Things I do to feel better (depression)
“The most important thing is to focus on all the things I can do and not on the things I have trouble doing.”
Read through Alice’s story below:
“I am a 22 year old female and I have been dealing with anxiety and related depression for over 10 years now
My first encounter with panic happened in school, after I began being bullied. I used to pretend I was sick so that I could leave school early. These ‘sick’ episodes began as a conscious effort to get out of a situation, but as I became more anxious these episodes developed into panic attacks.
I am lucky to have a great mother, who supported me and made me get help through doctors and a psychologist who helped me understand that anxiety is a very common mental illness that can be managed and lived with.
The last ten years have been very difficult; with periods of uncertainty, different medications and psychologists and a great deal of depression. I learnt that I am my own worst enemy, when I have a panic attack I immediately begin to berate myself, telling myself that I should be stronger or better or happier.
Sometimes, in the height of my anxiety I mistakenly believe suicide is the only way out. It’s difficult to let go of these emotions, to give myself space to heal and relax. Meditation and yoga help, but it is very hard to make myself do these things when I am upset. Focusing on my work, my boyfriend and my hobby helps get me through and realise that the anxiety feeling does dissipate after a while.
Anxiety has been passed down through the females in my family for over three generations. Depression is also a family trait and most recently my beautiful cousin Natasha suicided at the age of 18. I know there is more to mental illness than genetics, but I still worry about passing it onto my children.
For the past four years I have been on anti-anxiety/depression medication, which has helped me live my life without daily anxiety. It took me a long time to realise that taking anti-depressant medication does not mean I am giving up or giving in to anxiety, but instead I’m taking an active step towards getting well. I am still learning about anxiety and trying to be encouraging to myself. The most important thing is to focus on all the things I can do and not on the things I have trouble doing.
Please, if you are suffering from a mental illness, know that there is help available and it does get better. “
Things you can do:
If left untreated, depression and anxiety can go on for months, even years. The good news is that a range of effective treatments are available, as well as things you can do yourself to recover and stay well.
Different treatments work for different people, and it’s best to speak to your GP or mental health professional about your options and preferences. If you’ve taken the first step and talked through some treatment options with a health professional, you might like to try a few of the following ideas for lifestyle changes and social support. Most people find that a combination of things work best.
It’s important to remember that recovery can take time, and just as no two people are the same, neither are their recoveries. Be patient and go easy on yourself.
Here are some things you can now to feel better:
1. Look at what you’ve already achieved
Make a list of all the things you’re proud of in your life, which might be getting a good mark on a recent exam, or learning to surf, or some other achievement. Celebrate your successes, whether big or small. Keep your list close by and add to it whenever you do something you’re proud of.
2. Think of things you’re good at
Everyone has strengths and talents. What are yours? Write a list. Recognising what you’re good at, and trying to build on those things, will help you to build confidence in your abilities. Ask other people what they think you’re good at, and add those strengths and talents to your list.
3. Set some goals
Set some goals, and then work out the steps you need to take to achieve them. They don’t have to be big goals. Just aim initially for small achievements that you can tick off a list to help you gain confidence in your ability to get stuff done. They can even be things like baking a cake or planning a night out with friends.
4. Talk yourself up
You’re never going to feel confident if you have negative commentary running through your mind telling you that you’re no good. Think about your self-talk, and about how that might be affecting your self-confidence. Treat yourself like you would your best friend and cheer yourself on.
5. Get back into a hobby or start a new one!
Try to find something that you’re really passionate about. It could be photography, sport, cooking or anything else! When you’ve worked out what your passion is, commit yourself to spending time giving it a go. Chances are, if you’re interested or passionate about a certain activity, you’ll be motivated and will build skills more quickly.
If these above methods sound too much: there are smaller ways to feel better….
Simple Ways to Feel Better Fast
- Bake cookies
- Do yoga
- Eat a healthy, delicious meal
- Make a playlist of your favorite songs
- Play with your dog
- Practice a hobby
- Read a book
- Take a relaxing hot bath
- Watch a funny online video
- Watch your favorite movie or tv show
- Write in a gratitude journal
- Call someone
- Take a walk
- Paint something
- Watch a TV Series or film
- Take a quick shower and imagine you’re washing away the bad thoughts
Here are some useful resources to give you more ideas to help depression:
Good read to help with Self Compassion:
- Whats could I do in this moment to help me feel better?
- What music helps me feel better?