Depression is an illusive enemy coming on when we least expect it.
It's never the right time and not knowing how long the episode will last is terrifying. Ideas of productivity go out the window as our purpose, worthiness, future happiness, and ability to focus get questioned by the internal minute.
Here are 3 things that I've found really help drag me into the light with some forced perspective when my brain starts turning left.
1. Get Outside to connect with community / phone a friend
The last thing you'll want to do is often the best thing to shatter the lies spreading through the narrowing walls of your mind. Walking in the sunshine to a coffee shop and being super kind to the cashier, smiling at a stranger, or spreading compliments does an unexpected perspective shift.
The addition of people / fresh air / sunshine / new views (external variables) that likely need your kindness, injects a small sense of community, mass vulnerability, and sense of worth. That person whose child you complimented probably needed to hear they are doing ok as a parent. The cashier you tipped and thanked is likely still stuck on the last guy who took out his frustration on her.
Your input and positive vibes matter and you'll see it on the world around you - if you just get outside and put on your best happy actor face for others' benefit. This is tough if the shame cycle has already kicked in making you want to hide from everyone. I promise, they don't see what you see at this moment and will love the positive moment with you.
If you can't get outside, phone a friend. Rather than share what is bugging you, tell them how much you appreciate them and their friendship. Glow about their positive attributes and how much they mean to you. Joke about the impending cheesiness and then lay it on thick.
Depression loves to bring other people down with it while making us feel fearful that others wont like us once they see our darkness. It gets us coming and going. Rather than play it's game, just spread light and hang up. You'll feel the other person's boost and it.will.feel.awesome. It will also remind you of the impact you have in others lives. The world will look a bit sunnier for a second.
2. High Intensity Movement & Water!
Endorphins, Oxygen, & Opiates ...mmmmmmmmm. Changing our biology often kick starts brain boosting self confidence, a sense of worth, and overall feel good. It doesn't have to be kick ass or super long. 5-7 minutes of no break squats, cardio, yoga, weight lifting, or dancing gets the blood flowing, the breaths deeper, and calms the brain. AND moving blood, flushing your system with water, and shaking the lymphatic system helps detox. Toxins can definitely be a triggering source of a depressive episode. Dehydration is the 3rd leading cause of depression so water is a double threat against the dark D-bag.
If you're under the weather or super fatigued, consider sitting in a sweaty sauna, getting a massage, or stretching to change your biology. The endorphins may be absent but the detox properties, oxygen, focus on the present, and opiates will help. A brilliant friend who has similar brain chemistry reminded me that cold showers/cold water is proven to jolt the mind out of depression. "I smile and get fired up everyday I turn off the hot water at the end of my shower."
3. Practice Permission, credit, & Gratitude
Got a brain that won't budge after you've tried the above two? Maybe your brain is signaling it's time to rest and reboot. Let's take stock of what you've ALREADY done for work, friends, family, home organization, planning, charity, health, or goals in the last week, month. Credit counts!
A Depression prone brain often has a default setting that goes back to fault finding and feelings of unsafe / unworthiness. So let's look at the data, not the lies of our mind. Even small stuff counts! You open email? Get out of bed? Look nice one of the days this week? Spread kindness to an animal, child, stranger, or friend? Show up when you said you would? Choose to eat something green? Awesome! Write it down.
Then let's look at the natural blessings around. Is it a nice time of year for your favorite fruit? Weather decent? Got great hair? Have a friend you're grateful for? Small and large things we are blinded to when the depression filter kicks in are often quite substantial. But we can no longer see them as depression robs our joy and hides the goodness in our lives. I've found that when in doubt, showing up even when I don't feel like it really matters. It shifts perspective and builds momentum and pride.
Fighting back against depression is maddening, difficult, and still important. As it makes the case for why you and your contribution are worthless, show up for life anyway - even spacey / lost / fuzzy headed / less articulate / joyless / unmotivated ... IT REALLY MATTERS. Every time you do show up, give yourself major kudos.
IV nutrient therapy is the mood boosting game changer I turn too when I know my system is really off. For $200 (+$60 glutathione and selenium/zinc add ons), you can get your essential vitamin, minerals, and hydration put straight back into the vein. This bypasses any absorption issues or leaky gut your system may have. Noticeable mood boost, especially if this depressive episode was brought on by toxins or depletion. I like Dr Neetu at Dryp Studios.
Only those with these tripwire brains get how tough life is when the "why" disappears. I can not speak for your experience and welcome additional treatments that work for you. Let's figure this out together!
Hit the button below to email me if you'd like a copy of the 56 page mini book I wrote on the many spokes on the depression wheel and some things we can do about it.
GETHSH is a wellness blog dedicated to researching the variables in the formula to feeling good. All suggestions should be taken on your own free will after consulting your physician.