Repeated small note: this is one of three methods that I found worked for me last week, but they aren’t replacement for medication, therapy or living healthily, they are only in addition to those things. They can’t cure depression, but notice the warning signs early enough and they may help to stop it taking hold. There are plenty of excellent blogs and medical sites talking about depression and the various ways to fight it, but I haven’t seen these three methods (methods one and two in previous blogs) anywhere else, so I’m writing them down in the hope they will be of use to someone. If they don’t work for you, please try not to get frustrated, we are all different, and depression is a complex illness.
When the doldrums start to take hold, try:
Doing something you don’t want to do
This sounds counter-intuitive. When I start getting depressed, all I want to do is hide in comforting, often repetitive, behaviour. I want to watch TV programs I’ve seen a thousand times before; or eat cake, then biscuits, then more cake; or browse the same websites over and over. However, instead of making me happy, ultimately this behaviour makes me feel useless and that I’ve wasted time; which leads to me feeling even more disgusted with myself.
As I explained in previous blogs, the things you want to do when depressed tend to be the very things that will lead to more depression. It’s as if the depression gremlin himself is taking control of your behaviour to perpetuate your state of misery. In order to reduce the power of depression you have to ignore what the gremlin is telling you, and do the opposite. In this case that means stop seeking out comforting, lazy behaviour and do something useful that you don’t like doing.
The thing you choose to do needs to fulfil certain criteria:
- Not too difficult or stressful, something you can definitely do, even when feel rough
- Something that needs doing and that you tend to avoid doing, so that you can feel smug afterwards
- Preferably something physically active
- If not physically active, then something that takes all your concentration
The best things I have found are to clean the flat, sort out bills, or have a tidy up/clear out. Or all of those.
Now the depression will try and convince you that it isn’t fair you should have to do something crappy when you’re feeling bad, but that’s because it wants to survive. And if you’re feeling crap anyway, then you might as well make the most of it.
At the end of the activity you may still feel sad, but at least you won’t have an additional reason to be angry with yourself. And your home will be clean.
A final round-up of the information in these three blogs:
The best time to fight depression is before it has really taken hold. It’s not easy to work out when this is happening, so try to pay attention to when your thinking starts to get negative, learn what kind of thoughts appear when you start getting low.
When are you are still in those early stages, the following methods may help:
- Paying attention to pleasant sensations/happenings in order to combat negative focus. Method one here.
- Being nice to people, so that they are nicer in return and that makes you feel more positive and happy. Method written about here.
- Do something that you tend to put off, so that you can feel smug afterwards.
I hope that at least one of these methods is helpful for you. If you’re suffering with depression, please remember you don’t have to go through it alone.