19 Feb How to Pull Yourself Out of Depression
Depression can be an insidious beast, sneaking up on you slowly, creeping into different facets of your life and before you know it, it has you in a stranglehold. You lash out at friends and family for trivial reasons, or maybe you simply withdraw socially. You feel alone and paradoxically, crave being left alone, yet yearn for love and acknowledgement of your pain. In short, pulling yourself out of depression can be a bitch. It is a war. You versus this dark cloud that will seep back into your life if you let up even a bit in the fight. It takes a person who has suffered depression to to understand it. One of the most frustrating things when you suffer from depression is that your friends and family, the people you love and trust the most, often will have no idea what you are going through and lack understanding and empathy of what’s taking over you because they have never experienced depression.
For those out there who suffer depression, know that you are not alone. If you are considering drastic, irreversible measures, please reach out the folks at the Suicide Hotline (….). For all others, wet your beak in my story below about what has worked for me and maybe you might find a nugget that can help you escape that dark cloud and find the light, if even for a time.
The root cause of depression is worry. Worrying and beating yourself up over past mistakes, which you cannot change; and the future, which you have no control.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu
The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begin with One Step
Sometimes in life you need to do a reset, when I was at my rock bottom – out of shape, unemployed, mother with stage IV cancer, ailing father and friendships faltering all around me – I found my life was spinning out of control. I needed to regain some semblance of stability in the emotional chaos around me, so the first thing I did was I took stock of what I could control: namely, diet and alcohol (drugs)
Take a Booze Break.
For me, keeping alcohol out of my life just made things easier. Alcohol is a depressant, as such, you may feel like a rock star for the first few hours on it, but after a while you will swing to greater depths of despair. Not what you are looking for when trying to regain control. For me, the most difficult part of ditching the booze from my life was the social aspect. So much of my life was built around socializing in bars and going out, that it takes tremendous amounts of discipline to keep the booze to a minimum. However, despite losing a bit of social interaction, the upside is feeling clear and much less emotionally erratic.
Working in conjunction with getting rid of alcohol for a bit, focusing on nutrition helped spur me to dig myself out of the depression hole. With the booze out of the way and a clearer mind, I didn’t realize how much influence food and my diet had over on my mental state. Investing in learning everything you can about nutrition, and your body pays more dividends long term than anything. You can be the most financially successful person you can dream of, but it means nothing if you don’t have your health.
8 IDEAS to pull yourself out of depression
- Diet- As the old adage does…’You are what you eat’, but maybe a more apt description might be ‘You feel like how you eat’. Along with exercise, changing your diet is the best way to change your mind. Eating the right foods will help give you energy, and will aid you tremendously with your mental stability.
- Exercise– Working out, whether weight training, cardio, or sports, is the best way to raise your mood. Daily exercise will give you discipline and tangible goals to shoot for. Not only will you mentally feel better each day, but the longterm effects on your body shape will give you more confidence which in turn will make you feel better. Exercise has been shown to be more effective than medication in many instances. WIN.
- DogSit- Do you like animals? Not sure? Either way, try dogsitting with Rover.com. For me, it was one of the best things I have done for my mental well-being. Being able to care for another creature helped get me out of over thinking about myself. Having a dog that loves you unconditionally and treats you like Bruce Springsteen when you come through the door will dramatically improve your day.
- Pick New Project– Sometimes when my life seems to be spinning out of control and heading to a dark place, mustering creativity can be a challenge. However, being creative and getting involved with something that helps get my mind off my own ‘problems’ can be a great way to help reset.
- Volunteer– Giving to others is one of the best ways to start feeling better about ourselves and make the world a little better place. If dogsitting isn’t your thing, than there are tons of other places you can spend sometime that will help give you a little bit of perspective on helping others less fortunate than you.
- Meditate– In the Buddhist tradition, recognizing emotions going through you as emotions and detaching themselves from the real you, will help you greatly in slowly try to get yourself into a more calm, stable state of mind. Not quite sure how to meditate? Headspace is a great app that helps you learn to meditate for just 10 minutes per day.
- Try to get social – This maybe one of the hardest on the list, as when you are depressed, you don’t want to see anyone. You want the world to disappear and leave you alone.
- Challenge your thoughts – Every time you find yourself worrying and beating yourself up about things that have happened in the past, stop for a second. Write down each of those thoughts and challenge them with a counter argument.
- Stay away from social media – When you’re depressed the last thing you want to see is people bragging on social media. Looking at smiley happy pictures of other people on Facebook is only going to make you feel bad about yourself, so try to limit your usage as much as possible.
- Speak to Someone – If you don’t want to physically drag yourself down to a therapist’s office or pay ridiculous fees, Better Help is a much more affordable alternative. With this app you can message your therapist as often as you like and read their responses in your own time. You can start with a free 7-day trial and after that its $45 per week, but with that fee you can speak to your therapist as often as you like.
Once you’ve started to take physical action, you should feel most emotionally stable. The swings will be less and you can start to identify your emotions. Lastly, as you begin this process of resetting, you must learn to forgive yourself along the way. Depression is one of those things for many of us that will remain a lifelong battle, and learning to forgive yourself is an essential step so that should you fall back down that dark hole, each time it isn’t nearly as deep. Just remember on your path back to the light, that each day, even the smallest step, is a huge victory.
Do you have any tips for how to pull yourself out of depression? Leave a comment below.