To avoid being redundant, all the tips I gave for surviving a loved one’s depression also apply to surviving your own depression. However, as I’ve spent more time as the depressed person, I have a little additional insight into keeping yourself afloat when your brain feels like it’s trying to drown you.
1. Be patient with yourself. Let me repeat: Be patient with yourself. You cannot get out of bed before noon some days? It’s alright. You haven’t washed the dishes in a week? They aren’t going anywhere. What truly matters is surviving to the best of your ability.
2. With that said, pick one task each day and complete it. When you’re in the pit of a depressive slump, the simplest task can feel impossible. Select just one task, muster as much willpower as it takes and get it done. As you begin to feel better, you may be able to slowly add more tasks to that list.
3. And when you complete these tasks, document and celebrate your simple successes! Depression can cause every day to melt into one, long void. Help yourself to combat this by keeping an Activity Log. Documenting the things you do not only serves as a visual reminder of your successes but also offers an opportunity to say, “I may not feel well, but I completed x and y today. I’m doing alright.”
4. Remember that you have felt happy before. Depression has a tendency to wipe from memory all the good that has ever occurred in your life. You see nothing but darkness behind and darkness ahead. Whether you believe it or not, remind yourself that you will not feel this way forever. You will have happy times again. Consider asking a trusted friend or family member to remind you of the good times.
5. Seek out qualified assistance. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your depression, should you find yourself stuck in a terrible slump of sadness, please begin actively looking for help from medical professionals. Though I believe antidepressants and other psychotropics should primarily be prescribed by psychiatrists, a trusted family doctor isn’t a bad place to start. If you are searching for a therapist/counselor, check here for tips on finding one who fits your needs.
6. Don’t give up. You may not believe it, but there is hope. There are options. There is help. Looking for the right combination of medications, the best fitting therapist can be an exhausting and frustrating process. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you never know the beauty that could be just around the corner. I, for one, would hate to quit when something wonderful could be waiting for me on the other side of this minute, this day or this month.