Archive for March, 2013

“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death, I will protect you still. I am strong than Depression, and I am braver than Loneliness, and nothing will ever exhaust me.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

You know the articles: “Top Ten Ways to Feel Better Now! … Number one: get outside and go for a jog! Number two: volunteer with the homeless!” And so on. Unfortunately, these “genius tips” are often not useful to someone who has been diagnosed with clinical depression, like me. When I am having a “bad” day, the last thing I feel like doing is going outside and exercising. Are you kidding me?!

Well, having gotten fed up with these bogus Top Ten lists, I decided to make my own. These are coping skills (arranged in no particular order) that I have personally tried when I am feeling especially low (I’m talking, sobbing in a fetal position under my covers), and they have helped, at least for a little while. I hope that you may find some comfort in them, as well.

  1. If you can do nothing else, go to sleep. Life may seem less daunting after you’ve rested a while.
  2. If you can manage to get out of bed, change out of your pajamas and into “real” clothes, even if you don’t plan on going anywhere. Even something this small can affect how you feel.
  3. Call a close, trusted friend or family member and see how they’re doing. You don’t have to talk about yourself if you don’t want to.
  4. Make a quick mental list of five (even tiny) ways you have made the world a better place.
  5. Watch an episode of your favorite show or log onto Pinterest. Just do something to distract yourself from your depression.
  6. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and make plans to meet up in the next few days.
  7. Close your eyes and repeat positive affirmations, even silently, like, “I am beautiful, inside and out.” Or, “I am strong and capable.” Or, “My depression does not define who I am.” This may sound corny, but it has helped me immensely.
  8. Find someone you love and let them hold you.
  9. Go for a drive. This can be surprisingly soothing. You don’t have to worry about looking presentable, either, since you don’t even have to get out of the car.
  10. But, if you want, do stop and buy yourself something nice, even if it’s something very small.

Above all, remember: You are uniquely beautiful and more wonderful than you can imagine. You are loved, and what’s more, you are worthy of that love. You are worthy of being happy, and you deserve all the joy that awaits you in your life. You have made it this far; you have survived. In today’s world, that’s not such an easy task, so you must be doing something right.

I want to hear from you! What do you do on your bad days, regardless of whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with depression or another mental disorder? Please let me know in the comments!

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