How to deal with depression?

POSTED: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:02 pm

Hi, I've been absent for a long time now, but I fear that there is a reason for my absence. Not very long ago, I was told by my psychologist to go to a psychiatrist due to a crisis that I had, that resulted in some serious...well, I got scars from that moment. The point is, I've been diagnosed with a neurological disorder, and it is very likely to be clinical depression. The thing is...I don't know how to deal with it. My mother and my sister both have their lives, and I don't want to interfer. 'Souls was a place where I could just distract myself from my sadness, find some joy, but sometimes it is all overwhelming and I just forget about everything. I don't know what to do to keep focus on my hobbies. I am taking my meds, but sometimes it is not enough. Can somebody help?

POSTED: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:16 pm

Hey, Foca. :) Honestly, you've gotten a very important step out of the way - admitting that this is occurring. It can be difficult and scary, but with that out of the way, you can focus on what's important: moving forward.

I think that a therapist might help, if you have access to one. Telling someone your feelings in real life can really help; don't be afraid to talk to your family, too. It's true that they may have their own lives, but they'd much rather help you, the one they love, than have you suffer even for a day. <3 If you don't feel like you can talk to anyone in real life, online resources are amazing - they're safe places that anyone can vent to, and anyone can listen. It can really help to get things out sometimes, even if just for a little bit.

I've experienced depression, and I've talked to others who have, as well; I can share some advice that I've given to others, if it'd be helpful to you. It can be hard to focus on the good things when the bad is overwhelming; in my experience, it's like a pair of glasses that blot out everything good and beautiful and kind, and only show and exemplify the evil and your lowest points

It's an impossible wall that we have to climb. It seems insurmountable, solid, unbreakable, inexorable - but it's not. We know in our heads that it's not, deep down, even if our warped worldview can't let us see anything but that wall. It's important to remember that the good is there, even if you just can't see it right now. You have low points - but you have high points, as well!

That's something worth fighting for. Something worth just going one more day to see again. If you're finding yourself struggling to continue on, just take it one day at a time; taking things in small bites, rather than swallowing everything at once, can really help from what I've experienced.
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POSTED: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:20 pm

I suffer from depression as well. They've recently changed up my meds on me. My first ones sent me into deeper depression and these have brought me back to my neutral point. So yeah, I understand the issue with meds. I can't exactly tell you how to deal with it, as I haven't really figured it out for myself, but I've been going to therapy and just having sometime to talk to has helped cause I bottle things inside until I can't stand it no more. Of course I have way more problems than just depression. But I go through those spells of losing focus and drive. Everything I used to enjoy I can't seem to do anymore. I get to where I can't get out of bed and just sleep all the time and have to be forced to eat. So I can understand what you are going through.

Maybe having someone to talk to will help? Or just writing down whatever is in your head and just getting it all out. I think uplifting music or movies has been suggested before. And as silly as it sounds I suggest trying chocolate. Chocolate release endorphins in the brain and endorphins are those happy chemicals. I keep a stash of chocolate near my bed for such an occasion. I'm not saying eat your way through depression or anything like that but just try some chocolate to see if that gives you a boost.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:52 am

I also suffer from depression, but I'm probably not the best person to talk about working with it. Mine is PTSD induced and I don't handle it the way most people do. What I do works but... really only cus I'm me. So I don't think talking about my methods would be best. Instead, I found this video that may help you.
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POSTED: Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:27 pm

Depression is really hard to "deal" with because when you are depressed you are not very inclined to do the things that will help you to feel less depressed. And it will vary for everyone, so if something someone suggests doesn't work for you, keep trying other things. This is going to be a HUGE wall of text, take whatever is helpful out of it and don't feel overwhelmed. You don't need to do everything or anything I say, they've just been what's helpful for me and people I know. I've been dealing with depression for a decade now and when I am being good with my self-care habits my life and mood are so much more manageable and I have okay, good and often great days. When I let the monster take the lead I have awful, shitty, and "I wish I were dead" days or I have weeks of "let's lay in bed and fuck everything else". It took a long time to get there, but I'm having more good days than bad and I think you can too.

First off, just try to take really good care of yourself, eating and exercise wise.

Eat healthy balanced meals. If you are eating fast food, junk food, lazy food your body and brain are not getting what they need to operate properly. You're going to feel even crappy physically and mentally. Eat foods that are metabolized as serotonin (chocolate, dark chocolate is best for this and also the healthiest choice, so darker the better! Eggs and fish will also be converted into animo acids that promote serotonin production). Try to cut out refined sugars, which will cause your moods to elevate and crash, instead go for fresh fruits, especially berries (blue berries are a wonderful "super food"). Up your intake of B vitamins especially, these help boost mood and energy! Avocados are a super food with greats fats and B vitamins. Eat bananas and dark leafy greens which are also rich in B vitamins. If you are a heavy coffee drinker try replacing some of it with green tea, while coffee can boost moods it can also increase tension in the body and stress. Green tea has lots of antioxidants, and it also has theanine which is an animo acid that promotes relaxation. You also really want to make sure you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, which really do effect how your brain functions and helps regulate moods. Salmon (and other "oily" fish) and walnuts are great sources of omega-3s. If you are worried about not getting the right vitamins or you're just so down you can't feed yourself, take a multi-vitamin. You won't absorb the good stuff as well if you were getting it from food but at least you're getting some of it. And avoid empty carbs, and gluten heavy foods. Our brains actually crave these when we are feeling down (bread for me :-/) but they just drag your mood down even further. Instead try to make sure you get some good protein in the morning, don't skip breakfast if you can help it because stable blood sugars really help to stabilize mood.

Get vitamin D. Take a supplement if you want, but sit in the sun. Seriously. At least 15 minutes a day if the sun is out. More is better. Just make sure you are definitely getting vitamin D. If you're interested they have light therapy lamps, which some people find helpful.

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. I sometimes seriously, seriously, seriously hate this... but! exercise is so helpful in combating depression. Exercise releases endorphins which are feel good chemicals. Exercise promotes a more positive self identity. Exercise reduces stress. Exercise can distract you from your blue/black thoughts. Exercise can get you out in the sunshine. Exercise can help you sleep better at night. Find some things you enjoy so that you're not thinking of it as "exercise" and you think of it more as play. Try to do something at least one a day. Go swimming. Go cycling. Go running. Walk someone's dog. Go hiking. Take dance classes. Do martial arts. Dance around the house by yourself. Or just drag yourself out of the house and walk at a snail's pace around the block (though really you do want to raise your heart rate!). Just try to do something active everyday. Maybe it's easier for you to do these things if you find a friend who likes to do them. Or you reward yourself with something after. Sometimes getting into the habit of exercising is hard, but once you're into the habit of moving your body will want to keep moving. Experiment with when it works best for you. For me, if I exercise in the morning I feel better and more productive all day, it's like a jump start. For my friend, exercising and wearing herself at night is the only thing that helps her sleep. Just find something that works for you and commit to doing it, even if at first it seems pointless.

Don't let yourself get isolated. Don't be afraid to reach out to people. Let some friends or your family members know you're struggling and that it would be helpful for them to call and check in with you. Call and check in with them, because sometimes focusing on someone else's life helps distract you from your own. If family or friends aren't an option, try some meetups or just go out to a coffee shop and be around people. Talk to your psychologist. If you're religious or spiritual, find a like minded community. Check in here with folks (I use to do this! Thanks guys.). If you don't want to talk to anyone you know but you're feeling really down, call a crisis hotline. There are a TON of them out there. You can even call one across the country and they are still going to talk to you. You can even say "I'm just feeling really depressed and it would be helpful if you could talk to me for a little while."'

Personally I much prefer living alone, but I am happier and more regulated when I live with roommates. If I live alone and I'm spiraling, I can go days without having anyone ask "hey, what's up?". I can get drunk for a week straight and no one's going to be there to get concerned. I can get really caught up in my own dark little world because there is no one else there for me to ask how they are doing. But it's cool too if you live alone, do you have pets? Pets can be super therapeutic. They provided someone to talk to whose not going to judge you. Petting them reduces stress and loneliness. And in the very least, at least you have to get out of bed to feed the dang cat or let the dog outside to pee (seriously, sometimes having Laika is the only reason I hadn't done something awful to myself in the early days, because if I'm gone whose going to take care of my darling creature?!!)

Or volunteer! At an animal shelter. At an old folk's home. At a soup kitchen/homeless shelter. Whatever cause you think is a worthy one, do something to further it! Giving back to a community helps you to feel included in it and increases one's sense of purpose. And often you meet some pretty awesome people along the way.

Let your dark thoughts out. Talk to a friend. Call a hotline and tell them. Journal. Write poetry. Just cry. Often I will write all the horrible things I am feeling and thinking and then I ripped it up, flush it down the toilet, burn it in the fireplace... and then I let those thoughts go for a little while.

Is your psychologist your regular therapist? If not find a regular therapist and go as often as is helpful. If you don't like the first one, or the second one, (or the thirst one) keep looking. Different people have different counseling styles and you'll find one that suits your needs. They can help teach you different methods of coping with depression. They can help you to self reflect on and identify unhealthy and unhelpful thought patterns and teach you new ways of thinking. They can just be someone to vent to. And they can really be instrumental in working through past traumas that are still haunting us.

Stay away from depressants. It's easy and tempting sometimes to use substances to blur emotions and cope with all the crap, but in the long term they are messing with your brain in a bad way and making the long term so much harder.

Make it a practice to be grateful. What you think of first thing in the morning and what you think of last at night sticks more in your memory and brain than what happens throughout the day. Try to look forward to one thing every day when you wake up. Or set your alarm to a song that makes you feel good. Or come up with a positive mantra you say to yourself each morning, even if you don't believe it at first. At night try to identify a few positive things that happened that day, even if they seem really tiny and silly (Well, I'm grateful the cat didn't shit on the floor today!). Or just think about anything you are happy about and focus on that a little before you fall asleep. Or make a "positive only" journal. Write in it when you're feeling up. Read it over when you are not.

Practice meditation. Focus on a positive image. Focus on just breathing. Practice focusing on nothing. Try to move something with your mind.

Try to laugh at least once a day. Even if it's a sardonic, cynical kind of laugh... Sometimes nothing at all will be funny, but try to put up some pictures that tickle you, or go read some jokes online, or watch a movie you find funny. Some psychologist have found that if you force yourself to smile, the chemicals in your brain react. Stick a pencil between your teeth and hold it there for five minutes. Then laugh at yourself because you look ridiculous...

Remind yourself that you are important and worthwhile and it's okay and GOOD to take care of yourself and love yourself. Look up "self care" techniques and find some you enjoy. ALLOW yourself to love and care for yourself. Get a massage. Take a trip somewhere. Buy yourself a new outfit, game, book or whatever. Eat your favorite meal. Just make sure you take the time and effort for yourself.

And take each day for what it is. Read up on "living in the moment." Practice living in the here and now, and forgetting about the past (depression) or the future (anxiety). Today might suck real bad, but that's just today. You don't know what tomorrow will be, or even the rest of today. Do your best and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up if you are in bed for a week. There will be another week. Don't get mad if you don't end up doing everything you "should", be proud of whatever it is you have done. Don't be overwhelmed, make tiny changes initially and grow off of them. Changing your habits is hard. Living with depression is really hard. Remember though you are not your emotions. Those are just chemical reactions in your brain and they are able to change and you will learn how to alter them for the better or regulate them with medication.

Sorry if that was too much (again, take what you want from it), but in the very least know there's people here rooting for you and an internet stranger just spent an hour and a half solely cuz she wants you to be happy (and I really do!).

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POSTED: Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:46 am

Well, since I madre this post several things have happened. But still, thank all of you for answering.

I fear that things didn't go very well at first. My boyfriend broke up with me and that did notbhelp me ver y much, but seeing what I madre my friends pass through made me see things a little bit clearer.

I do have pets, and although I still live with my family, they depend on me mostró of the time. They are really helpful when I wake up in a foul mood, they always manage to bring a smile to my face.

I also try to improve my eating habits. Particularly in México it is a little bit hard. Fatty foods are the most common and economic option if you are out. But I'm trying not to eat them as much, and rather bring my own food with me. Chocolate...I try to eat it every now and then, as well as nuts and fruit.

Exercise...I don't have much time, but I'm trying to walk more rather than use public transport. Walk to the supermarket to run errands, to the bank...everywhere.

Spending time with my friends is helping as well. I feel like smiling more often, but I still face many bad thoughts when I'm alone. I know that I will have to mover to live by myself some day, but so dar, I'm trying to find help to figure my thoughts out.

Thank you, guys :)

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