She is going to take us on a personal journey looking inside of how life was before she was diagnosed with clinical depression. Feel what its like to be in her shoes and find out her 15 ways of coping with this challenging illness, depression.
Raina is a Psychology student who understands the importance of caring for mental health. She blogs about depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, men and mental health and parenting kids with ADHD.
Life Before Depression
I am a mother to three beautiful kids and a wife to a remarkable man. I was an active and joyful person. Outdoor activities were my favorite. There is something special to me about nature and its beauty. My friends always think of me as the unshakable and composed one amongst us. They think that I have it together. Friends and family depended on me to solve problems and tell them what to do because I was a go-getter, a smart and blunt woman. I was a good actor. I would panic behind the closed door and get it together in public. But I had everything under control.
My life collapsed when I suddenly became ill. An illness that will forever change my life and ‘loved ones’. My activity level had significantly decreased, I am no more the active and joyful person. I could no longer see past my pain and struggles. Normal household chores became an impossible
mission to accomplish. Who knew fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue could be so complicated to manage. Yes, I am strong, smart, unshakable, and skilled. But I am also human with little control over what happened to my body.
How Did I Become Depressed?
You see, as strong and smart as I am, I am not immune to depression. Our body and mind can only take so much. When you are dealing with chronic pain, it’s difficult to think of anything else. As a result, you have limited activity and you start to isolate yourself. Although my illness was sudden, my depression wasn’t. It started with low energy which I associated with chronic fatigue, then came the loss of motivation in activities I once enjoyed, followed by isolation, anger, and frustration. Accepting help was the most difficult decision for me to make. How can I, the strong and unshakable me be depressed? And if I am, well, I will work through it on my own. I couldn’t be more wrong about fighting depression on my own.
Where Is My Help?
I had to swallow my pride and accept that I am indeed depressed and that I needed help to survive. Yes, it wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s a decision
a strong person must make. It took every ounce of me to make the first step in seeking help. But I did it, and am proud I did because even though I will have depression, I have the right tools to help me manage it and live a healthy life.
My 15 Depression Coping Skills
- Talk to a therapist: this was very helpful. It took a while to find a therapist that I am comfortable with and trust, but it was worth the work. She helps me switch my negative thoughts to positive ones, manage stress and improve my self-esteem. You can learn how to improve your self-esteem or develop it.
- Writing and journaling is a great way to express oneself in a secure and non-judgemental way. At first, it felt funny to write about my feelings and thoughts in a book, but every time I do, I feel relieved. As a result, I kept writing and now I think of my book as a friend with an incredible listening skill. There are different journaling methods you can explore to find the one that best suits you.
- Create a schedule and stick to it: make it activities that you really enjoy. For instance, every day, I make it my job to learn something new, I also listen to scholars in my religion preach at a certain time of the day or week. I don’t know where I would be without my faith.
- Push yourself to be socially involved: it’s the last thing on your mind when you’are depressed, but it really helps. I push myself to go out with friends and family. It might help to first get out of bed and step out for some fresh air and take it from there. This usually does the trick for me.
- Create a bedtime routine and try and stick to it.
- Exercise: Well, again it doesn’t sound fun, but it will boost your mood and help you sleep better at night.
- Find ways to support others: while it feels good to receive support, it’s even greater to give support to others in need. The feeling is more than you can describe.
- Manage stress: accept that there are some things you cannot control and work on what you can improve.
- Practice relaxation techniques: doing this helps my body relax through the day, I do this three or more times daily.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Don’t personalize things: you are not the cause of everything that happens around you, nor are you the reason your friend canceled a date.
- Avoid friends that make you feel worse or stress you.
- Love yourself unconditionally.
- Practice self-care.
- Join a support group.
Slow and Steady Progress Is Key
You need to remember that these techniques are not a quick fix for depression, it takes time and commitment to get results. Take one step at a time, the speed does not matter. Slow and steady progress is the key here. Be patient with yourself and your loved ones as they are trying their best to understand you and meet your needs.
Click the link below to my blog to learn more about mental health.
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