For years I read anything I could find about depression. I read books written by doctors, therapists and people living with depression. I looked high and low for any advice or insight as to what might work.
I needed to know how to make depression better, how to get through the day, how to get through specific days like holidays, and where to look for the things that might make the depression better.
From time to time, I found something helpful.
This post is for those who are looking for something that might help them make the depression better. These are things that worked for me.
Did something work for you? Let me know what it was and whether you’re willing to share it. I’ll post it here.
The Start of a List of Things That Work(ed) for Me:
Listening to upbeat music on purpose instead of moody or depressing music. Yes, I had to stop listening to The Cure. And yes, it’s hard to turn on Abba when you really want to listen to Morrisey.
Keeping sitcoms on in the background at home just for the laugh track. Yes, I have Friends, Frasier, Will and Grace, and the New Adventures of Old Christine running on my television in the background 24/7.
Avoiding silence when I feel blue. Silence encourages me to think and thinking when I feel blue is not good for me.
Avoiding CNN when celebrities die. Being comforted by bad news is an old habit that triggers old habits. No need to trigger old habits.
Eating mostly healthy. It helps. So does a little bit of real sugar.
Caffeine. It helps me far more than it hurts me. I’ve tried life without it. I miss it when I don’t have it.
Avoiding gossip helps me. Listening to gossip increases my perception that the details of a personal life are important or entertaining to others. They are not. I try not to listen to gossip. And I try not to gossip. And I try not to know more than I absolutely need to know.
Telling family when I need to take a time out is helpful. After so many years of faking it for family, now I’m honest. If I need to stay home, I stay home. If I need to not talk on the phone, I don’t talk on the phone. And I’m always careful to let them know it’s temporary and not about them. It’s important to tell the people who love you that so they won’t worry.
Going to work every single day is the most helpful thing I do. Even when I don’t want to, which is most days.
Drawing puts me into a state of “flow” faster than anything. Flow, for me, is a drug. I draw as many hours a day as I can. Some day I’ll probably find out that it’s impossible to think while drawing. That would make sense.
Sleep. I should have put sleep at the top of the list. I am more protective of my sleep than of anything else in my life. Sleep, for me, is like medicine. Not sleeping, for me, is really, really, really unhelpful.
Will add items to the list in batches.
I love batches.
In the meantime, add yours to the list. Somebody is reading and might be helped.