I hate that I get depressed. I hate feeling so worthless, unloved, and incapable of doing anything. I see a therapist now and while I can’t stop myself from getting depressed, I have tools now that help manage things.

First, I remind myself that it isn’t real. Depression lies. I am not the things that the voice inside my head tells me. That doesn’t always work, so then I focus on basic self-care skills. When I say basic, I mean basic. Like I make sure I am eating something healthy, even if it is just a sandwich and a piece of fruit. I force myself to get in the shower and wash my hair. I brush my teeth. I put on clean clothes. Even if that is all I have the energy to do. And if I don’t have the energy to do that stuff, then I nap. I will take small naps to be sure that I can try to sleep at night. If I am having trouble sleeping, I take some melatonin at night. That usually helps me stay on a day/night wake cycle and prevents insomnia. Proving that I can take care of myself does make me feel a little better.

Once I have established that I can take care of myself, I’ll try to do something that has made me happy in the past. This might be as simple as looking through pictures on my computer or watching a funny movie. It does not have to take a lot of energy to do, which at that stage is usually a good thing.

If I can manage it, the next thing I try is some exercise. If it is nice out, maybe I will go for a walk. If it is not, I might try some yoga. Sometimes all I can deal with is a change of scenery and some good music in my headphones. But getting out of my apartment can sometimes get me out of my own head a little, and that can help. Again, it isn’t a cure, but it can lift my spirits.

Then I will usually reach out to a trusted friend. Not everyone is great with dealing with me when I am like this, so I try not to take advantage of the few that know to say, “Hey, I’ll come over with some ice cream and we’ll watch Red Dwarf,” without expecting too much from me in return. Reaching out can be the hardest part. If I don’t have the courage to reach out to a friend or family member, I will contact my therapist. I know she’ll listen even if it is just because I pay her. And she can help me work through what I am feeling.

When I don’t feel like I can do any of these things, I will stay in my bed and listen to music. I repeat to myself that eventually, I will start to feel better. And when I am ready, I start with my checklist again.

So that’s what I do when I am depressed. It doesn’t always work, but I like having a list of things to try. What about you? What do you do?

Written by