Before anything, I make sure I’m taking my meds and am seeing my therapist. That is 50% of the battle for me. Being sure I’m on top of my meds and haven’t missed any. And then seeing the therapist so that I can talk things out.
Then there are four habits I do to keep from going down deeper into the rabbit hole of depression. The first habit I do is keep up a routine. I get up each morning and stretch for 30 minutes while practicing some deep breathing exercises. Then I get my breakfast and take my meds. While I’m having my morning coffee, I go online and play some Texas Hold’em (not for money) which helps me to focus my attention on something, rather than my depressive thoughts which is my default. Then while playing Texas Hold’em, I listen to some uplifting music…and sometimes I even sing along.
This has been one of the best ways to keep me from getting down deeper into my depression. I do this for about an hour and feel like I can face the day. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard to get out of bed each morning, but my bladder and knowing I have to walk my dog helps to get me up and out of bed.
That’s the second habit I do…is walk my dog each morning. My wife walks the dog in the evening, but I take the mornings as it helps me to get out of my funk and get on with my day. As I walk my dog I try to put on the hat of gratitude…which isn’t easy, but I find very important. If it’s snowing out, I’m thankful for the beauty of the snow covered city. If it’s sunny out, I’m thankful for the warmth of the sun…the trees, grass, flowers, birds, etc. Anything I can be thankful for, I try to just express gratitude. Gratitude releases DHEA which helps combat cortisol which is a stress hormone. I find I cannot think of negative things and positive things at the same time…so when I’m grateful for things, I am able to see the positive things in my life.
The third habit, I try to get together with people and keep from isolating myself. I meet up with a friend once a week or so just to touch base and share in each others lives. I think this is one of the big lies of the world today…that we must be all put together before we share what is going on in our lives. I look at myself, others and celebrities…and we all have shortcomings that we wish weren’t there. But we have them…and if we share them with others, we get that burden off our chests and let someone else into our lives. Then I can be grateful for these friends as well…knowing that I am loved for who I am and where I am, imperfections and all.
The forth habit, I try to use some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) when I start to think negatively. I say to myself, “this is simple, this is easy, this is fun”…and repeat it over and over again in my head. Again, it puts a positive spin on what I’m going through. Now it may not seem like fun, so you can exchange fun for doable…but my rationale for saying fun is to make life more exciting. When something is fun, I am able to get excited about it. For example, I was going to go to my psychiatrist and usually don’t look forward to meeting with him.
You know when you have a sore spot and the doctor just pokes and prods on that sore spot until they can diagnose what is wrong…which makes that sore spot even more sore. That’s the same way I feel about going to the psychiatrist. I usually take a Lorazepam to help calm my nerves. However, there have been two times that I have used the above, “this is simple, this is easy, this is fun” and it totally shifted my thinking about going to see the psychiatrist. Instead of him poking and prodding me…we were going to analyze my depression together as a team. I was able to look at my depression from a third person perspective and look forward to seeing how we were going to hack my brain. I was able to be part of the solution, rather than feel like I and my depression are the problem.