Doing What You Love Beats Depression
It's very common to experience apathy and disinterest in the things you once loved when you're suffering from depression. Your depression symptoms, however, don't need to dictate how you spend your time. If you do things you enjoy (or used to enjoy) you can actually reverse some of the damage your hopeless feelings do to your everyday sense of self and well-being.
Do What You Love, Even When You're Depressed
I love to read, write, and create art. Doing those activities make me feel at home in the world, a little bit safer and a little bit stronger. It's taken practice to become aware of which activities I enjoy, despite being depressed.
When I was a teenager, too depressed to even go to school, my mom used to encourage me to do some art. It felt like a waste of time but I did it anyway. It helped me pass the time and I felt pleased with having created something at the end of the day.
If you're really depressed, you might not enjoy any activity at all, but if you do what you used to love, that's one of the activities that is going to bring joy back into your life first. Plus, you'll be connecting with yourself outside of your depression. Your depression hasn't stolen your passions from you permanently. Your heart is still there, loving what it loves.
The things we love give us energy, hope, purpose, and meaning - all of these things are great tools in coping with depression.
Keep Track of Your Activities and Feelings Along with Your Depression
Journaling about your activities can help you be mindful of what brings you comfort and happiness. Measure your tension and energy levels before and after an activity to see your progress.
Ask your friends and family when you seem happiest to them. You might be surprised at some of the answers. Be as creative as you can in looking for clues to what you enjoy. Everyone enjoys something, or at least feels less miserable when they're doing an activity that makes them feel grounded and content.
Don't forget to give yourself credit for trying to reconnect with the things you love. Everything you do to comfort yourself and self-nurture while healing from depression is important and valuable.
You're worth it!
You can also find Erin Schulthies on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and her blog, Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living with Depression.
Schulthies, E. (2014, June 5). Doing What You Love Beats Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, November 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2014/06/doing-what-you-love-beats-depression
Author: Erin Schulthies
Thanks for the beautiful advice..made me feel better!
I'm recently becoming aware how true this is. I love helping people, and throughout my life wherever I happen to go (work, social event) people tend to open up to me. In the past when I was depressed I was able to shut out the world, and stay in bed. I would spend weeks or months without answering the phone, I didn't want to see anyone, let alone talk. I no longer have the luxury of doing this, I must get up, every morning and go to work, it's very difficult & some days I don't make it. What I have noticed is that once I am at work, and one of my co-workers comes to me for advise, I loose myself in the conversation, there is no sadness no black cloud, no depression. I come home feeling better, and even if the darkness hits, once I'm home, I now know, that getting up & going to work the next day is part of my treatment plan.
Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad to hear that your work is helping you so much. It sounds like you're a wonderful support to many people. So great! :)
Erin, this is extremely challenging when I'm really depressed.
I appreciate your comment that this takes practice.
When I'm really depressed I pull away from everyone and everything.
Thanks so much for your comment! I feel like I constantly pull away from everyone and everything, too. It seems to fluctuate with the time of day and who I'm around, so sometimes looking for patterns in this behaviour can help to make things easier. I think you're super awesome for being so self-aware as to recognize this in yourself. Keep going! :)
Loved your message today - went out and picked some fresh flowers!
I'm so glad! Picking some fresh flowers is a wonderful self-care idea. I'm going to put it on my list. :) Thanks for your comment!
So true. I love writing and creating art as well, and though my desire to do them has ebbed, they're still enjoyable and a more productive use of time than staying in bed all day :)
Yeah, sometimes we have to actually make ourselves do the activity we know we've loved in the past to be reminded of how much we do enjoy it. Thank you for your comment, Hannah. :)
thanks for your help, keep up the art. I love it!
I'm so glad! Thanks for your comment. :)
Thanks for reading, Gwen! :)
Great post Erin. Keep up the good work. It really helps when you do things which entertains you most while you are depressed.
Thanks, Todd. I think we sometimes feel like we need permission to do what we love, but we can give ourselves permission. Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. Be well!
Great post and I love your art!
Thanks so much, Jennifer! :)