You never know when depression is going to hit. It really annoys me when people say “but you were fine yesterday” or “you were really happy an hour ago”.
It isn’t just about feeling sad like people seem to think; for me it’s loosing interest in everything, an empty feeling in my chest like a void and having no emotions at all (I’ve managed to watch Titanic without crying when it’s been bad!).
Over the years, through trial and error I’ve found a few things that help me when I feel depression creeping into my brain and I wanted to share them incase they can help you too.
I never need an excuse to read but this I’ve found is the perfect way to distract myself. Pick a book you love, I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan (Slytherin and proud!) and this mixed with a warm Ribena always helps to relax me and pull me out of the “black hole” as I call it before I fall too far into it. I would advice avoiding coffee as it can put you on edge since it’s a stimulant, but it doesn’t affect everyone (it actually makes me sleepy!!) so you do what works best for you!
Okay so any comedian you love will do but this man is my favourite. I have never yet been able to watch one of his tours without laughing at least once! I remember years ago I was in such a bad place and nothing could pull me out of it, I’d picked up Billy’s new tour on DVD and decided to watch it. One of the jokes caught me off guard and surprised a laugh out of me, the first in weeks! After that it was like the flood gates had opened and I started the slow road to getting myself back out of the pit.
I might not have many friends but the ones I do are true friends who I can rely on for anything and I’m so grateful for them; as we say up north- they need a medal the size of a dustbin lid for putting up with me all these years! I know that there are 3/4 people I can text when I’m struggling and they will either come over for a coffee and a natter or, if they can’t, they’ll say things that they know will help me. If you don’t feel comfortable saying that you’re struggling for any reason, maybe use a code word that only your friends will understand (this is great for social situations and if you’re struggling with anxiety too).
This one can take a long time to master, but once you have it’s really worth it! I try to practice mindfulness every night before bed to help relax my brain ready for sleep. However I discovered that if I used it the second I noticed the depression starting up, it really helped. I won’t go in-depth on mindfulness here as it’s a post in itself really but there are lots of apps and books out there that you can use to help learn this technique.
I have a selection of playlists on Spotify for different moods and activities. I have my general one that I listen to on the bus but I also have ones for when I’m working out and when I need a motivation boost. Strangely the soundtrack for The Hunger Games is my favourite one to listen to when I need a boost but you’ll find what works best for you! Music is great because as long as you have your Phone/iPod and some headphones with you, you can use it practically anywhere and whenever you need it!
I hope that you find this useful! What tips and techniques do you use to help when depression hits?
A twenty-four-year-old autistic writer and designer from Sheffield. Tattoo obsessed, animal lover, self confessed bookworm and eclectic witch.