Firstly to all of you who have sent love and support after my previous blog post, thank you very much. It is appreciated, and I know it is incredibly hard just standing by, wanting to be able to make it better and not being able to.
I am still in the midst of some dark times in my head, but I thought I would share some of my coping tricks for dealing with a major depressive episode. (These are things that work for me, your mileage may vary).
- Have a checklist of essential, achievable goals that you can mark off as having done. I have found that having the list of things to do takes away that mental strain of thinking what must I do next. My current checklist has 8 things on it:
- Get up before 9 a.m
- Make the bed
- Take meds
- Brush teeth
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Get 15 minutes of exercise
- Do 2 pomodoros of work.The thing about that list is it also has some tasks on it that help manage depression, eating healthily (you’ll note that I’ve not said to eat only healthy food, I have given myself a super-achievable goal of eating one healthy meal a day, any thing above that is gravy) and getting some exercise as well as making sure some personal management is attended.
This is a pretty extreme list, it is for when I am in the midst of a major depressive episode but the most important criteria for me is that the list is:
- manageable (less than 10 items)
- consists of achievable, unambiguous goals
- Have a support system: In my case my support system consists of my husband and my family and friends (including those on the internet). What support I ask for depends. Sometimes, it’s being able to message a close mate on Facebook, other times it is being able to go and eat supper away from home (which has two bonuses: getting out the house, and not having to worry about what to cook.)
- Have a mental health team:My mental health team consists of myself, my psychologist, my psychiatrist and on one occasion an emergency counsellor. (For most people, it also includes their G.P. and I am sure when I find a G.P it will, but for now, I don’t have G.P and so my team does not include one). These folks are able to help me deal with some of the darker sides of the mental illness. I am a huge fan of both talk therapy and medication.A note about medication: It should make you feel well not just better, and if you are having more bad days than good days, it needs to be adjusted or changed (speak to your mental health team or G.P)
So, these are some of the things that help me, and I figured I would share because depression is hard, and other people sharing their tricks have helped me.
Love and beating back the monsters in my head,