This is a list I’ve been trying to sort out myself for years, I have always told myself that I don’t having any coping techniques or that I always fail when I try them anyway, but that’s not true! I have survived years of uni, over a decade of working hospitality, and waking up from surgery to be told they couldn’t do anything! Somehow I am alive and that is because I have coping techniques. We all know most, if not all of them already, but I have never been able to put them into words, so I’m going to try and hopefully this list can help some of you to not have to learn them the way I did.
What I’m talking about, is of course coping techniques for depression. So these are mine:
- Going outside and being in physical contact with something living; the earth, grass, dirt, a tree, other people – anything. We live in a world that is built on the death and destruction of everything which is vital to human survival. Whilst I know I sound like a ‘hippy’ (and there’s nothing wrong with that) saying to be in contact with living Earth – it helps. Here’s the thing, everything in this world runs on electricity and magnetism, we may not photosynthesise, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some energy exchange with the world around us – it actually makes no sense for there not to be. And the more we research it, the more we are realising how much of an impact these energy exchanges can have on us, particularly on our mental well-being. So go hug a tree!
- Take a break and know your limits! This is one I struggle with and it’s a big part of why I haven’t been posting – you see I’m studying at University at the moment (I know, I know, again right!) and every time I think about writing a post, I can’t help but think I can’t dedicate all the formatting time, I need to study you know. What that does is make me obsess over uni, focus all of my attention on it all the time and even when I’m not working on University work, I’m thinking about it. We can all tell that’s not healthy right? And it’s not. I am still learning to take breaks and not beat myself up about it, to get extensions and defer and just know my limits. It’s okay to say “that is too much for me right now”, it’s better to know your limits than to push too far and reach the point you can’t come back from. We all know that moment when we fall over the depression cliff, the trick is learning to stop before we run out of ground.
- Do the things you love. I know how hard it can be to find pleasure in those things, to be motivated to start, and to feel guilty while you’re doing it. Do it anyway. For me those things are art and writing, even just listening to my music can help – for my husband it would be sports, I’m not athletically inclined, but if you are then pursue it. Do what makes you happy, even if it is not making you happy right now … and try not to feel guilty about it, there is no reason to, that is just the disease talking.
- Find a reason to get dressed and get out of the house every day. I mean this! Sit in your yard or the local park, go get a coffee or groceries, ride the bus, see a movie (although I struggle separating myself from movies when my biochemistry is all a jumble) – it doesn’t matter what it is, just get out.
- In contrast to that last point, stay in bed if you need to. If you need a day of being broken, then take it. This is your life and your choice, just make sure it is your choice and not the disease’s. Do not ever beat yourself up for being sick! It’s not my fault that I have endometriosis and it is not my fault I have depression. There is no difference between the two; both are caused by imbalances in neurotransmitters, hormones, biochemistry – whatever you prefer to call it. ‘Mental illnesses’ are no more mental than any physical illness anybody suffers from – in other words: if you wouldn’t beat yourself up for taking a day off to recover from the flu, then don’t beat yourself up for taking a day off to recover from depression.
- Eat well and avoid comfort foods – now I don’t do this, but it is smart and it should be done. I can tell the difference when I do, do it. There are a hundred lists out there of which foods are good for depression – get your vitamins, particularly your B’s and D’s. In this same note, they say not to have caffeine, sugar, or alcohol – I don’t drink, but sugar and caffeine are my best friends – don’t judge me!
I know there are more, but that’s about all I can think of.
Personally my usual depression routine is this: go get coffee, come home, hug fur babies, lie in bed and watch happy shows – ten things I hate about you and startrek (you can never go wrong with Leonard Nimoy).
Live Long and Prosper
Oops, I mean, with offerings of Pumpkins and Kindness,
xoxx Kit (aka: the vegan bat)