I’m sure many of us have heard this phrase growing up, “Don’t just exist, live!” As a child, that phrase probably meant nothing to you. It’s not only until adult life came by then add on depression or anxiety amongst many other mental health conditions that you realized that it’s possible for the days to go by, for the years to change and that time creeps by so slyly while one feels stagnant and lifeless. It’s as if life is happening all around you, and you are watching it all through a window, spectating as an outsider and reacting to all that happens to you. You have constant thoughts and feelings of:
“Why me? Life is so unfair. This always happens to me”
“Why do bad things only ever happen to me?”
“It’s all out of my control, I can’t change anything. Why is life against me?”
“I wish I was dead, no one loves me”
“No one will love me like this, I will die alone.”
With depression and mental health change starts from within. The process of mental change takes time, but the journey is worth the effort. These are some things that have helped me manage my depression therefore experiencing it less or not as deeply:
Develop an attitude of gratitude
Train yourself to appreciate all the blessings in your life. From the fact that you are simply breathing, the sun is shining, you ate a meal today or you have a roof over your head; be grateful for all the small (and big!) things that you experience each day. Whether you keep a mental note or journal it down, a gratitude diary is a powerful tool to reduce toxic feelings and enhance awareness of the good things that exist around you.
Talk about it
Find a supportive and mature friend whom you can confide in or a therapist. Don’t suffer alone! Call a spade a spade and have the difficult conversation. Admit you are not well. Talk to them openly and share why you feel the way you do and how you want things to be better. Break down your hopes into smaller steps and have them accountable for how you will achieve them in a given time frame. It is key to be very honest with those that help you about how you are feeling or what is consuming your thoughts because they cant help you unless they have all the information.
Take life an hour at a time
Carpe diem, seize the day but this time lets seize the hour. This moment is the only time that is certain. Instead of drowning in anxiety, embrace each hour as it comes and make the most of it. Get out of bed, open the curtains, drink some water and start the day. Start to be grateful, start talking to someone, go to the gym, eat good food, pray, start taking tiny steps to work on you, and lastly, start accepting love! You matter, you are valued, we need you!
Drinking water boosts your mood and energy levels. Mild hydration has negative effects on mood and energy levels and if you don’t drink enough water it can increase fatigue, anger, confusion, decreased vigor and mood issues. You need to be well hydrated for your cells to work properly.
Doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink. Blast music while you at it.
Don’t just grab a fruit to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if its noodles. Add something special to it, like boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare your food yourself, it tastes way better, and you feel like you accomplished something.
Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture or write a book like I did, do anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.
Take a walk, just enjoy nature and how God created it. Take everything in as you see it, feel it and smell it.
Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone.
God knows all your pain, he sees it and feels it. Never forget to pray, even if you angry, sad or suicidal. Get yourself a prayer partner to get you through the day, read uplifting devotionals and pray for others, sometimes that is easier to do and in blessing others God blesses you. Just pray!! If you can’t find the words to pray worship is a form of prayer even those tears running down your cheeks God hears them too. Let God turn your pain into power and ask to know the purpose of this pain.