Surviving Life with Depression: How I Manage

There is such a stigma associated with depression or any type of mental health issue. I’m always wary about talking about my depression because I almost feel ashamed of myself. For some reason I feel like it’s my fault I feel this way. But I know better.

In an effort to learn to love myself and be okay with the person I’ve become, I’m going to be honest with myself and embrace everything that makes me me. Yes, I have major depressive disorder. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since I was 15, but I wasn’t clinically diagnosed until I was 23. I had always made excuses for it, thinking it was me being a teenager or me just being too weak and lazy to deal with life. But it got to be too much and I finally got help for it.

I’ve had therapy, take medication, and just learned how to live with it. I hope one day to become strong enough to overcome it. I know a big part of this will be to develop the courage to live the life I want.

I also believe that what I choose to put into my body has an effect on my mental health, which is one of the reasons why I’m working on becoming healthier person. I believe a good healthy diet can be a great antidepressant.

I don’t know if my depression is something that will ever completely go away. The brain is still such a mystery and there’s still so much we don’t know.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to manage my depression using various tips. There are still tough days where I just want to stay in bed and can’t muster up any energy to do anything productive. But I’ve realized there are things I can do to make the impact of it not so intense.

  1. Feel through your emotions. I realize that sometimes I try to suppress my emotions because I never learned how to deal with pain in a normal way. But I eventually learned that it’s okay to feel pain and it’s a totally normal part of life. It’s also okay to not be happy all the time. You can feel whatever way you want. We all need to learn how to manage our feelings in a normal, non-destructive way.
  2. Change your perspective. Sometimes a shocking eye opener can really kick me out of my funk. Things could always be so much worse. That isn’t to minimize your depression, but sometimes the distraction can help. It may also give you the push you need to do something productive.
  3. Watch an inspiring documentary. Watching other people overcome hardships is always a mood lifter for me. One of my favorite documentaries is Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. There was an extremely overweight trucker with an autoimmune condition who overcame all odds; the lifestyle changes he made caused his disease to go into remission. Inspiring stuff.
  4. Run or lift. I know that when you’re in an especially depressed state, exercise is the absolute last thing you want to do. But if you are able to get over the hump and get some blood pumping, the short distraction can be helpful. And if you go at it hard enough to get the endorphins to kick in, then more power to you! I always feel better after a work out, if I can just get myself to go!
  5. Take a mental health day. Depression is an actual medical condition. Sick days are abused, but if you can barely crawl out of bed, it might be a good idea to take a day for your mental state. Go back to work when you can be productive.
  6. Write it out. Journaling (or blogging) is a great outlet if that’s your thing. It can be very therapeutic.
  7. Embrace your creative side. One of my hobbies is painting. If I’m in a mood, it feels good to touch a brush to paper and just let go. I also like to enjoy a glass of wine while I’m at it.
  8. Use visualization techniques. I first learned about this after reading The Secret. It actually does help. If you visualize what you want to happen, it can have a very positive effect on your mental state.
  9. Don’t be hard on yourself. It seems that whenever I’m depressed, I seem to be the meanest to myself. But its crucial to be kindest to yourself at this point. Comfort yourself as if you were comforting your best friend.
  10. Be grateful. Even if you feel shitty, just tell yourself what you are thankful for in your life. Just repeat it over and over.
  11. Get outside. Sometimes just seeing the beauty of nature can help soften the rough edges of life. It’s also good for you to get some vitamin D. I like to take a walk in a quiet neighborhood and look at houses to see what I like and don’t like. It’s actually very calming and kind of fun.
  12. Eat healthy. I do notice that when I’m eating refined carbs and processed food, I am more likely to have episodes. As opposed to when I eat healthy, my mood tends to be more stable.
  13. Get out of your comfort zone. One of my issues is that it’s really hard for me to want to do anything. My interest level is just nonexistent. But if I make myself do it anyway, often times I’m glad I did it. Plus it’s always great to experience new things and make new memories.
  14. Laugh your ass off. You ever feel so depressed that you think the feeling will never go away? That is until you see a really funny or cute video on FB or YouTube, and you just burst out laughing? I dare you not to laugh! Those are the best laughs, when you least expect to.
  15. Just remember, no matter how you feel, it will pass. I try to remember that whenever I’m feeling particularly horrible – it’s never a permanent thing and if I just wait it out, it will get better.

 

I have been clinically diagnosed with major depressive disorder and manage it everyday using the above tips. I am not a licensed mental health professional. I am only sharing the things that have helped me, and maybe will help others. But I realize what works for me does not work for everyone.

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Living Low Carb: Week 2 Update

It’s been two weeks since I started a low carb diet regimen as part of my health challenge. I’m still alive and I haven’t gone crazy.

I can say that I think that my mood has been okay, but you may want to ask my husband. He would know better…

So how am I still doing it?

Aside from blogging weekly updates, I’m keeping a food journal on my google drive. I’m also doing this health challenge in solidarity with my best friends, and we are tracking our progress on a shared google sheets file. We keep each other motivated and provide each other support. We’ve also designated Fridays as our weekly weigh-in. We’re all doing our own thing, but our end goal is the same: to lose weight and be healthier.

Today is Friday, so I weighed myself this morning; I didn’t change much lb-wise since last week. It went down like .2 lbs. But I did lose an inch around my hips and waist. Yay!

I wore jeans to work today and had to keep pulling them up. So I do feel slimmer and it’s not just a hallucination. Awesome.

I haven’t been working out as hard as I’d like, but I’m trying to focus more on staying consistent instead of high intensity. I don’t want to overdo it and get discouraged. One of the reasons I give up easily when starting a diet and exercise regimen is that I get too extreme in the beginning; it’s just not sustainable. So I’ve been either going for walks with the hubs, or going to the gym to do light strength training and cardio. I document my activity, too. Go me.

Tonight, I kind of had a cheat meal… Went out for Ethiopian food.

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OMG. It was so worth it.

Overall, Ethiopian food is actually pretty healthy, but I didn’t know much about the nutritional value of the injera, which is basically the bread that acts as a utensil and platter for all the food. I looked it up, and teff flour, which is used in injera, is actually very high in protein and chock full of vitamins and minerals. Teff is gluten-free; it’s actually made from a type of grass instead of wheat. Unfortunately, the injera made here instead of Ethiopia tends to have some wheat in it, but I’m not going to freak out about it. I figure the healthiness of teff kind of balances it out.

But anyways, I’ll go back to low carbing it, now that I’ve had my fix.

I’ve done this low carb eating before, but never with this much focus and accountability. One of my goals this time is to identify and correct the mistakes I’ve made in the past that contributed to me gaining the weight back.

To succeed once and for all, I am going to think about things I’ve learned each week, including better tips to stay with it.

The 5 things I’ve learned this week:

  1. Salt is important when going low carb. It’s normal to feel tired when starting a low carb diet, but I was still tired this week, so I did some research. What I didn’t realize was that I probably wasn’t getting enough salt in my diet. Apparently all that peeing I was doing was flushing out all the salt in my system. Too much sodium is bad, but not enough isn’t good either.
  2. Small successes are just as important as big ones. I have to remember to celebrate the small successes, too. A coworker today told me that I looked like I was losing weight and that I looked good. That’s a win! All this work so far is paying off!
  3. Eating low carb is also a money saver. To stay compliant, I’ve been bringing my lunch a lot. So I’m actually saving money. Another win. This diet is actually costing me less. Not just because of bringing lunch to work, but also that I’m not as hungry as often. My cravings are in check.
  4. I don’t need ketchup, which is full of sugar, by the way. Normally, I like to add ketchup to burgers or chicken. But apparently I love mustard, which I discovered this week. I always liked it okay, but maybe the low sugar on this diet has adjusted my taste buds. I made some bunless cheeseburgers and used mustard as the condiment. De-lish.
  5. Always have frozen vegetables and protein available. That way I can’t make any excuses to not eat healthy. I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity of food. Simply roasting and stir frying some protein and veggies with a little seasoning makes this diet easier to stick to.

So there you have it. Week 2 down and owned.

That’s the update for this week.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to like, comment and provide feedback! Would love the support! 😊

 

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