Depression ranges from mild to moderate to severe and strikes without warning. Sometimes you know the reason, other times it seems there is no reason. Depression affects your thinking and your very soul.
If you speak to anyone who’s been through depression, they’ll say it’s like being at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with the ladder removed and no way out.
Medication will dull the pain, but drugs can’t undo whatever triggered your depression in the first place. Some people take medication or have counselling for years with no real success.
Depression is an awful, awful thing. People who don’t understand think it’s the weak who suffer, but it’s not. In my experience it’s people who strive and strive and push themselves too hard until even getting up can be impossibly difficult. So, how can you begin to climb of out of the hole?
(If you’ve been diagnosed with, or are being treated for depression, you should speak to your doctor before starting anything new.)
If you’re experiencing depression now, you need a good support network around you and the first member of your support team needs to be YOU. There are five factors that can have a direct impact on depression. They are:
Anyone pushing themself too hard and not getting enough sleep, eating a poor diet and drinking too much, whilst not doing either exercise or meditation is not setting themselves up to be at their best. If you identify with any of the above, it’s worth considering anything that will lift you out of the mire. It’s important to pace yourself, every journey starts with a single step. Here are two simple steps to begin your journey.
Get a piece of paper, or even better a notebook. Put yourself in your favourite chair and write down things you enjoy about your life and like about yourself; it doesn’t matter how big or small. This is a good way to reconnect with the feeling of joy and take time out from pushing yourself too hard.
I recently found an old notebook with just such a list. I remember how I was feeling when I wrote it. At that time, all I could think of were objects I liked, but I remember how the list took off. It may have started with candles and flowers but pretty soon it had my dog and the garden and the kitchen and my favourite jugs (I collect those). The good thing was that by the time I finished, I’d begun to appreciate the entire contents of my house and it still feels good to read it even now.
And how about YOU? What do you like about yourself? It may be that you’re very kind to others, good at cooking spaghetti bolognaise and wear polished shoes. Remember, it’s for your eyes only and it’s good to see those things written down.
Breathing affects the way your brain functions and If you’re in the stress response [fight/flight/freeze] it’s most likely you’re doing short, shallow breaths. That needs to change. Sit upright in a chair and start by doing a big inhale with your shoulders wide open, followed by a hold, and a whooshing exhale and a hold. Do 5 to 10 of those and automatically you will begin to feel better and more relaxed.
A good tip is to use a mobile phone or something that has two long and two short sides. Begin to trace the long side as you breathe in, along the top for the hold, down the long side while you breathe out and along the bottom for a hold again. (Remember to turn the sound down while you do this or it may make you jump!)
Another more general thing is to keep moving – I hesitate to say ‘exercise’ but that’s effectively what I mean. Walking, running, dancing, housework or gardening. Anything to get your body moving because it changes your state. Even a short walk, with the promise of a cup of tea at the end, will make a difference.
I remember a wonderful carer telling me about a lady she was caring for who just sat in a chair all day and wouldn’t even look up. One day she had the idea to take her music player with her and insist that the lady got up to dance – which, eventually, she did. By the end of the afternoon the lady was much cheered and never looked back. Moving is good for both body and mind.
Just doing these simple steps will reignite your quest for a ladder. Remember, you don’t need to do them all at once. It’s all a question of balance.
Don’t wait, get in touch now to start your recovery:
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If you’re in a deep, dark space now, do seek help because nobody should face depression alone.
You know, and I truly believe, you deserve to be in a better space.
I wish you all the very best.