Sometimes I wonder if people actually know the difference between being depressed and having a procrastination problem.
Anytime I have been at my lowest and tried to seek help online, I don’t think I’ve ever read something that was helpful in any way.
Don’t get me wrong, I do see how those things might help someone feeling down. But having dealt with depression and anxiety for almost a decade, I know there’s a lot of things out there, that just ain’t it.
Sometimes I do wonder if just maybe, we could differentiate between what we can do to avoid depression and what actually helps while going through depression.
Sure, when you’re feeling okay, those things can be a very helpful reminder. But, for me personally, the only moments when I started to google how I could help myself, were when I wasn’t able to do anything else anymore.
1. Be more active / Excercise
When you are depressed, there are times where you’re not even able to get out of bed. Even the “simple” task of taking a shower is something that might take weeks. What makes people think, that if even perfectly healthy people have a hard time motivating themselves to exercise, depressed people can just … do it?
2. Think more positively / Stop negative thoughts
You might think: “That’s not really something they’re saying anymore, right?” Wrong. Even though it’s hard to believe, there are still people that think it’s a good idea to compare depression — a serious mental illness — with having a bad day of complaining too much. I do know that our thoughts have so much power, but it can be really dangerous to make someone feel like that could be the answer to their problems.
3. Eat healthy
In September, when I had a particularly hard time with my illness, my boyfriend took care of me a lot. If it weren’t for him, there would have been days I probably wouldn’t have eaten at all. Sure, when I was alone, I didn’t cook, and if I ate it was probably just delivered pizza, but that was still much more realistic than me going outside and getting supplies for a healthy meal.
4. Start a routine
I am a great advocator of the power of routine. But routines are literally “a sequence of actions regularly followed”. Performing even one action can be extremely tiring. Starting a whole routine is something I never would have been able to do.
5. Do things that make you feel good
This one hurts a whole lot. When it comes to the things in life you would normally enjoy, depression does a good job of just taking those things away. It’s hard to do anything that makes you feel good. Because simply put, nothing does.
6. Get a daily dose of sunlight
People experience depression in a lot of stages and a lot of ways. For me, it ranged from not being able to leave my bed to wanting to go outside but just not being able to. I knew I needed sunlight, sometimes I even wanted it. But it just didn’t seem possible at times.
7. Improve your sleep
Insomnia, as well as Hypersomnia (or Excessive Daytime Sleepiness), can be actual symptoms of depression and are not so easy to just stop.
8. Clean your room / Do Chores
It’s true that your environment can heavily affect your mood. I know this to be true to myself. But what I’d rather like to see in those articles is something that doesn’t put as much pressure onto you as cleaning your entire room. Doing things bit by bit could go a long way. But something that seems simple to some, can actually be extremely hard and overwhelming to others.
I know these are not bad advice per se.
But they are taking something extremely complicated, and try to neatly wrap it in a simple package.
Reading those things made me feel like there was no hope for me. If I wasn’t able to follow a simple Step-By-Step List, what else was there I could do?
Those things might seem simple, those people might mean well.
But depression is hard. And much more complicated than that.
So maybe, instead of spending so much time, sharing these lists over and over again, we could spend more time explaining to those seeking help, that they are not able to help themselves.
So here’s the only tip, that in my opinion should be emphasized the most:
If you are depressed, seek help from someone else.
Seeking for help should not be a subclause, it shouldn’t be the last step if none of the others have worked so far.
The main aim of these articles should be to take the pressure off of people just trying to stay alive. And not give them a list of things to do.
Those things are important and they will help. But not if they pull you down first.
So seek help. Do those things, but don’t think you have to do them alone.
This could seriously be one of the only things, that could help people that are in desperate need, but are in so much denial, that they think they could actually do it on their own.