journey check out my courses here. I find that the more information I have about depression the easier it is to manage it and there’s a ton of great information available.
Setting goals has helped me manage my depression. Sometimes they’re small goals like getting out of bed and other times they’re big goals like creating this blog. If I don’t set goals I find that I am quickly lost and distracted. When you’re depressed your energy is a limited resource and setting goals helps me focus my energy on the things that need to get done. I have tips for getting things done when you don’t feel like doing anything here. If you’re looking for some ideas for goals check out my post on resolutions for your mental health or this post about how to set goals when you’re depressed.
It’s hard to have fun when you’re living with depression but you need to make every effort to go have some fun. You need to act like it is critical to your recovery because it is. Go hang out with a friend that makes you laugh or if you don’t have a ton of energy go to a movie. Get dressed and go do something that you enjoy. It can be really difficult to make yourself do the things that you used to find enjoyable but even just doing something for a short amount of time can help you start to feel a little better. Try doing something outside or watch some of these shows. There are also a ton of TED talks about depression you can watch. You can also try one of these 50 things to feel better right now or do some of these super easy self-care activities.
Do a google search and see if there’s an in-person support group that you can join. If not there are tons of online support groups full of people living with depression. I have a mental health support group for women over on Facebook that is filled with tons of bad ass ladies working on their mental health. You can apply to join here. If you’re living with depression know that you are not alone, there are a lot of us out here.
I hope this post will help you while you’re living with depression. If you’re looking for more information check out my post about seasonal depression here and my other posts about depression. I also have a resource library with tons of free printables and worksheets you can access here.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. 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) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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