So this week was Mental Health Awareness Week and in honour of it, I thought I would share some of the methods I have used throughout the last few years to try and keep my depression under control. But first, here’s a short thank you to the person who helped me when I was down.
When I felt like I had no one there for me, after I had been told that no one liked me and I had no friends. There was one person who was actually there for me. When I was 14, I suffered from depression and it got so bad that I took an overdose on painkillers and other random meds from my mum’s pill box. Word spread pretty quick after I told who I thought was my best friend. Soon the whole school was calling me an ‘attention-seeking whore’ (no idea how they mastered that phrase but hey-ho) but as I stayed in hospital for a few days while they did all their tests and I was forced to have a psych evaluation, there was one girl from my school who cared. One girl who gave me tissues when I cried in class from my ‘friends’ saying hurtful things. The girl who actually phoned the hospital ward to check that I was okay. Her name was Ellie. And although we were never seriously close and we still aren’t really, I will never forget her kindness. I never actually told her but I hope she knew how much that meant to me. To know someone cared was enough to relight the flame of hope in me that there are people out there who do genuinely care for you and that’s what’s important. There can be 1000 bad guys but you only need to find that 1 good guy to make you better :) Thanks Ellie!
I just wanted to share that with you so you realise how much a ‘small’ act of kindness can have a massive impact on someone. Nothing is too small to help others and I hope this helps someone too. Pay it forward and all that jazz.
I managed to control my depression pretty easily at first by just focusing on my family and using their support to help. Once I went to uni though, I started to have a really bad fall, because I didn’t have my family there for comfort. So I turned to alternative methods to hopefully keep me sane. They may or may not help you but I’ve learned that it’s better to try it and have it work for a little bit than to suffer and get worse and worse.
- Meditation – This was really difficult for me as I struggled to clear my mind and concentrate on my breathing etc with all the problems running through my mind, but after a few months, I was able to clear my mind enough to focus on my coursework and started to organise my mind better. I combined this with the use of incense sticks too for a smoky sweet scent to cleanse the air. I still use meditation today if I feel like I’m getting buried underneath and it does help me.
- Writing – I like to write poetry. I’m not by any means a poet but I find it soothing to sit down and express myself in a way I feel comfortable. I’m rubbish at art but wish I could paint or draw because my thoughts on canvas would be a real insight! So I write. I tend to write more when I’m feeling low because that’s when my emotions are strongest I think. It always helps to get things off your chest.
- Crystals – I have used crystals for maybe a year and a half now and I do really enjoy it. I think it’s both fun and uplifting. I use them to centre myself while I meditate and also have certain crystals in different rooms to clear the air of negative energy. This is the one where I have probably recieved the most eye-rolls when I tell people about it. But at the end of the day, if it helps me maintain equilibrium then I don’t care what other people say or think about it.
- Going to the gym – This one is new and I mean VERY new. I only joined the gym two weeks ago but already I’m noticing a huge difference in myself. I don’t know if it’s the endorphins or what but I just feel so much better after sweating out all the bad feelings. I go to regular classes on my days off but I also just go and use the gym whenever I feel really angry or down. I tend to get angry when I’m feeling low so blowing off steam at the gym helps to release that tension as well as making me healthier (which could also be contributing to my boost.)
- Expressive dancing/singing – I LOVE dancing randomly. I’ll just put on some cheesy tunes from my iPod or on YouTube and just jump about my flat letting it all go! It feels great and you can do it whenever. I randomly sing to Steven on the phone sometimes too (the other night, he had me on handsfree and his mum heard me singing the opening song to The Lion King, y’know that part that’s all in Swahili? Yeah.. she laughed!) and sometimes, I just get the random urge to sing what I’m saying so I just go with it. It’s kinda weird but it makes me feel better when I’m embarrassing myself.
- Not giving a damn – This is probably the best piece of advice I could give anyone. It’s hard and it took me a very long time to feel this way but once you do, you wonder why you ever cared in the first place! It doesn’t matter what other people think about you because they’re not the ones walking in your shoes, living in your skin. It’s hard being alive. But once you learn how important your opinion is (especially when it comes to your own life) then you realise how valuable you are as a person.
So there we have it. The different tried and tested methods I have used religiously to help me control my depression. If you have tried any of these, I’d love to hear how you coped :) Or if you have tried any other methods, I’d love to learn about them to try them too!
As I said before, these may or may not work for you but it’s always worth a shot if you ask me.
If you’re looking for some helpful tips of boosting your self-esteem and confidence, check out my #ImConfident post :)
Take care everyone and remember to spread the love :)