The Never-ending Blues

Dealing with depression is already hard enough, but adding in the everyday stressors that we face makes it much more difficult. We need to know how to cope with depression in healthy ways that won’t lead us to burn out and have a meltdown (but believe me, it’s okay if you do). We all struggle with sad thoughts, whether we’ve been formally diagnosed or not. It’s important that we learn ways to cope even if we don’t have depression because it could help you or a loved one. 

It’s important to know that with depression, the things that help the most are the most difficult to do. Difficult is not impossible though. It’s not quick nor easy, but it is worth it to try. You have more control than you realize. 

The key is to start small and build from that. With depression, it can feel like your feelings are a burden to everyone around you, and that’s a valid emotion to have. However, we have to counteract those emotions. 

Now I’m sure we’ve seen countless TikTok videos that help us remember to get moving, but physical activity really does help. If you are suffering from an episode that really seems to have its grip, try getting up as soon as you wake up and make your bed. Then reward yourself by crawling on top of the sheets and stretch to wake your muscles and relax for ten minutes (or not, if you’ll fall back asleep). After you stretch, get up and take a shower (or if you shower at night like me, get dressed). Notice that there isn’t a time limit to any of these, it’s important to work at your own pace. If you can only complete the first task, that’s okay. You made your bed, and that counts. It’s progress, no matter how much or how little. 

Along with the physical activity benefit, you can use it any time you feel down. If you’re working in an office, and feel a slump closing in, stand up and stretch. Take a minute or two and really focus on breathing when you stretch. Within a minute or two, you’ll feel a lighter mood coming on, and can return to work. It doesn’t seem like much progress at first, but the more of a habit you make of it, then the easier it gets and better it feels. If you’re home and feel the dark clouds setting in and you’re alone, turn on some music and dance. Just shake the blues away. That’s one of my favorite habits is dancing, because it really makes me feel good. 

Another habit is staying connected. Ever since the pandemic first started, people began to notice how the lack of communication and human contact started to affect their mental health. I was absolutely one of them, and I’m not ashamed of it. Lockdown started for me a few weeks earlier than it did in the United States as a whole because I was already on bed rest from surgery at the beginning of February 2020. So human contact was limited, and I didn’t get many visitors. The only person I had was the man I was dating at the time, and he would even ghost me for days at a time. So I really had time to sink into my own mind, and essentially lose it. It wasn’t until I connected with a few people on an app that allows personalized communities of other people with similar likes and hobbies, that I started to feel whole again. I realized how powerful it is to remain connected to others even if it’s only over the internet. If you don’t feel like connecting with anyone you know, then reach out to some apps like Amino- there are communities for everything on there. As always, practice internet safety, but sometimes it helps to just chat with others about your interests. 

Alternatively, you can always check out support groups for depression. If you don’t have a ride to one, find a virtual one like the one I have every Wednesday. You don’t even have to talk about your problems directly, you can just come and make small talk for an hour. Staying connected is very important! 

It’s not easy, but with the right support, you can feel normal again. You just have to keep fighting and find the right coping mechanism for you!

Check out these links for more information:

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