I just want to put it out there that I am having a hard time lately. For the past couple of months or so it feels like every little thing is just awful.
It isn’t just that the things I used to enjoy are not interesting to me. It’s that NOTHING is interesting to me. Everything seems excruciating. Even the simplest of things, like the fact that there isn’t a show on Netflix that can keep my attention for more than 5 minutes. Spending time on the internet attempting to connect with friends and readers makes me want to throw my laptop.
Sitting around reading a book used to be heavenly. Now I dread having unstructured time and reading because there will always be some sentence that will remind me of all that I’ve done wrong (whether or not it’s a truthful statement) or, how I can’t get ahead in any sort of endeavor I take (like selling my photos). I get terrible nervousness before I have to go out in public. The night before I go into work for my weekend of working is fraught with sleeplessness, stomach pain and worry about messing something up or what could go wrong.
I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression back in 2004. I took Prozac for a while and saw a therapist a few times a month, then stopped when I got divorced and no longer had medical insurance to pay for it. The thing about depression is that it never really goes away. It’s a life-long battle. Some days/weeks/years are better than others, but it slowly creeps up on you. I’ve been fighting this battle for years now, and I’m tired of it honestly.
I’ve decided to take a few steps to pull myself out and hopefully, sharing them here with you will help me:
Eat more Omega 3′s – studies suggest that people who are still depressed despite use of antidepressant medications may have reduced intensity of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction when supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids. One way to get enough Omega 3′s (if you’re not into taking a pill every day) is to eat a Mediterranean based diet- high in legumes, fruits, nuts, cereals, vegetables, and fish.
Meditate and Pray- A medical journal review has found that just 30 minutes daily meditation can improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain. Meditation and prayer shift brain activity from the stress-prone right frontal cortex to the calmer left frontal cortex. Prayer and meditation can augment both serotonin and dopamine production and your optimistic center. It turns on the vagal system, the optimistic center and suppresses the pessimistic center and the sympathetic nervous system- reversing a downward trend.
Cut down on refined sugars- Yes, carbs boost serotonin levels (which makes us happier) but only temporarily. Eventually, you crash and then just crave more sugar. Adding in natural sugar in the form of fruits and vegetables will be a better pay off in the long run.
Get out into the Sunshine-Even though it’s ridiculously cold out ,the Vitamin D that the sun provides will help. Spending time basking in the sunlight helps to increase levels of Dopamine and Serotonin, both of which are mood enhancers. Walking outside on a sunny day is an ideal way to combine exercise, light exposure, and the beauty of nature. In order to receive the mood-boosting effect, the light needs to be absorbed through your eyes, so do not wear sunglasses. It doesn’t take very long to get enough either, 20-25 minutes on a sunny day is enough to get the mood boosting effects.
Reach out and talk (touch) someone- The last thing I want to do right now is actually talk to someone, but honestly, it’s probably the first thing I need to do- talking It doesn’t have to be a licensed therapist right off the bat, just the act of talking to a close friend will help raise your mood. (although, if you are suffering from prolonged depression and/or feel like hurting yourself or others, please call someone. National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) If you are unable to manage your depression on your own or are experiencing more depressed days than not, it’s OK to use the resources out there.