Depression – little stuff that helped

I am hopefully on the road to recovery from a long depressive episode. I have been thinking about the little things that helped give me strength to keep going. Some of them are things others did for me, which you might be able to use if you know someone who is struggling, or even think they might be. You might not be a close friend, or it might not be appropriate to talk in depth about their feelings, but you can still do little things to help. They are also nice things to do anyway and we should all make an effort to be nicer to each other.

At the end are some things you could do for yourself, which helped me, but Kylee over at selfcaremadeeasy has lots of good ideas which might suit you better.

 

Helping others:

 

  • Just knowing someone is thinking of you even when you are not with them is a great comfort. A message or text to let someone know you are thinking of them costs nothing and makes a big difference if someone is feeling isolated.
  • Little gifts of food. I have lost count of the number of times the girls at work have quietly left a piece of cake or bar of chocolate on my desk when I have been having a bad day. One of them even bravely slipped a chocolate bar into my jacket pocket and I only discovered it on my journey home.cupcake-2724786__340
  • A smile and a “good morning” works wonders. You might not get much of a response if the recipient is very depressed – but I promise it will be noticed and will help.
  • Compliments. These can work wonders if sincere and you don’t overdo it. A depressed person with poor self-image (like me) will often just brush them off or seem dismissive – but the message can still get through. Be careful, especially with people of the opposite sex. Compliment them on a something neutral like a nice piece of jewellery or a shirt or even a new haircut. Compliments specifically about someone’s body are a no-no until there is already a lot of trust between you. “ Cor – I like your bum” is (probably) unlikely to endear you to someone.
  • An invitation for a quiet coffee or lunch out. You don’t have to talk about the depression. Just a mundane chat can be a nice distraction for someone who is depressed – and they will feel less alone because of the connection. Don’t assume that because they have a partner, family or other friends that they already have this kind of support – often just talking to someone new and uninvolved in their life is less pressure for them.
  • We introverts suffer badly from over-stimulation by others. This can cause anxiety and depression if we don’t get enough recharge time. If you catch us when we are being over-stimulated (by being around people all day at work, then family all evening without a break) then we may not initially welcome the idea of spending our little quiet time with you at the moment. Please do not stop inviting us – one day we will be in a better place and will be delighted to join you. There is a BIG difference between taking recharge time and being alone when we really don’t want to be alone.
  • Hugs and physical gestures of affection. This is a bit of a minefield, especially at work. But if someone is down or upset you can always offer a hug – just ask first. My workplace is unusual as we are generally also friends so hugs are not rare, and it is great. When I was growing up I don’t think hugs had been invented yet, sadly. You might have gathered – I like hugs!

Self-care that helped me:

  • Going for massages. These are relaxing as well as providing valuable human contact. Professional massage therapists are very good at sensing if a client wants to chat or not, so don’t worry if you want to be quiet. They have also seen every variety of scar or body shape so you don’t need to feel self-conscious either. My therapist, Carol, is a friend now and she is lovely.
  • A nice meal. I find good authentic Indian food is great for lifting my spirits. The rush from the spices is as good as chocolate 🙂 and the tastes and colours are amazing.
  • Exercise. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
  • Doggies! Dogs are brilliant for lifting your mood and if you don’t have one then go visit someone elses! Local animal shelters may be willing to let you visit or take their ‘guests’ for a walk.
  • Dress for confidence. I am hopeless at this one but have made a real effort in the last few weeks and it does help. It is so tempting to wear comfort clothing that is unobtrusive and makes you invisible. A problem with making yourself invisible is it reinforces your negative self-image.
  • I find listening to loud, angry, music is very cathartic. You might prefer to listen to something more relaxing!

 

76 Comments

  1. This is a really good idea 🙂 I haven’t done that much research on depression, but what I have done mostly seems to be about how to help yourself, and while that’s useful for me when I’m going through a bad patch, I have a friend with depression who I really want to help but often I don’t know what to do! And I know that just asking her probably wouldn’t work because she’d say I don’t have to do anything. I do try to remember to text her sometimes to make sure she’s okay. I guess it’s hard when you don’t get much response; most people would just give up on that friend and assume they don’t want their help or maybe just forget about them, but I want to do what I can for her 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you. This is exactly why I wanted to write this post. Depression can be like having a thick fog wrapping your mind and it is hard for anyone on either side to get through it. When I was in a bad way in 2005/2006 we had a new starter at work and she kept on giving me a lovely smile and cheery hello each morning, despite there being days when I didn’t respond much beyond a grunt or a nod. She is now a good friend and I’m fiercely loyal to her. It was only recently that I was able to tell her that it was her greeting each day that was the only thing that got me through some days at work that year. Something that might seem little to you could be a lifesaver for your friend – please keep in touch with them and give them a hug when you see them.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you 🙂
      On the subject of doggies – I’m delighted to report that I am visiting Molly on Sunday!

      Wish you had someone to hug so please have a virtual one from me OK?

      Writing the above was nice as it reminded me of the lovely thoughtful things people had done to help me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My medications caused me lots of trouble in the past, they not only make me totally unable to do anything, but it also feels like I could just cry and cry for weeks sometimes. Lack of energy, interest, unwillingness to eat or even get up. That was terrible, plus, I know for sure it is not normal (hence I wrote myself some of the depression evaluation questionnaires, have forgotten for which clinical trial that was).
    The only things that work for me is art: painting and drawing and garden; I do give it all away to the soil and dealing with plants and caring for them brings a lot of joy: there is a new bloom every day, there is a new sprout, a few ripe vegetables, some new plant does well, etc. It never ends, even in winter because I have large numbers of room plants.
    You could probably spend more time in the nature if it’s not far.
    Yes, I also don’t give anything about what somebody might think, like or dislike. Just take it easy because you are unique and everything you need is WITHIN YOU already.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Medication hits different people different ways. Your description sounds like me before I was on medication. Citalopram has made a huge difference. My inability to sleep these last two weeks bothers me a bit but that is work stress and not (yet) a decline into depression again. I need to work on some issues before coming off medication again.
      As you will gather from this blog – art and gardening are my great escapes too, for the same reasons as you Inese. One reason I grow a lot of South African bulbs is that they start to grow in Autumn so it is like I have a second spring to help me cope when the nights are getting longer.

      Like

  3. Thanks Darren for sharing this. I have a friend who is going through depression and as much as I try to be there for her I don’t really know what I can do more to help her get through it. This post comes in such a good time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I really felt those words! I’m also (hopefully) recovering from a rather harsh depression phase and I appreciate very similar things! Thanks for sharing💛

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Love this post. It’s great to hear that you are on the road to recovery and I hope that you continue to feel better. Thank you so much for sharing these tips for people who are experiencing depression and for those around them. This is insightful advice 🙂

    As an introvert, I can relate to wanting to be invited to events, even if I don’t want to go to them. There is such a big difference between recharge time and being alone when I don’t want to be alone!

    Hope you have a good week 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Sophie. Thanks to the connections I have made in the blogging community recently my recovery has been even faster. I am actually approaching ‘happy’ at the moment.
      I’m glad you agree about the introversion thing. People don’t often understand that if you decline an invitation it does not mean that you never want to be invited or that you are anti-social. It doesn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading this post definitely made me feel happy, especially the smiles &hugs part 😉 You are so right about listening to loud music. I’ve quit 3 years ago and only now I feel I’ve become more sensitive. Like my 6th sense is literally talking to me (not that I hear voices haha). I wrote a post regarding the benefits of not watching TV which is also one of the best things I’ve done to help my self development. (You can see it on my blog if you wish). Thank you for sharing such an inspiring tips. Reading posts like this makes me believe we bloggers are all around the world and at the same time so close as a family. Good Luck to all. :-)💞

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for this Sylvia 🙂
      Hugs are great!
      I still listen to a lot of loud music as it also drowns out my tinnitus (which is not due to damage from loud music before you suggest it!). Hole’s ‘Live Through This’ is my favourite angry, cathartic album.
      We only have a TV to watch movies, DVD box sets and (at the moment) Great British Bake Off. I used to watch a lot of TV but it eats into time I would rather use for other things. Plus, much of it is dross that I’m better off without. I will read your post for sure.
      In the blogger community I have met so many wonderful people in the last few weeks so I agree 100% with what you say.
      Very best wishes, Darren.

      Like

  7. About music, indeed, I find progressive rocks quite imaginative that they have those ‘soothing effects’ even when telling about something bad—like “Inside and Out” by Genesis, for instance. 🙂 Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly, she isn’t mine but we borrow her from my wife’s employers and she goes home wednesday. I was hoping to take some pictures of her at the beach yesterday but the weather was awful! However, I can certainly try to put something together about our borrowed dog if you like?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. HI, so glad that you are doing well. Exercise is my go to for a mood enhancer, sometimes I may overdo it and then end up pretty sore! But, there is nothing better, for me, than being outside and moving around 🙂 Hope you stay on the positive side of the road!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that you posted this. Someone else posted something similar that I read recently too, and I really think that these tips cannot be shared enough. You never know who might need it that day, or who may stumble across your blog. I myself have depression that I manage daily, and I use or have used many of the things you’ve listed. I’ve used acupuncture more regularly than professional massages, but I love those too! Music I also agree can do WONDERS, but I really love to turn on stuff that makes me want to dance! Like The Wobble!

    Like

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I have a friend suffering from depression and I think your experiences are very helpful. I am always very insecure if my friend will take compliments seriously or if I annoy her with text messages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Persevere is my advice. No matter how it seems to be received I am pretty sure that when they feel better they will always think of you as the person who didn’t give up on them. Thank you for visiting😀.

      Like

  11. As a fellow sufferer of periodic depression, I share the one thing I can remember and hang on to, to wit: Do for yourself.
    This doesn’t mean “take care of yourself or you’re no good to others”, and it doesn’t mean make up some extravagant distraction that (especially non-depressive people will think) will “cheer you up”, like something you wouldn’t normally do, like go get a pedicure or go skydiving or something.
    It means “don’t forget to do some ordinary things that YOU like to do”.
    I find that when I get into a low spell, I spend great amounts of time and energy serving duties.
    Responsibilities at home and work, taking care of others, tackling difficult stuff, etc.
    Usually, if I stop to take measure, I find I feel overwhelmed, overtaxed, and overburdened, and start thinking it would be selfish to “punch out” for a little while and do what I like to do.
    If I “forget”, and don’t take the time to do the things that define MY life; walks with the dog, quietude, photography, writing, visiting in the blogosphere, it’s more difficult and takes longer to “climb out”.

    Hope it helps.

    Seek peace,

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on Alice’s back garden and commented:
    I would love to share this post by a fellow sufferer of depression with more people here. Hopefully more and more people would find it highly inspiring just as I do!
    In fact, the advice given in this post is the best I’ve read so far. Thanks for sharing it with us, Darren!
    It’s an eye-opener when I arrived at the part where he explained about how introverts suffer from over-stimulation. There is definitely more work for me to reflect on this so that I can understand better my sufferings.
    Thanks again, Darren! Hug

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So happy to meet you here, mate 🙂 Well, I guess people like us might be just more prone to depression. But it’s alright for the moment, because healing is on the way and we can always try to live with depression. Sure I would love to keep in touch with you here! Big hug, Alice

        Liked by 1 person

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