Here I am, back again with part 2 of this series on depression and how I deal with it. It is by no means, a diagnoses of what you may be going through, but is meant to show things I do to keep my seasonal depression under control. It doesn’t always work, but it helps….A LOT! And since I know that I am not the only one who suffers from this horrible affliction, maybe these things can help you too.
One thing about depression is that many therapists immediately want to put you on some sort of drug. I am not into that. I believe in trying non-chemical methods first. I get really really down, but I have NEVER been in a mental place where I wanted to hurt myself, so its safe for me to try alternative treatments. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with taking prescription medication if you need it. I am just trying a holistic approach.
Please note: none of these options are easy, but I find them oh-so-necessary for me to live a happy life.
1 – Do what makes me happy.
For me, its that feeling like I am leaving a positive mark on someone’s life. That is one of the great things about being a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. I get to see people change for the better right before my eyes, and it makes me so proud.
2 – Get rid of the negative people in my life and surround myself with positive influences.
This may be the most difficult part of the healing process, but it is absolutely necessary for positive change. For me, I had to pull myself back from relationships that were making me unhappy, including friends and family. Yes, it was incredibly challenging. Yes, it caused a lot of drama on all sides. But in the long run, I had to do what was right for me. I regret 0% of it.
3 – Get out of negative situations.
My financial situation sucked, my living situation made me cringe, I was anxious all the time because I was not where I wanted to be – all of these things could be changed, but it was going to take time. I wrote a list of things I wasn’t happy with and slowly knocked them off my list. Watching things change, even just a tiny bit, really changed my perspective.
4 – Don’t Forget Your Vitamin D
A lack of sunlight and a weaker sun contributes to a vitamin D deficiency in many north of the Mason Dixon line. The cold weather forces us indoors, and we lose our time in the sunshine. A vitamin D supplement can do wonders for helping with mood, even though scientists aren’t sure why.
5 – Tell People
The most difficult thing I did in dealing with my S.A.D was I began telling those closest to me that I had a problem. After I was able to get past the stigma that goes along with depression, I had no problems telling people that I have difficulties at times. Depression is NOTHING to be embarrassed or ashamed of and you should never be made to feel bad about it.
Some people will not understand it. That is no judgement of you or your circumstances. Some people can’t. But those who love you will respect that this is part of your life that needs care and will do what they can to help you, even if they don’t quite grasp the nature of what depression is.
6- Last, But Not Least: Move
My depression is seasonal and one of the best ways to resolve that is to move. Seasonal depression is brought on by lack of sunlight and being stuck indoors. So I plan on moving out of NYC very soon.
I know that getting up and leaving is not easy for most, but it is probably the single most effective part of S.A.D management (I’ve heard this from many people who have SAD and have done just that). I feel very different in Florida or California, than I do in the northeast. The warm sun on my face, the ability to do more outdoor activities all year round, those things make me happy. So, if I have to move in order to have more mental stability, then so be it. A change in scenery can change everything and I am worth it.
So far, these are the things I have done to manage with my seasonal depression. They have successfully decreased my downward spiral even though I still have moments. Hopefully some of these tactics will work for you.
If you have any tips that will aid in handling depression, please share.