One of the effects of my bipolar disorder is that I sometimes suffer from depression. In this article, I’d like to share my take on depression and how it affects me. I also want to share the measures I take to manage it on a daily basis.
What depression is like for me
Depression is one of those things that some people claim they have when actually they’re just a bit pissed off. I guess it’s one of the side-effects of mental health becoming trendy in recent years. However, as I’ve said before, this trend is generally a good thing.
For me, depression is not a trivial thing. When I’ve been through times of depression it’s been crippling, completely paralysing. I’ve been in dark places where my mind is so foggy I can barely construct a simple sentence. I can barely think. All the while, no one can see how desperate you are.
Depression leads me to totally withdraw from pleasurable activity. I feel clouds of helplessness closing in on me. I feel like a complete loser. I feel weak and alone. My best friend becomes the TV.
I’ve found that in time, these bouts of depression subside and disappear. However, when I’m in one, I never know when the time it disappears is going to come.
There are a few things that help me, however. I do these things whenever I can to stave off those storm clouds. Some of them are pretty simple things that we should be doing every day anyway, but for me, it’s about more.
It’s important for me to tell myself positive things, even if I don’t always believe them. Depression makes me feel like a loser, helpless and alone, but in reality, I’m none of these things. Repeating a script of positivity reinforces my resolve against depression. I can do this.
When I’m anxious, I lie down and breathe. Simple as that. I turn off the lights, close my eyes and breathe deep and slow. Music helps calm me down too.
Meditation and spirituality are great releases. I’m not particularly religious but I know it’s therapeutic.
Exercise is a must for me. It’s essential for me to get my heart rate up and those endorphins pumping.
I set fitness goals and as I achieve them that’s a double slice of satisfaction. Swimming, a session in the jacuzzi or the steam room are great. I also love a massage.
Eating and drinking well
When I’m going through depression, it helps when I make myself eat good, nutritious food with my friends and family.
It’s also important to limit alcohol and smoking, things that can alter the way your mind functions.
Sleeping is essential to managing depression. If you need to, take medication to help you.
Manage expectations. When I’m a period of depression I don’t try to do too much too quickly. I would walk once a day to the end of the street, and cook once a week.
I know these tips all sound a bit obvious, but they are 6 things that help me. That’s just me, however. I always recommend checking in with yourself and your mental health on a regular basis.
I monitor mine extremely closely now and as time goes on these feelings of depression occur more and more rarely. I know, however, that they could come back at any time. That’s why I stay on top of things.
Thanks for reading.
If you’re having a crisis, here are some ideas:
Contact your GP
Out of hours contacts – NHS 111
Go to A&E
City residents only – 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Helpline 0208 432 8020
Maytree – A sanctuary for the suicidal 0207 263 7070
Other helpful numbers:
NHS Direct: 0845 46 47
Saneline 0845 767 8000
Samaritans 116 123
FRANK (Drugs) Helpline 0800 77 66 00
Substance Misuse Helpline 0800 066 55 25
Drinkline 0800 917 82 82
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) 0808 802 5858 (5pm to midnight)
About the Author
James Ski is CEO and Founder of Sales Confidence and CRO of Opogo. He previously worked at LinkedIn, where he advised companies on recruitment, marketing and sales. He is a speaker and mental health ambassador.