If you’re like me and experience depression you know how debilitating it can be. Depression can make it hard to live life to the fullest, and can prevent you from reaching your full potential. I have been dealing with varying degrees of depression for the past 18 years. Through years of trial and error I have come up with ways to stop major depression episodes before they even start.
- Know yourself You can’t expect to stop an episode if you don’t know one is coming. Pay attention to your mind and body. Notice any reoccurring warning signs that your depression is getting worse. I can always tell a week or two before a major episode. I have less patience and lash out at people for the smallest things. There is an overwhelming desire to escape from my life, and in extreme cases I start thinking about the ultimate escape. These and other cues let me know that I am about to go through a major depressive episode. You might experience some of these, but your cues could be different as well. It is important that you can recognize your warnings signs if you want to be able to proactively fight against your depression. Once you can do that, you can implement some of the following strategies.
- Change your hair: No, REALLY! Sometimes something that small can shake things up enough to keep the depression at bay. Studies have shown that changing your look can increase your mood. Doing something different with my hair is usually the first thing I try when I feel my depression creeping up. My go-to is to change my color, but lately I have been playing with the idea of synthetic extensions (because dying my hair all the time has taken a toll).
- Escape: Three weeks ago, something happened that caused my depression to hit me full on with no real warning (it’s rare, but it happens). I came home and immediately went to bed. The next morning when I woke up I made a conscious decision to not succumb to the depression. Instead I woke up my boyfriend and told him we were going to the beach (8 hours away). We woke the kids up and left. That little adventure and change in scenery was enough to get rid of the urge to never leave my bed again, crisis adverted.
- Read a book: If you can’t physically escape to another place for a while try escaping to another world all together. Reading to be very helpful when I am on the verge of a major depressive episode. I will choose a book (usually a series) that is in some fantastical world. Getting lost in a the book will completely remove me from this world, and while it’s not an actual “change” in scenery, sometimes it’s just enough.
- Move your furniture: Again, it is something that might seem like something small, but it can really help. The goal is to shake things up. To give a sense of a “new beginning”. What better way to achieve that than to change the way your environment feels. If you can’t rearrange your furniture around, move decorations around or declutter by getting rid of things you don’t use.