Little Things That May Help If You Are Depressed

I had depression for over 8 years; this is how I clawed my way out.

If you are depressed, know you are not alone.

❌ Don’t listen to the people who say, “Cheer up!” or “Snap out of it” or “what’s wrong? You have a great life!”. They don’t understand, and it’s not within your control to make them understand either. Walk away.

✅ Do reach out to the people who say, “I’m here, even if you don’t want to talk” or “I can’t imagine what you’re going through but I can be alongside you while you work it out”. They genuinely support you and love you, and they can do this without even understanding what depression is.

I know that when you look up, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a dark tunnel. With just you in it.

I know because I’ve been there and I fought for over 8 years.

Here are a couple of things I did to get out. You can try them out and see if it makes you feel better.

❤️ The goal is not to figure out life or look for the light. The goal is to put one step in front of the other. That is it. It means brushing your teeth. It means getting out of bed. It means taking a short 10-min walk. It means showing up to work or school and doing your best. The light can come later, don’t worry about that for now.

❤️ I know that suicide may be on your mind. I know you can’t control it or push it away. It’s a big lion that’s trailing you. You must know that those thoughts come from depression. They do not come from you. They are two separate things. The big suicide lion, and you. The more you can separate both of you, the more you can distance yourself from it.

❤️ I know that sometimes, you can’t imagine getting through the year. That you feel overwhelmed by life and may think it is meaningless. That’s okay, because your job right now isn’t about taking on all of life and its infinite futures on your shoulders. Your job is to survive today and get to tomorrow in one piece. If you can’t see that far, then just survive the next 5 minutes. And the next 5. I promise you, dear person, it gets easier to survive. It starts becoming normal again. Then you can think about how to thrive. It’s about surviving the next moment. That’s all.

❤️ People talk about a support network. But what the hell is that? I know you feel all alone even though friends and family are around. A support network are made of little floats that help you keep your head above the water as you swim, because it’s tiring. Sometimes you just need a break. Pick the people you know love and accept you. These people will not tell you what to do, but they will just listen when you need to say something, even if they don’t agree with it. They will sit with you, or stay on the phone with you, even if you are silent. Teach them a code word that tells them you need them in *that* way, so that they can do their best. Send a text saying “support” and let them help you float as you take a breath from all that swimming. You can rest AND live.

❤️ I was a high-functioning depressive. On the outside, no one could see the deep chasm of despair I faced. I was still showing up, even became successful in different areas. If this sounds familiar to you, then it’s very important for you to start doing one thing. Open up to a few trusted people and show them the parts you feel are broken. Only trusted people. Not people who say “but you’re so successful, what do you have to be depressed about?”. People who will listen and just be there. This is because living a double life, one of a perfect image on the outside and being utterly broken inside, tears the fabric of your identity. When you split yourself this way, you have less energy to get better and it becomes harder to manage your own thoughts. It’s harder to hear the real you talking. Keep yourself whole, good stuff and vulnerabilities together. When the bad thoughts hit, know it is the depression talking, not you. Attribute those thoughts to the depression lion. Not to another part of yourself. This way you are whole, and with a whole identity you can more comfortably start your journey toward healing.

❤️ There will be a trigger phrase that rings all the time. “What is the point?” or maybe “It’s better for everyone this way.” Recognise what your trigger phrase is. No one else can hear it, but it’s what makes you seize up, tear up, or feel like giving up. When you hear it, imagine it’s a piece of dirt on your hand, that very easily washes off with water. Then close your eyes and imagine yourself washing your hand, and it easily comes off and goes down the drain. That phrase makes you unhappy, and gets you thinking wildly, but it is NOT you. It is not even a part of you. It’s a piece of dirt that you can imagine that you are washing away. Wash that dirt off.

❤️ I know it’s hard to feel grateful for anything. You may think and acknowledge you are lucky in some areas, but you don’t feel it. That’s okay. You are suffering and when you’re in pain; it’s almost impossible to feel anything else. It’s not your job right now to look back and be grateful. You can do that next time, when you feel better. Your job now is to just think of a few things. You have little floats that are your support network. You have water in your mind to wash the dirt off. So you have the ability to survive the next 5 minutes, and then the next 5 minutes again. You don’t have to be grateful for these things, but you could just think of them. As you go along, you may want to add more things to the list. Maybe now you can survive a whole day easily. Maybe the dirt isn’t there anymore. Maybe you’re really distanced from the big lion with suicidal thoughts.

❤️ I know you are desperate to feel better. That’s why you’re reading this. You’re desperate, but it’s just so hard. I was desperate too. I have some good news for you. I didn’t overcome depression overnight with some magic life-changing books or tonnes of strength or anything spectacular or amazing. I overcame it with these little things. And anyone can do these little things, even you. I know because I was you. I know that you don’t want to be in this state. I’m not telling you to get out of it. I’m telling you that these are little things that helped me feel better, each day, slowly, over time. And the better I felt, the more I could do for myself. And the more I did, over those days, the further away the lion got from me. Till it became just a memory. And that’s what I hope for you.

With a lot of love and care,