I have suffered from depression for over 15 years. Part of the catch-22 of Major Depressive Disorder is feeling a lot of guilt. You may feel guilt over what you think you’re putting family through, guilt that your friends might not want to spend time with someone who is a major buzz kill, and most of all, guilt that there are so many people who seem to have it worse, yet you’re completely miserable.
This guilt, in turn, can just feed into your depression, making you feel worse and worse until you’re in this downward spiral that’s extremely hard to pull yourself out of it. But what can you learn from this experience and guilty feeling? When you are going through a battle in life, such as you are with mental illness, you are what is the most important. You can love yourself when you’re going through depression — and you need to. Be proactive over this, and these little tips may help. They helped me!
Talk to a therapist
It’s hard talking to people who don’t understand. By talking to a therapist, you are talking with a professional who knows what she’s doing, and wants to help you. My therapist
taught me that my depression was not my fault, but a result of my brain chemistry and genetics. Once I stopped blaming myself, I was able to focus on the things that I needed to do to help myself. Yes, it does take a lot of courage to get yourself there, and a therapist does in a way have to break you down to build you back up, but once you do, you will be much stronger for it.
See a Psychiatrist
This one may be a bit controversial, I get it. But, I would not be who I am today without finding the psychiatrist that finally understood my brain chemistry and found the right medication for me to be on. I do not abuse my medication, and I stick with my prescribed dosage. But, my medication changed an imbalance in my brain that would not have fixed myself otherwise. If you do not abuse it, you are responsible with it, and you go through the right channels, medication can certainly put you on the path to wellness. However, medication isn’t for everyone, and psychiatrists can also give you psychotherapy treatment and in some cases, light therapy, to name a few other options.
Take up a new, creative hobby
A creative hobby that you learn to love can give you something to be proud of, and it slowly can bring you back to who you were before. Find a creative project that does this for you, to give you something to concentrate on so you don’t become your own worst enemy, and you can focus on something other than your depression. When you have a final product, you’ll have something that you’ve created, with no copy, that is impossible to replicate exactly. Find whatever is healing for you — whether it is sewing, adult coloring (a great one), jewelry making, even something like painting or building something from wood.
Do what you love, and have always loved
This can be anything that releases negative energy for you and has always made you happy no matter what — and can be a complete release of sadness, grief, anger, and shame. Maybe you love sports. Maybe you love to write. It can even be as simple as playing with your pet or spending time with your friends. But it is so important to have a reason to get out of bed.
Be kind to yourself
Did you have that extra donut? That’s okay. Were you not able to leave the house today? That’s okay, too. You are going through a fierce war within yourself right now, and it’s alright if you lose the occasional battle. Sometimes, all you will be able to do for the day is just take a shower. Sometimes, just making the effort to text a friend and have a minimum of social contact is a huge win, and you should be proud of yourself for it. Be proud of yourself for accomplishing the small, little things. It’s all of those little things combined that will lead up to those big milestones. By just making a small effort, you are taking a big step towards believing that it will get better. It’s about the small steps that add up to a huge leap.
Pain is different for everyone. Yes, there are those less fortunate who have been dealt some terrible cards in life, and you should feel for those people. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t in pain, and it doesn’t make your pain less important. Be kind to yourself, and you will make yourself better to help others.