Some basic advice to aid you in defeating/coping with depression:
These are some general things you should do – they absolutely won’t harm you and they have a very high, fully proven success rate at getting people out of a dip:
1.) Change your diet:
Almost everyone dramatically underestimates the degree to which what you eat influences your mental health. The issues are numerous – effects of preservatives, colourings, too much sugar/salt/msg, blood sugar, small intolerances etc etc.
The fact is that good physical health has a knock on on your mental health – mind and body are not entirely separate.
A correctly functioning and happy digestive system can make a staggering amount of difference – you may think I’m full of shit, but if you’re full of shit then it affects your mood, this is a fact.
So, eat more fibre. Eat regular meals. Don’t overeat. Eat unprocessed food wherever possible. Good for your body, good for your health.
2.) Get some exercise.
Yeah, I know. You can hardly bring yourself to get out of bed – exercise? Am I fucking crazy?
Well, no. You don’t expect to be cured by magic do you? Forcing yourself to do something physically when you’re depressed, even though you may not see the point in it at all, is often easier by far than just being able to change the way you are thinking.
So you have to make an effort, and this one is simple enough for everyone. Go exercise – frequently and regularly, at least 30 continual minutes per day. I said “at least”. Get back to us in a week if you are still fucked up.
Exercise gets the happy chemicals flowing in and of itself. It makes your body healthier, which feeds back into your mood. In combination with the new food you are eating, you are onto a positive feedback cycle here which can only be a good thing. So go.
3.) Maintain or improve your social routine:
Every second of social contact you have right now is of critical value – one of the first things many people suffering from depression do is to reduce or eliminate their contact with others. They stop going out with friends, they don’t visit family, they don’t pick up (or answer!) the phone and speak to someone for a chat. Don’t do this. You may not see the point in a typical bit of office or home smalltalk, it may seem trivial and pointless and like hard work – so all you can do is to take it on faith that this sort of contact with other people is like water dripping on a moderately soluble substance – it will have a gradual effect on your problem, and – perhaps more to the point – cutting it out will have a marked negative effect on your state of mind.
4.) Lay off the drink and drugs.
Oh, Ouch. Unpopular advice – that’s how you know it’s good for you.
All or most of your mental health problems are exacerbated (made worse) by most drugs, including alcohol.
So cut back or if humanly possible – stop.
You feel bad already, what have you got to lose?
You may believe that these things are helping you, that they are one of the few things keeping you going. Sadly this is an illusion – life doesn’t tend to give out free gifts like that – you have to work for the good stuff (see: exercise).
5.) Sleep the correct amount.
Too little sleep plays havoc with your mental balance.
Depression tends to make people sleep more, and so too little sleep isn’t often a problem.. too much sleep, however, is just as bad.
In fact, where depression is concerned, too much sleep is probably worse than too little. You need to be active, and the chemicals you produce through oversleeping or just laying in bed all day are disasterous for depression. Aim for 7-8 hours uninterrupted. Try to force yourself to have your sleep at the “conventional” times – rise with daylight, sleep at night.
Not only are you biologically keyed to do this anyway, but your connection to the world and opportunities for social interaction kind of depend on you keeping the same daily calendar as.. well, pretty much everyone else.
6.) Natural light
You need this. There’s a reason that people get gloomy in winter (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (ooh clever)). Low levels of exposure to natural light affects the release of various chemicals in the pineal gland in your brain, and is very similar to sleeping too much AND too little at the same time.
So if you are closing the curtains to avoid the world – open them. If you work in a window-less environment, take frequent breaks by a window, seriously. It’s a small small change to your life which has enormous results.
7.) In terms of medicating yourself there are a lot of scientific literature on the effects of over the counter products that help keep your mood regulated. St. Johns wort is HIGHLY recommend for those with mild depression or even high anxiety and stress. Omega 3 oils from fish also keep your hormonal levels in check.
Finally some other resources i have used to help is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Moodgym is an amazing resource for this. And it gave me personally a lot of assistance in my thinking and outlook. It is really really useful.
Sites and links for coping. These are not professional links, but they helped me with coping a LOT!.
http://thequietplaceproject.com/thequietplace [A website designed for a moment to meditate]
http://www.futureme.org/sessions/new [Write a letter to your future self. So many times have i received a letter from myself and it really gave a good perspective. Each time im sad i write to myself, and every now and then when i cant cope, i get random supportive messages from myself. Its a supportive circle]
http://thequietplaceproject.com/thedawnroom/?page=thedawnroom&lang= [When you just cant even]
http://thequietplaceproject.com/thedreamsroom/comfortspot [Talk to a stranger]
http://thequietplaceproject.com/thethoughtsroom/?page=thethoughtsroom&lang= [Need some quiet space?]