Dealing with Depression

When you’re ill, it’s easy to get depressed. You’re not on track like your friends, your body is attacking you at every turn, and nobody really seems to understand.

When it’s real, clinical depression, you need to get help. I’ve been there! Counseling and properly medicating my pain got me back to a more normal mindset- but here’s the thing. I still fight depression. Daily.

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Yep. That’s right. Me, Miss Positive Blogger, fights depression every single moment of every single day. Sometimes it’s the pervasive empty kind, and other times it’s just an overwhelming sad. So far, my best line of defense has been overwhelming positivity. I’ve done #100HappyDays, I’ve done the Seven Day Positivity Challenge, and I’ve read The Happiness Project. When I was sunk into my deep dark pit, I thought everyone who said “fake it til you make it” was a lying jerk who needed to leave me alone. Now? I cling to every little happy moment I can get.

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Sometimes, like when I get glutened or have an especially bad pain day, faking it isn’t enough. Those are the days I have to be gentle with myself. I drink hot chocolate and vanilla coke. I buy a large milkshake without beating myself up about it. I spend extra cuddle time with the kittens, even though there’s laundry to be done and dishes to be washed. I lay in the hammock and watch Minnie chase bugs around the yard. I take a million selfies and delete all but one.

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After I self-care crawl back out of a slump, I like to keep busy. Whether that means painting in the floor, calling up a friend, or binging on video games while my husband sleeps at night, I do whatever it takes to keep my mind active. This is also the time I take special care of my body, because a healthy mind needs my body as nourished as possible (especially since I have some nutritional problems from my celiac.) So the post-slump peak is full of fresh juices and cute, vegan salad bowls.

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But the most important thing about tackling my depression is being able to reach out. Sometimes, all the self care in the world won’t be enough to tackle that bad brain. In those times, I have to know when to call in a backup team. Whether it’s talking it out with my mom, crying with my husband and best friend, or actually sucking up my pride and seeing my counselor early, knowing when to reach out is a huge step in fighting depression. Reaching out and getting help can mean the difference between a bump in the road and digging a depression well from which you refuse to emerge.

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If you’re anything like me, it’s scary to reach out. You don’t want to admit you’re sliding back into depression. After all, everyone has fifteen bad days in a row, right?

Well, some people might, but you don’t have to. If you’re struggling, please take care of yourself and reach out. If you’re not struggling, reach out to friends and family who are. You’ve all seen the “depression hurts” commercials. It does. But we can all do our part to make it hurt less.

If you feel like you can’t reach out to someone, I am happy to connect you with resources!

Living, Not Surviving

Sometimes, with chronic illness, it seems like I’m using all my energy just to survive. Just eating, showering, and feeding the pets can take an entire day’s worth of energy. I felt so down about it, I started comparing myself to my healthy friends- look at them, in college, working, living on their own. But after I talked to them? It seemed they were just as stuck as I was.

They were stuck in a routine, doing the same things day after day to get by. Beyond their college classes and their day jobs, they had no clue what to do with their life, or what really made them happy.

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It seems that I wasn’t the only one unhappy with my life! It seems like a lot of people don’t actually know themselves, what they want, or what makes them happy. For me? I’ve found now that good food, travel, and writing make me happy. So does makeup, my pets, and educating about chronic illness. That’s why I started regularly posting on this blog- it’s fun!

So if you’re in a rut, I challenge you this: do one thing for yourself each week and don’t feel bad about it. It can be as simple as ordering a coffee with whole milk when you think you should get skim (but you really want that full fat latte) or as grand as signing up for a cooking class or a vacation!

Find out what makes you shine.

Personally, I find that my mental health improves tremendously when I’m doing things for myself. My mental health, in turn, helps my physical health. I know this won’t work for everyone but in a lot of cases, it’s worth a try.