Let’s be honest: no one wants to be given more ways to “control” their depression.
In my experience, it’s a tricky topic. Just because some things work for me doesn’t mean they will work for others. So, as someone who wants to help, I thought I’d give you three ways that have helped me take control of my depression in the past few months.
- Talk to Someone.
Talking to someone about feeling depressed isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, trust me. When I say “talk to someone,” I don’t necessarily mean a professional that’ll diagnose you or treat you. You already know that’s a necessary step to take (whenever you’re ready). What I am suggesting is for you to talk to a close friend or someone you can reach out to that you feel won’t judge you.
It might seem scary, but this is my best tip and that’s why it’s number one. I was feeling very depressed back in April when the pandemic took a turn and I was forced to head back home. I found myself falling into old patterns of locking myself away and feeling numb until I decided to reach out to a friend. I reached out to a psychiatrist as well, but I didn’t get the closure I needed. I needed someone that would give me a warmer response and not such a professional reading. So I grabbed my phone and got in contact with my best friend that lives in California; she helped walk me through what to do and how to feel better. This included crying in the shower, because as she says, “Shower cries are the best to help you feel better.”
I don’t regret reaching out to her because I felt much better. Of course I have off days, but those are the moments where I’ll reach out to her again (even during our daily conversations about boys) and tell her how I’m feeling.
- Write it Down.
As an English major, writing things down is something that I’m used to and love doing every day. But writing down my feelings isn’t something that I’ve ever found to be easy. This is because I’ve always felt that my words never matched how I was truly feeling. Then I found the way.
What you have to do is grab any notebook (I suggest something pretty and used only for this), grab a pen since pencils fade over time, and just start writing. At first, you don’t have to write about how you feel — because it’s a scary thing to do — so just write anything that comes to mind. What are you grateful for? What new drama did you hear about? Then when you start to feel comfortable writing every day (or every other day if you’re me), you can start writing about your emotions.
In my opinion, diaries are like people. You’re telling them your deepest darkest secrets and your rawest emotions and it can be scary trying to “tell” them your problems. But over time, you begin to trust the process.
It’s okay to have times when you slip and never write anything down for a month. I’ve done it before. But the best thing is that you can always try again since there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
My final tip is probably the most important: breathe. Breathing is essential to help you find your way. If you’re anything like me, then you know that it can sometimes become difficult to breathe and you’re not sure if you’re dying or not. But like my mother tells me, “Just take it ten breaths at a time.”
Breathe in for ten seconds, hold that breath for ten seconds, and then breathe out for ten seconds. You’ll do this a total of five times, unless it’s really bad (then I suggest doing it for ten). You’ll find that your body and mind have calmed down to the point where you can now make decisions that you aren’t going to regret in the future. If that doesn’t help, I suggest squeezing your hands tightly for the ten seconds you’re breathing in and holding, and then relaxing your hands once you breathe out. It’s a great way to ease built-up tension.
I’m not saying that I know all the answers. I know that depression won’t magically leave after these three steps…but I do hope that they help you, even just in the tiniest of ways. You can do this. I know you can.