A few months back I did one of the scariest things I’ve ever done; I admitted to you guys that I struggle with depression. I have always felt embarrassed by my depression because it makes me feel weak and like I should have figured out how to deal with it by now. I was worried that if people found out about my depression they would think less of me and form negative opinions about me. I was so surprised by the reaction that my post received, and it made me feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful and supportive people. I immediately started getting private messages from readers and friends telling me how they could personally relate because either them, a friend, or close family member struggles with depression too. As sad as it made me to know how many other people deal with the same issues I do, it also helped me to realize I am not alone and that I am not crazy or weak. I was proud of myself for taking a little leap of faith and opening up about my personal life. We share a lot of fun things on this blog from recipes to outfit posts, but from the beginning Steph and I made the decision to keep this blog real. It has made us both feel better on multiple occassions to open up about things we have been struggling with. Even if we don’t get a response from people, it still feels freeing to put our experiences and emotions out there.
After my last post many people asked me for advice on how I deal with my depression. Now, that sounds easy enough, however I was worried about writing this post because I know everyone is different. Just because something has worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for everyone (or anyone!) else. Also, I felt a little apprehensive about giving advice because I’m still trying to figure this out myself! I know it will probably be a lifelong journey. I still have days where the only thing I can do is lay in bed and sleep it off.
I decided I would write this despite my concerns because if it helps even just one person it will be a win in my book. Also, it helps to remind me how hard I have worked to take care of myself. If you don’t have depression, I still urge you to read on. Why? Because I guarantee you that if you don’t know someone with it now, you will in the future. This will help to show you that it isn’t just us having a bad attitude or not pulling ourselves up by our boot straps. It is such a challenge to deal with depression, and if nothing else maybe this will help you to understand what it’s like to live with it.
1. Don’t be afraid to admit it. Tell someone, anyone, and don’t be ashamed. You can read my first post about how it’s not your fault.
2. Ask to get your vitamin levels tested, your hormone levels tested, and your thyroid levels tested.
If your body chemistry is off somehow, that could be a major part of why you’re feeling crummy. After getting all of the above tested, my doctor realized I was very low in multiple vitamins and that I was severely anemic. It helped immensely to get certain vitamin levels up. No wonder I had no energy! It also helped to show me that I wasn’t just a lazy sloth; there was a legitimate reason why I wasn’t wanting to get out of bed. You might find out a major piece of your puzzle.
3. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re crazy.
You know yourself the best, so don’t settle on anything until it feels right. Just because one doctor doesn’t find anything wrong or simply wants to put you on antidepressants doesn’t mean they’re right. You have to be an advocate for yourself and keep pursuing answers. I went to many doctors until I found one who I felt understood me and who had an approach that I felt comfortable with.
4. Think about natural alternatives.
Even if you’re following a conventional approach, it can never hurt to add in some natural remedies into the mix. Talk to your doctor of course, but think about doing things like getting exercise, eating regular meals, and taking vitamin supplements.
I am NOT saying to not consult your regular doctor. Absolutely do. Please. However, along with that, I recommend going at this from all angles. After meeting with a naturopath, his suggestions of changing my diet, getting good sleep, hydrating, taking vitamins and exercising all had a major impact on how I felt.
5. Tell people you need help. Ask a friend to come over and take you to lunch. Don’t feel silly, stupid or weak.
I never wanted to ask for help because I felt like I should be able to do everything for myself. However, once I learned it was okay to ask the people who love me for a little extra support, it helped so much. I can’t tell you how much it helped to have family or friends bring me food or just come over and be with me.
6. Give yourself a break. Tomorrow is a new day.
It’s okay to have an off day. Sleep it off, watch a movie, do what you need to do to recharge. Just remember that tomorrow is a fresh start.
7. Take care of your basic needs, and if it’s too hard to do that, ask for help. It makes it worse to not be eating healthy regular meals, getting good sleep or drinking enough water.
When you’re struggling with depression, sometimes these things are so hard to do! There have been times when making myself lunch and taking a shower might as well have been a hike to the top of Mount Everest. If you can’t do them yourself, refer to #5 and ask for help. If you’re not eating well and taking care of the basics, it will make your struggle all that much harder.
8. Get moving and get some fresh air. Even if you just sit on your doorstep and look at the sky
Once I got a dog I realized how important this is. I would go days staying inside without even opening my windows. Now, even just stepping out into the fresh air and sunshine to take Cooper to the bathroom picks up my mood. If you don’t have a dog and can’t get yourself to go on a walk, at least open a window and take a moment to consciously take in the outdoors and breathe in the fresh air.
9. Take a shower, do your hair, get dressed
I know, it seems impossible sometimes. It has been a complete game changer for me some days to do my hair and put on a cute outfit. Even if I have no where to go, it makes me feel like I did something good for myself, and I just feel so much better. Staying in pajamas all day is a serious downer.
10. Keep pursuing ways of feeling better. Don’t give up.
It’s so hard to keep going sometimes. I get so frustrated with myself and just start reverting back to thinking it’s all my fault and I’m just not trying hard enough. This is not true. Things will get better and you just have to figure out what works for you!
I hope this helps. Again, I know that just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for other people. Please let me know if you have any questions :)