Let's talk about how to keep living your life when you have depression. Normally I write about anxiety on the blog, but today I want to dive a little bit deeper into depression.
Ah, depression. The thing so many people have and yet nobody wants to talk about.
It’s like some sort of voodoo. Where we all feel like something is wrong with us if we do have it and none of us want to admit we might have it.
I’m just going to lay it out there: depression sucks, but it’s not the worst thing in the world to have it.
How to Keep Living Your Life When you Have Depression
It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you if you struggle with it. Having depression just makes you human, seriously. There are many people out there who have depression and are able to live amazing lives.
This is so you know there's no reason to feel ashamed if you do struggle with it.
I personally have learned that through a lot of trial and error. Depression wiggled its way into my life a few years ago and has stayed a very active visitor ever since.
Some days it’s not so bad and I actually feel pretty good. But when depression hits, it hits hard.
Last week a family member passed away, and I honestly didn’t know if I could go back to work and continue on with my life.
When depression hits it can honestly just make you believe that your life doesn’t matter, the people around you don’t matter, and that nobody would care if you ceased to exist.
Your mind goes against you. Any positive thoughts you have just go out the window and you're just left there with the evil inner critic that is working its hardest to break you down.
During the days where my mental state is good, I work hard at remembering what that feels like. Because when I get depressed, I tend to forget.
I wanted to write this post for anyone out there who is struggling or has struggled with depression.
Below will be a few ways you can work on it. I still deal with it, but I get through it. And every time I make it through to the other side, I am so grateful.
If you can, try to think of your depression as a head cold. It will knock you on your ass sometimes and you will be mentally too weak to fight it.
But it will pass, which you have to work on believing. And there are many ways to manage your depression to prevent it from getting unbearable.
I wish that it wasn’t as powerful as it was. It’s as though you’re in a Marvel movie where the bad guy has taken over your mind.
Sorry for all of the analogies… hopefully, you get my point.
How to keep living your life when you have depression
Before we dig into my advice on how to keep living your life when you have depression, I want to let you know that I offer a free mental health support group, and every member gets a free mental wellness kit. Join here.
Table of Contents
1. Be open to talking to someone about it
I get that talking about depression is not easy. Especially when you know you'll be ok, just not right now.. And you don’t want other people thinking something is seriously wrong.
Depression should be taken seriously, but it doesn’t mean people will instantly judge you for the thoughts you have.
There are resources out there for your mental health. You should speak to professionals who know what you’re going through, and they will know how to make it better.
Please don’t give up on the hope that nobody understands what you’re going through. It’s actually quite the opposite. Most people get it, it's just difficult communicating it sometimes.
Finding the right people to talk to can quickly make you feel better.
2. Listen to what your mind is telling you
Obviously, if you’re depressed then you will be listening to those awful thoughts that are making you feel worse.
But, try to dig a little deeper and figure out what your brain is actually telling you.
We all have insecurities and automatic thoughts we jump to when we aren’t feeling our best.
Thoughts like “I’m not good enough.” “I don’t know what the point to life is.” “Nobody cares about me” etc.
However, these thoughts are a cover-up to what you’re actually feeling.
What situations in your life have occurred recently that are making you feel this way? Did you get laid off? Did you recently end a relationship? Are you stuck in a job you hate and are wondering if this is all there is?
Start questioning what is causing your automatic negative thoughts. Work on digging deeper.
Automatic negative thoughts are there to actually prevent you from thinking more about what is bothering you. I
It’s easier to just say “I’m not good at anything.” than to think, “How can I improve from this situation? Is there anything I could have done differently?”
Work on stopping the self-sabotage and listening to your thoughts.
3. Change your environment
Sometimes the environment we are living or working in can be the underlying cause of depression.
If your job doesn’t make you feel your best, it might be time to evaluate if it is serving you enough.
And if your home life is less than ideal you may need to shine a light on what is causing you to feel so bad and work on fixing it.
I used to be in a toxic relationship that made me so depressed most days. I lived with the guy and never felt all that good.
It wasn’t until I had to force myself out of the situation that I started to feel much better.
You deserve to feel good about your life and if your environment is negatively affecting your mental health then your depression could be a sign telling you it’s time for a positive change.
4. Keep doing the little things, even if you really don’t want to
Last week my boss asked me if I could be back at work. That pressure immediately turned me off to ever wanting to go back.
I shut down and avoided his calls. I just was not ready to face work again and deal with responsibilities.
Not going to work made sense for last week but avoiding it for the rest of my life wasn’t possible. This week, I forced myself to go back and honestly felt a lot better mentally.
When you have depression, you won’t think anything will help. Going to the gym, watching a movie, talking to friends… all of these things seem pointless.
But, to avoid falling into a deep depression, you have to force yourself to keep doing those little things.
It’s ok to take a break from certain responsibilities if you aren’t feeling your best. Self-care comes first.
But, shutting down and avoiding everything will only make you feel worse. (I’m saying this from experience!).
When you want to retreat back to home and avoid your usual routine, instead try to do one or two things you would normally do.
Maybe that’s walking your dog around the block or calling your best friend. Keep up with those little things, because those little things could literally save your life.
5. Make a commitment to working at it every day
Taking care of your mental health should be your number one priority.
It honestly should be everyone’s first priority. Once your mental health is taken care of, you can literally conquer the world.
If you want to start making it one of your main priorities then make it a daily commitment.
Create a daily routine based on improving your mental health.
Some ways you can do that are:
- Set aside 5 minutes a day to write in your journal about how you’re feeling
- Practice mindfulness meditation
- Go for a 30-minute walk
- Try something different every day
- Find something that makes you laugh
- Practice gratitude for everything in your life
6. Do more of the things you love
It’s so easy to lose track of the things we enjoy in life. When we have to work most hours of the week and give ourselves over to other responsibilities.
But, adding in more things you love to do will help fight against your depression.
Partly because it will give you a reason to feel excited about things again.
Music has always been a huge part of what kept me going in life. Life got in the way and I stopped trying to make playlists and seek out the music that made me feel so much better.
I made it a point to create a playlist this week with all of my favorite songs and I felt so much more in tune with myself and the world.
That’s because I could really relate to what they were singing about, and I didn’t feel so alone in my thoughts.
Do more of what you love, and if you can’t remember what that is work on finding it again.
7. Rid yourself of the bullshit
Last but not least, ignore the bullshit. There is no right or wrong way to heal from depression.
Some days will be harder than others. But, that doesn’t you are destined to feel this way forever.
Being depressed does not mean anything is wrong with you. You aren’t crazy, and you’re not alone.
If you try to talk to someone and they don’t understand what you’re going through, that just means they haven’t experienced it before.
It doesn’t mean you’re wrong to feel the way you do.
What sucks is when you try to talk to someone about it and they make you feel worse about it.
If this happens to you, please try to think that the person you’re talking to you just doesn’t get it. They aren’t the right person to talk to, and that’s ok.
There are people out there who understand. I understand. And I’ve been in that spot before where I felt like I had to change for others to accept me.
I kept telling myself I had to stop being so negative all the time and just snap out of it.
Yeah… you can’t just snap out of depression. People who are forcing you to snap out of depression will only make you more depressed.
Own up to how you’re feeling and tell yourself you deserve to feel better again. Don’t be ashamed of how you feel.
Embrace it and take care of yourself. Go easy on the days where you don’t feel your best.
You don’t have to feel ok all the time. Some days are just going to suck. But that doesn’t mean your whole life sucks.
I hope this list of ideas for how to keep living your life when you have depression helped you in some way… and if you’d like to talk to a professional about it then here are some resources for you:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Or call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- BetterHelp – FREE Online Counseling
I also offer a support group on Facebook, and every member gets a free mental wellness kit. Join here.