I live by the phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It means that comparing something of yours to someone else’s can steal good feelings. And while it can certainly eliminate joy or gratitude, a comparison can also steal validation (Mental Illness Validation: Tell Me ‘I Believe You’). Mental health is a vast and varied experience that features ups and downs and pushes and pulls that I can guarantee are not the same for any individual. So, comparing your mental progress and experience while coping with depression against someone else’s progress and experience can create massive setbacks in your coping. Keep reading
Meditation has been in practice for centuries, and it’s recently become more popular in mainstream culture, especially as a coping mechanism. Researchers have been looking further into the scientific impacts of meditation, and they have found that regular meditation actually changes the physical structure of your brain. As if that isn’t cool enough, further research shows that meditation reduces stress and anxiety, boosts creativity and focus, and can improve relationships.1 All of these effects can make a huge impact in coping with depression.
My last few weeks have been incredibly active, and it has been great for my brain (Does Exercise Really Make a Difference?). I’ve been doing some home renovations and helping a friend prepare her store for her big fall opening, working early mornings and late nights. Throughout the active weeks, my brain consistently felt more positive and less messy. I loved being active, and the little successes and physical activity involved with the weeks’ activities were beneficial in coping with my depression. Keep reading
Did you know that coping with depression improves with practice? I wish that depression checked prerequisites before working itself into someone’s brain. I want to know that I’ve met a checklist of skills that guarantees that I’m fully capable of coping with depression. Fortunately, coping skills can improve with practice, in which case I think that depression could almost be viewed as a sport. Athletes have basic skills that help them succeed, but they must practice smaller, more specific skills in order to improve their overall success at the sport (Beating Anxiety the Triathlon Way). The same goes for coping with depression. Keep reading
Depression has many well-known symptoms, and one of them is how depression makes it difficult to process emotions. This emotional effect is incredibly difficult for me to handle. I was an emotionally repressed child, and I only just started practicing emotional openness in college. I am still learning how to feel in a controlled fashion, how to conduct myself despite intense emotional outbursts, and how to work with feelings instead of against them. And I’m also learning how to cope during the times my depression blows my emotions out of proportion; because, depression complicates my ability to process emotions. Keep reading
Relationships require communication around depression self-care. I have to remind myself constantly that my depression self-care and mental health goals are mine, and mine alone. I do not share the same goals as others with similar brains, and I should not expect others to have the same goals. One of my uncles told me recently that, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” Applying that idea to the intimate relationship I maintain with my partner, I realize that I have a lot of expectations regarding depression self-care and mental health, and that I need to communicate my depression self-care needs appropriately in order to successfully care for myself and maintain a healthy relationship. Keep reading
I realized recently depression is an experience, not just a diagnosis and thinking of depression as an experience empower me. Depression spurs challenging emotions and physical symptoms, and it also changes the way I think about things. Depression influences the way I respond to various stimuli, and the way I arrange my daily schedule and plan vacations. Depression impacts the way I interact with people, and the relationships I choose to maintain. Depression is something I experience, so I’ve been trying to define my depression more by its impact to my life than by the medical diagnosis. I’m empowering myself by viewing depression as an experience. Keep reading
Sometimes unusual coping skills for depression work. There are some days that my depression symptoms are too stubborn to cooperate with my typical coping methods, so I have to get creative. Dancing, focusing on tactile experiences like snuggling in a soft blanket, running my hands through cool materials, and cooking have all proven to pull me through the especially testy days. Curious as to what others do to get through their stubborn days, I looked around and found that a ton of people recommend making art, meditating, practicing yoga, playing video games, and masturbating. These might be unusual coping skills for depression, but that doesn’t mean they might not work for you.
I have good and bad brain days, and the intensity of my depression varies. Some mornings, I wake up and smile at the sun and sky, make myself a superb cup of coffee, and spend the day enjoying every second of activity. And some mornings, I struggle to open my eyes, I get angry about the beautiful weather, and I skip all of my meals (Depression Symptoms: What are the Symptoms of Depression?). There was a long span of time where I thought it was unfair that my depression seemed to go away and come back without warning, until I realized that I was viewing depression incorrectly. I didn’t realize that depression shifts in intensity and that good and bad brain days just happen. Keep reading
It’s important to realize that depression does not eliminate your basic needs. There are many mornings that I wake up in an uncontrollable rage with nothing to show for it but unwavering anger. In these instances of rage, my usual coping skills of painting, cooking, writing, or exercising do not work. They seem to require too much energy, effort, and thought. I find that my angry self wants only to sit in a tense position with clenched fists, mercilessly criticizing my messy brain. After sitting frozen in this furious position and mindset for a few hours, I fall deeply into a depressive state. I typically ignore my body at this point, skipping meals despite my growling stomach and refusing to use the restroom (Importance of Self-Care to Your Mental Health). But I’ve learned that depression does not eliminate your basic needs. Keep reading