When that dark cloud hits, it can get really hard to find shelter before the downpour. The purpose of the month is to find (and test) ways that help a depression-inclined person like myself to overcome the sadness.
What have I learned so far?
1. Find a hobby that takes you outside
I went through a period when I made postcards from scratch. It was nice, and did take my mind off things but it’s nothing in comparison with walking with my camera, searching for viewpoints that are beautiful enough to be captured.
Bird in-flight, Belfast
2. Trick yourself into exercising
The first advice you get when you’re going through depression is to exercise. Which is all fine and dandy but how can one force oneself to exercise when some days it’s not even possible to leave the bed?
One solution is of course, going to work. There’s really not much we can do about it, if we want to eat, we need to work. And if we’re out of that effing door, we might as well walk.
Dublin, War Memorial Gardens
I don’t drive so I suppose that helps me because I just get off the tram a stop earlier and walk the rest. It’s not much but it saves the money and gets me into the mindset.
The other option is to keep on the money-saving track. Instead of paying for transportation, use the free one: legs or the more enjoyable (and faster) bicycle. I don’t know about you but I personally hate wasting money if it’s not necessary and my budget is grateful for every little relief.
And as it turns out, cycling is still fun!
3. Cut out the people that make you feel bad
Even if it’s not their fault (and I acknowledge that more often than not that is the case), it’s better to let them go.
It can be hard, especially if they’re a prominent member of a community you’re part of, but it’s not impossible. What is important though is not to do it bitterly. Which is hard. But the point is, no matter whose “fault” it is, where the feelings originate from, they end up making ME sad.
I recently closed down one of my dedicated twitter accounts for a break because there were so many people there who make me upset or even angry. I can’t change their behaviour. I can’t avoid them so I chose the only possible option: avoid the whole community. And it really made a difference.
4. Make plans to look forward to
One of the things depression does to you is that it makes you feel like there’s no way out. Nothing will ever change, it’ll always be dark so what’s the point of it all?
It’s harder to think that way when there are already organised events coming up that make me feel happy. Like a concert. Or even better a concert with a weekend trip with like-minded people. A trip around the southern tip of Ireland. Planning a special visit to Barcelona to give my brother the birthday of a lifetime.
I think the trick is to have them spread over a period of time, not too far away. For me, it works better to have more smaller trips than less longer ones. (I know experts usually advice for the latter but they’re not the experts in me, are they?) And I’ve been blessed to be able to afford them right now so nothing’s stopping me to dream, plan, organise and go!
Have you tried any of these yourself or what’s your favourite way of finding that shelter before the dark cloud swallows you entirely?