When depression hits it can feel like a tsunami that you can’t survive. Since I can remember I have struggled with major depressive episodes from feeling completely hopeless, lonely or borderline suicidal.
When I was seven years old I stood in the middle of a street waiting for a car to hit me. I remember thinking that my family didn’t want me and that they wouldn’t even notice if I was gone. A car came and screeched its brakes a foot away from my tiny body.
As a mother I reflect on these moments of my life and feel so much sadness and compassion for the child in me. She had to overcome so much just to simply survive.
In the last ten years I have been reframing my life and my mindset to healing from trauma and coping with bouts of depression when I do feel less than and lose hope.
An old high school friend reached out to me the other day and shared vulnerably how she struggles with anxiety and depression. She asked me how I have coped with it personally. I shared some simple tips that helped and still help me manage my days of depression when they do come.
Here is my survival guide to coping with depression:
- Get air. — Seriously. This may sound cliché but honestly it has been a mood changer even for a few minutes. Go outside and take a few deep breaths. In that moment you are coming up for air from being in the ocean of depression. From the thoughts that repeat themselves.
- Drink water. — Hydration has always made me feel a little better in my waves of depression. A glass of water can feel very physically + emotionally refreshing.
- Journal. — Journaling has been a LIFE SAVER for me. I started journaling through the abuse + sexual trauma when I was thirteen and it has been a part of my life practice ever since. Give yourself just a minute to journal even if it’s one word.
- Laughter. — Comedy has been something lately I have been turning to. Especially dark humor or self-deprecating jokes. Find a comic you love, explore comedy movies/books. There are some great bits of comedy online/Spotify. Give yourself a few minutes to even try to put a smile on your face.
- Be your own best friend. — This is the hardest but if you can imagine the healthy best friend version of you giving you a pep talk. What would he/she say to you right now?
- Talk to someone who loves you. — Reach out for support. Talk to someone you know can relate. Pick wisely who you share your problems with because really, not everyone gets it.
And if you have done all of these, keep repeating them. The idea is not to cure yourself of depression but to find moments of space from it.
To feel even slightly better for a few minutes. The idea here is to find healthy ways to cope.
You will thank you later for it.