Updated: May 26
Let me start by saying that I titled this post strategically. I didn’t call it “How to Cure Depression” for a reason. I don’t personally believe that you can cure depression. However, I do believe that you can find ways to improve it.
Also, keep in mind that this is what worked for me. What worked for me could have no effect on someone else. You need to find what’s right for you.
This is just my opinion, I’m not a doctor, but I think that there are different “versions” of depression. Some people are depressed because of a past situation, some people are depressed because they are currently going through something, some people have depression because they have a chemical issue in their brain, and more.
Well, I’m the one with the chemical issue in my brain.
For example, I’m on medication for depression and have been for a long time now. On a daily basis, I’m pretty happy. Last week, I skipped my medication for one day (by accident). ONE day. For the rest of the week, even after I’d restarted my medication, I had no motivation. I was extremely tired. I didn’t workout or eat right. I was sick. I felt like I was in a fog all over again. Nothing bad or sad had happened to me, I just had a chemical imbalance.
Anyway, no matter what type of depression you may have, I think that you can at least take a few things away from my personal experience with improvement. So, let's get into it..
Obviously, the number one thing that helped me was medication, because I have a chemical depression. I don't know how, but it gives me energy, motivation to do things, keeps me in a positive mood, etc. I’m a huge advocate for being medicated - but if you asked me if everyone with depression should be medicated, I would say no. I believe that it differs between the different variations of depression. But it was the best decision for me.
The second thing that really helped me the most was exercise. Exercise gives you more energy and raises your endorphin levels (I like to call them happy chemicals). Another huge reason that it helped me so much was because it gave me more confidence. I’m confident that I can run 6+ miles, I’m confident in my ability to do hard work, and I’m a lot more body-confident (coming from ground 0, but still). I’m proud of those things.
Third in line is getting enough sleep. I’ve noticed that (pretty much) every time that I get upset about something, I’m exhausted. That’s why whenever I get upset, I instantly take a nap. About 80 percent of the time, I wake up in a much better mood and have a changed mindset on the issue.
Fourth, I stay organized. In having depression, anxiety, ocd, and bipolar disorder - I have a lot of thoughts rolling around my head all day. I have a really bad memory and I easily get stressed and overwhelmed. So being able to control something to help this, is really good for me. I have a (rough) schedule every day to keep me in routine. I write down everything I need to remember. I plan out when I will do my work so I don’t get overwhelmed by it. It’s the little things that end up making a huge difference.
Fifth, I stay productive. For me, the main thing that my depression controls is my motivation levels. So when I take a break from my routine, it’s SO hard for me to get back into it. So I stay in routine and get a LOT of things done. I absolutely love going to sleep knowing that I made my day worth something. It makes me feel like I have a purpose and it allows me to be proud of myself!
Sixth, I stay open and honest with myself and others. I have come to terms with the fact that I have a mental disorder. I give myself grace because I know that having a mental disorder can be hard to live with. You wouldn’t ask someone in a wheelchair to walk, and you can’t ask someone with depression to stay happy. So, I don’t push myself to do things that I don’t feel comfortable with. I tell my friends when I’m not having a good day. I cancel plans. I take time for myself so I can recover as quickly as possible.
Seventh, I don’t let myself wallow in it. Yes, I have depression, but I don’t allow it to stop me from living a happy life. I take the time to process what I’m going through, journal it out (SO important), brainstorm how to fix it, and then get over it.
I don’t allow myself to be sorry for myself anymore. Quite honestly, it’s NEVER going to help. I’ve learned that you can be sorry for yourself, but it’s just going to keep you in the same bad place that you started in.
Lastly, I started to make myself realize the things that I’m blessed with and thankful for. I have a healthy body, a loving and supportive family, an education, a roof over my head, and SO many other things that I used to take for granted. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t appreciate something until it’s gone.
Just know that depression doesn’t have to be the end. You don’t have to wake up tomorrow and be sad just because you have depression. It’s all about perspective. Like I said in my Instagram post yesterday: dress it up. You GET to work, you GET to move your body, you GET to hang out with your family.. Be appreciative of those things, and focus on them. Focus on the good.
Have a great week everyone!