All is not lost when I’m going through a period of deepening depression. Sometimes it seems like it is, especially during the worst moments of hopelessness. But if I lift my head long enough, I can see that there are things that I can do for myself to feel better.
And if you’ve ever been depressed, you’ll know that feeling even a little bit better can be a great relief.
I’m looking forward to seeing my therapist this week and my psychiatrist this week or next. In the meantime, here are some nonmedical things that have offered me some relief within the last few weeks:
*Spending time with my husband. Being with my husband, who is patient and kind and loving, lifts me up on even the worst days. Larry knows I’m not doing well, but he tries to draw me into conversation and make me laugh.
Even just being near Larry, knowing that he’s in the next room, makes me feel less alone. We spend a lot of time together on weekends. During the week, when our schedules allow, lunch with Larry breaks up my workday in a wonderful way.
*Spending time with my cats. Being in nature is good for my hurting spirit. I can’t seem to muster the energy or motivation to spend a lot of time outside, but I have nature in my house in the form of two furry creatures, Sam and Chase.
Focusing on them and their needs—for food, water, treats, warm places to sleep and lots of attention—takes me out of myself at least temporarily.
And their purrs and the sweet nudges they give me with their heads are balm to my heart.
*Reading books. I’m glad the reading OCD has receded because reading has been a big relief for me. I’m currently reading a mystery/thriller, which helps me to get out of myself and enter a different world for a while, and a nonfiction book that is teaching me a lot about the spirit.
*Reading blogs. Reading about the journeys that others are taking helps me know I’m not alone, gives me ideas for what I might do and just reminds me of all the good people out there striving to live life the best ways they can.
*Taking time to breathe. I tend to feel overwhelmed, especially when I’m at work. I find that stopping for just a minute or two and listening to my breath puts me in a better frame of mind.
There are other nonmedical things that I know help with depression that I haven’t been doing. For example, exercise can offer relief from depression. And it doesn’t have to be a workout at the gym. It can be a walk.
Being around other people and focusing on them or a shared activity can also be helpful.
I haven’t been exercising, and I’ve been staying at home most of the time when I’m not at work.
This is a case where I know about things that would help me feel better, but I don’t have the energy or inclination to do them. That needs to change, I know.
In the meantime, I will continue my activities that I’ve been doing. And I'll continue to have hope that things will get better.
What helps you when you’re feeling depressed, low or in a negative mood?