“Tips From the Surface” 05.24.24

Depression is a close friend of mine. Now, it is only an occasional visitor due to medication, therapy, and family support. When it occurs (for me), I have absolutely no desire to get out of bed and live an adult life. It causes lethargy, physical aching, low mood. Watch out! I am irritable and push others away instead of holding them close. The Little Mermaid wanted to be where the people are, but when I am feeling so low, I want to be where the people aren’t. I have so little energy that a smile (even a fake one) is almost impossible to conjure. While depression is an unwelcome state of mind, it is closely followed by anxiety. I am attached to that fishing line, striving in vain to free myself from the pull of the rod.

I am anxious more often than depressed or manic. Through my own experience, I have discovered helpful tips for coping with these feelings. You are not alone in your boat, though these waves crash onto your deck.

Helpful Tips For Depression and Anxiety:

*Go outside. Touch the ground. Sit on the grass and breathe slowly and deeply.

*Garden. Get muddy on purpose.

*Swim. Hold your hand under the sink faucet. Let the water ground you.

*Purchase a weighted blanket. Before you buy one, research. Measure the dimensions and the weight in proportion to your size and weight. When you are anxious and cannot fall asleep, cover yourself with the blanket. Sleep underneath it if you feel the need (I do). A cheaper option is to pile heavy objects on your chest, such as books to weigh you down. It will bring momentary peace during a difficult time.

*Lay a stuffed animal or soft object such as a pillow, on your chest and stroke it slowly. The light weight and sense of touch stimulate calm feelings. I have a large plush bat. I situate its wings across my chest like a hug, then pet the fur on its back. Try lounging, not even leaving the bedroom while performing this task.

*Drink more water and less coffee (easier said than done).

*Force yourself out of bed and go for a short/long walk outside. This activity is the last you want to experience when you are feeling low, but the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise produce endorphins. Endorphins lead to high energy and an abundance of serotonin in your brain, inspiring happiness.

*Resist triggers whenever possible. These are typically outside forces which cause us to fall into despair. When I experienced my first bout with depression, I was in bed for several days eating nothing and drinking solely apple juice. I can no longer drink the juice without negative emotions. When I was hospitalized I ate oatmeal with butter and brown sugar every morning at breakfast. Having left that horrible event in my past, I still cannot eat oatmeal without dragging myself back to a cell. There are songs and books that trigger me as well. Best to stay away from these memory induced stimuli.

*Spend time with animals. Consider training an emotional support dog.

*Hugs are encouraged.

*Talk therapy has been helpful for me. Many people call this “visiting the shrink,” and it has a negative connotation. Speaking to a person about how you feel and what happens in your life, especially a person who legally cannot voice your concerns to anyone else, can be beneficial. If you are opposed to this method or cannot feasibly take part in this relationship, find someone you know you can trust. Pain is a huge burden to keep inside. Talking about your personal issues can be relieving. One piece of advice from my therapist stands out. For years I thought that not being “in the mood” meant being lazy and procrastinating. She assured me that with a mood disorder, being “in or out of the mood” is natural.

*If you have no energy or drive to take a shower, and definitely no desire to wash your hair, there is this great product called dry shampoo. Stock up!

*Dance like no one is watching when no one is watching. It is stress-relieving to be open and honest with yourself. You have nothing to hide, but I am such a terrible dancer, that I do make sure no one is watching before I crank up my tunes. I feel silly, but that’s part of my process.

I hope these tips are helpful. If you have any questions, I am open to answer them as I am able. Email me privately if you do not wish to comment. I am here for you and want to clarify that you are not alone in this struggle. My email address is listed on my site, but in case you do not wish to search for it:

[email protected]

If you require help I cannot provide, additional aid is available on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.

If you are in serious trouble or fear for a loved one, the suicide prevention hotline is open 24/7 and the number is: 988

Please do not hesitate to reach out.


3 thoughts on ““Tips From the Surface” 05.24.24

  • May 24, 2024 at 6:13 pm

    This is a great list of self care that you have gleaned from hard years of experience. I love your brave communications of how you are feeling. Love you, Gal! Your Grandmama is/was/is so proud of you!

  • May 25, 2024 at 2:17 pm

    You father is proud of you!

  • May 26, 2024 at 9:14 pm

    You gained such wisdom out of a difficult and hard period. You are my personal hero. 🙂

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