When I talk about depression I call it a disease that needs to be treated as such. It isn't something you can 'will' away or something that will go away if you 'try harder' or 'work harder' at it. Depression is an insidious disease that weaves it's way into your soul and sometimes it won't let go.
I have been trying really hard to kick depression's arse and consistently failing. I feel like I've lost the last year of my life to depression. Two weeks ago I was having very scary thoughts and I decided that it was time to admit that I can't beat this on my own.
I'm really good at telling other people that you have to treat depression like a disease, but I was still resisting taking medication. I decided that was ridiculous and so I went and saw my doctor and she put me on an SSRI. Next I saw my acupuncturist and we decided that I needed to see her every other week regularly. Finally, I found a therapist in my neighborhood.
I reached out to friends and let them know I was struggling. I'm lucky that I have an amazing support system, but I should have let people know sooner that I was having a rough time. People genuinely do want to help and take it from this fiercely independent woman- it's ok to ask for help.
Doing all of that gave me a really huge safety net while I waited for the medication to kick in. It also helped immensely. I felt like I had 'team Kandy' in my corner that were there to love and support me.
There are a couple of other things that I am doing that I have found helpful-
- Eating healthy food.
- Exercising twice a week.
- Reaching out to friends.
- Napping when I feel like it. Depression feels a bit like the flu and I was spending so much time trying to fight it that I was exhausted. Now I'm listening to my body more and if I'm feeling run down I take a nap. It is definitely helping with my energy level.
- Going to my acupuncture and therapy appointments
It is ridiculous how much of a stigma there is against depression in our society. It is like any other disease and should be treated as such. Don't suffer in silence. Reach out and ask for help. You'll be amazed by the help that people want to give.
If you know someone that is depressed and aren't sure what to do just check in with them. Sometimes it is really hard for me to call or text when all I feel like doing is crawling under the covers and hiding, but it means the world when someone checks in on me. Recognize that when someone is depressed that they may not want to go out, but they do want human contact. Offer to come over and hang out.
I saw my therapist last week and she recommended using scent and texture within your environment. I laughed because I had just written a blog post about making your home feel cozy. So light your favorite candle, curl up under a warm soft blanket and call a friend.
Originally published 10/27/14