Depression is something that is very hard to escape from. It has infected your mind, and how do you get away from your own mind? It follows you everywhere, whispering lies to you. You’re alone. You’re useless. No one cares. It’s an incredibly isolating and confusing experience. No wonder we lose so many people to it every day.
So how do we get through each day when this is going on in our brains? For some people, medication helps. I found that for me drugs didn’t help, they just made me worse. I tried many different types of antidepressant and anti-anxieties, but none of them helped me. Some made it worse, but that’s a whole other story. But I do know that they work for a lot of people, it’s just a matter of finding a good doctor who can monitor you well and find the right drug. Be mindful of the possible side effects as well, as there are many and some can cause suicidal ideation. Contact your doctor straight away if you experience this.
Without medication to help me, I’ve had to turn to other things to keep my mind from killing me. I am the queen of distraction. Distractions are awesome. I read a lot. Entering another world to live in someone else’s head for a while is the ultimate escape. If my head is too chaotic and I can’t focus enough to read, I play computer games. Yep, I’m a gamer. I find them extremely immersive, and I have control over the environment. I can run through the streets of Victorian London being an Assassin, or hunt monsters on my trusty steed Roach in The Witcher, explore ancient tombs as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, or just be Batman. The possibilities are endless. After a long day at work, particularly a frustrating one, swinging a sword around and killing something gets it all out of my system. Judge me if you like, but it works. And no one gets hurt.
Another great thing to do to help with depression is exercise. Now, I’m not much into going for a run, or getting into the gym and jumping on a cross-fit machine. I hate that, it’s boring. So I found martial arts. I had always wanted to learn, but didn’t think I could do it, until I realised that in order to get some confidence, particularly around men, I needed to change something. So I found a trainer. My trainer works with a mixed martial art, comprising of Jeet Kune Do, Philipino Kali and Muay Thai Kickboxing. It’s a discipline that is designed for self-defense, not just fighting in the ring. I do two sessions a week, for 30 minutes at a time, and boy has it increased my self-confidence! I’m fitter, I’ve lost weight, and I don’t live in fear any more! Also, if I’m at home and feel those old feelings and anxieties again, I just drop to the floor and do pushups until the feeling goes away. You see, when you exercise, happy chemicals are released into the brain. Instant anti-depressant!
Other great things to do:
Having an animal to pat (lowers blood pressure)
Watching TV shows and movies
Hanging out with good friends
Eating a special treat
Going for a walk
Listening to music
Don’t forget though, that you can’t distract yourself forever. At some point, you will have to face your fears, and only then will you find yourself released from them. Find a counselor that you connect with and work through the root causes of your depression. The sooner the better. It can take time, but it is possible. Don’t tell yourself you’re not strong enough, you don’t know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.