5 Things I do When Having A Depressive Episode
I have bipolar, so depression is inevitable. Even with medication, I still have bad days. I have been experiencing a depressive episode lately. I call it an episode because I know it won’t last. However, it does not feel like that when I deep into my depression. I tend to isolate, avoid responsibility, lose my humor, and worst of all, lose myself. There are steps I need to take to get out of myself and focus on more positive things in life.
1. See A Counselor
There is nothing wrong with seeing a counselor for a little help. They can see your situation from an objective point of view as well as offer advice and coping skills that your depression has blinded you from seeing. I saw my counselor this last Friday and I have a follow up appointment this coming Friday. My counselor actually cares for my well-being. I have been with him for years. We have a bond and I trust him to steer me in the right direction and tell me what I need to hear.
2. Reach Out To Friends
The biggest thing to realize is that you are not alone, though you may feel alone. When I am depressed, I isolate. I have spent a majority of my last two weeks laying in bed avoiding people and responsibilities. I was even late to work twice this week and I am never late, just to avoid human interaction. A step I took today was reach out to my friends and let them know my mental health is not in a good spot. They responded with compassion and love. They have invited me to do things and me following up with them, no matter how much I don’t want to leave the comfort of my bed, will be good for me.
3. Reach Out To My Mentor
My mentor has been by my side since I was a senior in high school. He has stayed with me despite struggling with addiction, an eating disorder, self-loathing, self-harm, suicide attempts, and more. Over and over, he has demonstrated his unconditional love for me. He is older than I and I look up to him. I know he will have some advice or just be willing to take me out to get out of my head.
4. Take a Mental Health Day
I am a busy person. I work two jobs and I am working on two master programs. On top of that, I have the blessing of planning a wedding to the most unbelievably wonderful woman. Although these are all things I want to do, they keep me from getting rest and focusing on my mental health. I noticed I had not taken any time to do something for me as a form of self-care. Self-care is vital for people who struggle with depression. So, I took a day trip up north with two of my best friends. We went hiking, eating, shopping, and sang badly to some Demi Lovato. When I got home, I was exhausted and slept for 15 hours. It was just what I needed to do some recharging.
5. Practice saying No
I am a 2 on the Enneagram. This means I am a helper. I love helping people and showing them unconditional love. Often times, I end of investing too much and failing to set up healthy boundaries so that I can have some time for me to recharge. I often neglect myself. What I had to realize is that I cannot pour from an empty cup. I did things out of a feeling of obligation, but with a horrible and irritable attitude. My counselor advised me that I needed to start saying “no.” That goes against my personality. After conversing, we decided that I was to practice “now is not a good time for me” as a phrase to use in order to prevent myself from taking on more than I can chew.
Taking steps towards breaking the cycle of depression is what I needed to do. If you are feeling depressed, be active in your recovery. Reach out and take care of yourself.