By Bria Barrows
Ok, I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to start off the year writing numerous articles on depression.
Like I truly didn’t.
I anticipated going into the New Year with some “happy go lucky” articles about how much I love life and how refreshed I am that I have reached this amazing place and therefore share the content I have to match that amazingness.
But as it has been, life hasn’t been that easy breezy for me thus far and instead of complaining about it I have decided to use my platform as a source of healing for myself and hopefully many others as well.
I suffer from major depression, I have since I was 18 years old. I take medication, attend DBT therapy sessions and try to find ways to cope as best as I can with a condition that is far from easy, debilitating almost.
Because many struggle daily to grapple with an illness that takes the life out of so many people daily, both physically, mentally, and socially, I have come up with some tips to help alleviate the stress of dealing with depression.
Here are 10 helpful ways to try cope if you are managing severe depression.
1. Try and not sweat the small things that really do not matter
I know with me I am a dramatic person at heart and the fact that I struggle with depression on top of this doesn’t help me not freak out about almost anything; minute and irrelevant things that just add to my depression.
The key is to never make mountains out of molehills because you are already battling your mountain daily! Don’t add to that stress.
2. Know your triggers very well
Until I relapsed into depression again, I never truly realized that I have triggers. But I do. It could be a person who comes off more abrasive in their way of expression, or it could be comparing myself to people on social media.
There are always triggers and you do not need that added stress to your life whatsoever. Remember that people who suffer from depression are usually very sensitive already.
We can’t help it and that even explains why we are probably more prone to the illness. We just feel more deeply than others and we take in everything. Words, our environment, everything affects us and therefore affects our moods as well.
So if you are around someone who is blunt as a person, try and not take that in personally as a direct threat to hurt your feelings. That’s just who they are. You don’t need the added stress of thinking everyone is just out to get you. It’s not true. If you know social media triggers you, then you need to log the fuck out.
It’s all some bullshit for show by the way. Your friend totally cried herself to sleep last night right after that selfie. Mark my words.
3. You are absolutely beautiful, worthy and loved in this world.
I usually have a high self esteem. I think I’m pretty cute if I’m honest and I have a great personality, but depression has seriously screwed with my perception of self completely and I hate it.
Everyone deserves the chance to wholeheartedly love who they are no matter what stage you are in life and what circumstance.
Depression will feed you the lie that you don’t matter and aren’t talented, beautiful, and worthy. But you are. You are an amazing being here for a purpose beyond all the trauma or losses you have experienced. You glow. Period.
4. Everyone is going through something and it could always be worse.
As cliche as it sounds, it’s truth. You are not the only one on the planet suffering. You do not just have a dammed existence and were chosen to be the one to suffer amidst a spinning world of possibilities and blessings.
For every person you meet, shake hands with, lock eyes with, they are fighting and internal battle as well. You are not cursed, even though it may feel that way. Take it from someone who feels this almost daily.
5. It is okay to say fuck you in your head to some people.
Unless one has gone through depression, the process, the numerous medication changes, the frustration, the delay on life, school, work, relationships and the tremendous effect it has on someone’s self esteem, they will not be able to understand your hurt whatsoever.
In fact, they don’t even have authority to speak on your fight period. But ignorance exists, and some people will tell you how you have been feeling and tell you how you should feel simply because they don’t know any better and in your mind you want to tell them to shut the fuck up because they know not a thing.
But being angry at people for being misinformed won’t help you become a better person. It will just keep you angry. Take their ignorance with a grain of salt and know that only you has authority to speak on your story.
6. Pray or find some spiritual solace to hold onto
I think I have been angry at God for ages now for everything wrong I have experienced in my life, but at the end of the day, I need Him to keep me whole and to survive in this world and being mad at God doesn’t help me move forward one bit either. It keeps me bitter and stuck.
Whether it be yoga, meditation, some self help books, we all need something that centers us and grounds our existence on this planet. Find what that is for you.
7. You will get better because this world needs what you have to offer
Depression is a life long struggle and it does ruin lives. It tears you apart. It has torn me to ruins and allowed me to question my worth and existence in this world period.
But everyday I am here I have to tell myself it is for a reason and I was not given my voice for no reason. It’s to write and heal myself along with others.
For many who have been hurt by the scars of depression, we question our existence. Why have we been driven to suicidal thoughts? Why have we hurt so much when it seems like others get a chance?
But your existence here on this earth is valid beyond whatever you have endured. It came to destroy you, but instead made you stronger; a better person in the process. You matter. Please hold on to that.
8. You will finish school, no matter how long it takes.
I know for many, mental illness often delays work or study and that is a debilitating reality to face especially when you want to go after your goal and just succeed so you can get on with your life.
My mental health has delayed my studies and it is devastating to me every time I think about it because this is added stress and complications I rather not have.
But I am now taking one course in school and working my way through it.
If you are struggling, know you will finish your studies no matter how long it will take you. Try not to focus on everyone else you see graduating, just know you will get there.
9. Take all the love being given to you and don’t question or dispute it.
With all that you have endured, you deserve love. Whether that be from an amazing boyfriend, a friend, family, or even a stranger, take it and run with it.
Often depression makes you feel like the world is full of evil and you just question everything and everyone. But you deserve good and it is out there for you to deserve.
10 The more you try to see the good in you and your situation no matter how hard it may be, the easier it will be for you to find glimmers of hope and blessings.
It isn’t easy, trust me. Depression masks everything good and can really damage you.
It ruins you and I won’t lie when I say this.
But find mini blessings throughout the day for yourself and bask in them no matter how small.
Even for moment where you were able to forget all your problems and laugh and have genuine enjoyment is a moment you deserve and can have. Because for that moment, you weren’t hurting, you were living.
Depression and mental illness, in general, is scary. It scares me and has taken me to places unimaginable, but I know I still matter through the storm and somehow I will get through because I matter and have a story to tell.
Look for the mini blessings in your storm to help ease your pain, because they are most definitely there and your fight, has and will not be in vain.