Thursday, May 7, 2015

dealing with depression and anxiety [part 3]

Alternate title: meme overload

This is the third and final part in a series of posts I've written on depression and anxiety. Part 1 from last week is here and Part 2 was published earlier in the week and can be found here. I'd love to have your input either in the comments or via email.


I don't know everything. Not even close. I just want to talk about my experiences. The only things I really know about depression and anxiety I've had to figure out on my own. Since no one really talks about this like it's ordinary mental health, it's hard to share it with people without feeling like you're begging for attention or without feeling judged.

I first recognized I had some anxiety and depression issues outside of normalcy when I had a 4 month old baby. I had a really, really hard time adjusting to being at home all day putting someone else's needs above my own literally 24 hours a day (86,400 seconds).

My sister was in graduate school and lived with us during that time. My husband, mom and sister were a terrific support system for me with a newborn baby. They knew I was depressed before I knew. They cried with me, listened and talked with me.

As a first time mom with breastfeeding issues weighing me down, I was going crazy from the sleep deprivation, alienation from my ordinary life, and adjustment to all of the demands of caring for a child. I cried daily. I counted the hours until Jonathan came home from work. I hardly took care of myself.

After Julianna was about 5 or 6 months old things finally started getting better. I would say I was back to my normal self by the time she was 9 months.

I struggled for a little bit with trying to find a balance between being a mom and working or staying at home. I decided staying at home wasn't right for me and began looking for a teaching job again. I went through a sad time when I couldn't find the right job.

When we began planning on having another baby I became really anxious about dealing with PPD again. I was proactive enough to talk with my doctor and get on antidepressants when I became pregnant. When Josh was born I had a much, much, much easier time. Second baby, sure, but the meds helped too.  I felt ready to get off of them before he reached six months.

I got a full time teaching job before Josh was a year old.  I've dealt with parenting and working full-time over the last five years pretty well I would say. I've managed most of my emotions and stress with running. I haven't been on antidepressants at all. I've definitely had the usual roller-coaster periods but never been as sad as I was the past couple of weeks.

All of this being said, I would like to share the few things that have helped me.

Here are my tips for dealing with depression and anxiety for what they're worth:

1. Let your closest friends and family know that you're feeling down.

2. Make sure to get outside, sunshine or not, every day.

3. Make yourself run or do whatever other kind of exercise you typically like to participate in even though you don't feel like it.

4. Make a point to eat nutritious foods.

5. Read the Bible and think about what God has done for you.

6. Take a shower and get dressed in something other than sweatpants. Wear make-up and comb your hair.

7. Take a picture of something you're thankful for every day. Then flip back through them before you do to sleep.

8. Do all of these things even when you don't want to. Believe me: you're not going to want to but do them anyway.

9. Think about doing something kind for someone else. If you feel up to it then do it, but if not at least write it down so that you'll remember to do it later.

10. Make a conscious effort to rephrase what you say so that it sounds confident and positive. This is a hard one.

Leave a comment with the last thing you did but add "Like a Boss" to the end of it.
Any tips you want to add?

3 comments: said...

Depression depletes your energy,hope, and drive,making it hard to do what you have to feel better.Be that as it may,while overcoming depression isn't speedy or simple,it's a long way from impossible.You can't simply will yourself to "snap out of it,"yet you do have some control—regardless of the possibility that your depression is extreme and resolutely persistent.The key is to begin little and construct from that point.Feeling better requires some investment,yet you can arrive on the off chance that you settle on positive choices for yourself every day.@Lillie Jensen.

Unknown said...

Did I miss your comments on breathing? Routinely doing 10 deep breaths to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and to get out of sympathetic stress mode is of key importance. I believe you are doing the positive self talk that we all need to do. Great, but focus on the breathing until it is a solid habit. Be sure to breath in through the nose and to breath deep, making the belly rise (diaphragmatic breathing). It is also a good practice, when you can, to do this with your eyes closed and focusing your mind on the process, thinking about the breath, going in through the nose and causing the belly to swell and noting how you feel. If your thoughts stray, no problem, but bring them back. There are a number of "grounded meditation" videos available on YouTube.

unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your depression story and your tips also. These are very useful and natural supplements for depression also good for me.

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