The COVID-19 pandemic has caused me to struggle with certain aspects of my depression more than I usually do, but I'm trying to cope in healthy ways. If you're also having trouble coping with your depression during this difficult time, maybe some of these ideas can help you, too.
We should not underestimate the effects of stressful events on depression. Modern technology offers most of us the opportunity to know what's going on all over the world at any given moment of any given day; yet, so many of the current news stories have the potential to add to our stress and possibly worsen our depression. I've been struggling with managing my depression while also trying to find a balance between being adequately informed versus becoming pulled down into a major depressive episode due to information burnout.
There are some of us with depression who have experienced trauma during our lives. This trauma may have occurred prior to or after our diagnosis of depression. For those who have been through traumatic experiences, these events can have a profound effect on their depression. Armed with this knowledge, what can those of us with depression -- and those close to people with depression -- do with this information? (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
I have a plan to avoid another suicide attempt that came from living with major depression. But it's taken three years since almost losing the war against depression to get it together. I'm so thankful to say that I'm still here and that my suicide attempt failed. That "failure" turned out to be one of my greatest victories. I couldn't see it then, but I certainly see it now. The following thoughts are some reflections on the past three years of my life. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
If you were to ask most people what someone with depression looks like or how someone who has depression might behave, they would likely respond by saying things like, "sad," "crying," "miserable," or "gloomy." While those of us with depression feel these emotions and exhibit these behaviors at times, they certainly don't encompass all that we are. People with depression feel many things over the course of their lives, and it's time to end the stigma and remove the stereotypes associated with depression.
Depression takes its toll on us, and our brains certainly deserve a break. While we know this to be true, how can we put this knowledge into practice?
There are many feelings of depression. Yes, there is a feeling of sadness, but there are also other feelings, too. These feelings may include numbness, anger, irritability, extreme tiredness, stress, worthlessness, and guilt. These are typical feelings for someone with depression, yet we shouldn't ignore these feelings nor wallow in them, either. So, how can we cope with these feelings of depression in a healthy way?
Having healthy coping skills and knowing how to practice them can play a major role in suicide prevention. When someone is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, the pain and confusion he/she feels is often compounded by misinformation, incorrect beliefs, and unhealthy coping skills. Yet, these are often the only things a person suffering from a mental health crisis has at his/her disposal. It's time to change this now by having educational conversations about mental health, suicide, and healthy coping skills. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Many people may not realize that depression has physical symptoms. When extra stress is added to our lives, we may be more likely to see manifestations of the physical symptoms of our depression. What are some of the physical symptoms we may experience due to depression? What, if anything, can we do about stress and its effect on the physical symptoms of depression?
Depression-caused anger is often present in depression, but there are daily activities we can do to lessen the anger, help us relax and feel more at peace. I try to do all of these activities each day or at least most days. None of them take much time. I'd like to share the activities that help me lessen the depression-caused anger I experience.