While dealing with depression, it might be hard to imagine “Living Well” or “Living your best life”. Please know that living well with depression is possible! Here are some tips.
Life with depression isn’t an easy one, people struggle to work their way through learning how to manage the illness. I think one of the first things that someone newly diagnosed with depression needs to realize is that this is something that they are going to need to learn how to work with.
Think of your depression as you would think about bringing a newborn home from the hospital. Little by little, you get used to the little one, and they get used to you and the world, and slowly but surely your lives together become a little more manageable.
Depression is like that. After diagnosis, you are going to flounder around to find what you need in order to live well with depression. You’re going to experiment with techniques, and they might work. Sometimes they fail spectacularly and you know never to try that again. What you most need to know about living with depression is that you are not condemned to a life of misery. Depression is something that you CAN live with, and not just make out a meager existence. You can live well with depression. Here are all the areas you’ll need to examine as you develop what your treatment plan is.
Self-care is about so much more than a quick spa treatment or a bath bomb. Self-care involves everything that it takes to keep yourself going. That means you’ll want to make self-care a priority. Make it a point to tend to your basic hygiene and health needs first.
Many people, especially women, struggle to put themselves as a priority. When you are struggling with depression, this is not an option for you. You cannot put your family and your career ahead of your own needs anymore. Yes, of course, those things are still a huge priority, but the main one has to be your health. That means sometimes you are going to have to say no to things you cannot take on. You may not be able to please everyone as much as you would like.
This is the stark reality of managing a chronic condition and you are going to have to get acquainted with that in order to live well with depression.
Our very busy lives can lead us running in many different directions, and that is ok but in order to maintain good health, we are going to need to establish some form of normalcy for ourselves to keep everything flowing the way it should. For that, we need routine.
Your routine can be as simple as always reading an inspirational quote over breakfast, or starting with a quick phone call to a parent, or eating a favorite food every morning. Routine is one of the areas that help to give us a sense of normalcy, even when our minds are telling us that everything has gone horribly wrong. Establishing a day and night time routine is not as difficult as you think. Grab a planner or a journal to help you along. Establish what parts of your day you cannot live without and get started building your routine from there.
When you are learning a new skill, it is difficult not to become frustrated with yourself. Learning to manage your depression is a skill, and it is critical to remember that. Unfortunately, many times in life we do get frustrated with ourselves and that can lead us to a place where we begin to use negative self-talk. This is not just a struggle for people with depression. We all say things to and about ourselves that aren’t the kindest, like “I’m stupid” or “ I would never be able to do that.” The way that we speak about ourselves is a huge predictor of our self-esteem and our levels of depression. Can negative self-talk make you depressed in the first place? It isn’t quite as simple as that, there are many contributing factors to depression. However, if you can find a way to manage the negative things you might think or say about yourself, you’ll find that you will find depression a little more endurable. Learning to like yourself and say positive things to yourself will ultimately take you further than trying to convince yourself that you are no good or unworthy.
Personal Support System
Nobody is an island unto themselves. Humans are an interdependent species. We need interaction with each other to survive, and problem solve, and thrive. When you are learning to manage your depression, you are going to need several pieces in your support system: family, friends, and medical professionals. Every piece of that puzzle is going to create a network for you that helps to resolve the depression in different ways. Your friends and family will be there to support you in emotional and practical ways, whether it is giving you a hug, or maybe helping you go grocery shopping to have solid things to eat in the house. Your family and friends are there to help remind you of the best you that you are when you can’t see it anymore, and they are going to encourage you to keep moving forward when you feel like you cannot go on.
Professional Support System
Even though your friends and family are incredible, you are going to need some help from the professionals as well. Nobody in your life is going to be able to substitute for a good therapist and a physician of some sort to support you. Therapy will help you to work your way through the underlying issues that contribute to depression. Physicians can also give you medications that can help to break through the depression. Depression is a medical condition for many of us, and it is essential to have medical treatment as a part of your plan.
Living With Depression, and Well!
Focusing on these steps is going to allow you to come up with a plan of attack. Living in the world of depression can be new and intimidating, but I have faith in you. Remember, a treatment plan isn’t a once and done process. Learning how to manage your depression is an ever-shifting, life-long process. Take your time to work things out. If you find something worked for you once but it doesn’t anymore, don’t be frustrated with yourself. Keep working through your emotions with the pros, reaching out for support where you can, and recognizing when you just need a break. You’re going to be just fine.