Ways to handle my depression

10 Feb

I know I haven’t been blogging a lot, but I like to think that the few posts  I’ve done in recent weeks have been substantive and offer my readers something interesting and new that they perhaps have not read or considered before. I think I would rather have a few really well constructed posts than a lot of posts that I don’t think through. I use tumblr (yesmeansyes.tumblr.com) to chart my day-to-day emotions, thoughts, and growth. This blog I use more for introspection and large ideas about the world and my life. So on to the actual topic of this post…

You might notice that the title says “my depression.” That’s because I don’t believe that depression is the same for every individual. Actually, I know for a fact that depression varies significantly from person-to-person. I’d like to make it clear that I don’t claim to speak for all those affected by depression. I’d simply like to discuss the ways I’ve found to deal with my depression, after many trials and tribulations. Hopefully this information will be helpful to someone out there.

1. Eat healthy. I know that when I’m sad, I’m always tempted to eat comfort foods. You know what I’m talking about – fatty, salty, greasy foods that fill your stomach but in reality do nothing to feed your heart or soul. I’ve found that the days and weeks I get enough fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium are the times when I feel most centered and prepared to deal with whatever mood swings my depression decides to throw my way.

2. Exercise. The absolute necessity of a good daily workout only came to my attention within the past few weeks. While I was home over my college’s five-week break, I only worked out once. That’s unhealthy for a lot of different reasons, but the reason which concerns me the most is that without exercise, I spend a lot of time feeling the lows of my depression, rather than the highs. My mood swings become more frequent and severe. I came back to school three weeks ago, and my mood (stability) has improved markedly since. I now realize this is because I go to the gym 5 to 6 times a week when I’m at school, and it helps center me, even on my lowest days.

3. Be productive. The college I attend is incredibly difficult academically and students tend to be involved in a lot of extracurriculars. Although this can sometimes be stressful, I also appreciate how it feels after I’ve completed a long day of classes, work, and meetings. I know I’m doing something good for myself (learning) that will eventually help me do good things for others (social justice and development). I really do love to learn, so school is a healthy place toward which I can direct my energies.

4. Drink in moderation. It’s no secret that college students binge drink. It’s also no secret that alcohol is a depressant. But I never used to think this was an issue for me, because I don’t typically get sad when I drink. However, I’ve come to realize that the depressant doesn’t just affect me while I’m actively drinking, but also for the hours and even days afterward. Being smart about how much I drink and paying attention to my mood before I start drinking are important steps in dealing with my depression.

5. Surround myself with people who love me. I have this nasty habit of chasing friendships with people who I believe will add something to my life. It works out sometimes. But it takes me a really long time to be okay with the situation when it doesn’t work out. Even after I realize that someone either can’t be or won’t be the friend I want or expect them to be, I continue to seek a relationship with that person. I’m trying to be more okay with the idea that sometimes friendships just don’t work out, and instead focus my energy on the friendships which do. My friends are an incredibly important defense mechanism against the down days which my depression occassionally inflicts upon me.

 

Hopefully as I continue my struggle with my depression, I will learn even more ways to keep it in check, and become more adept at recognizing when my current methods are no longer working. Until then, I’ll just keep plugging away. I hope this was helpful to some of you. I must say, it was helpful for me just to write it out.

 

Peace.

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