And so it is the end of another year.
I gotta tell you, I’m getting tired of saying “Good Riddance” to the years past. Mom, that will not be a part of our New Year’s phone call this year; we’ve been overdoing that these past few, and I would like to enter 2016 with a different attitude.
It was a rough year all around; and for many. For me this year, it’s not goodbye 2015, but see you later. I’ve learned many things and it will not do to forget you. I shall continue learn from you; review you frequently, and let hindsight be my guide for 2016.
With that being said, I’d like to discuss depression. I’ve flirted with you many a time. I have a few short term tips for others who may have made your acquaintance, in the hope that we can bid you adieu.
In short, we’d like to leave you at the door.
To preface this post: These tips are from my own personal experiences and research ONLY. They are for short term use ONLY. If your depression is severe, lasting a month or more, or accompanied by thoughts of suicide, seek a therapist or prompt medical attention!
Tip number one. Buy a bottle of Vitamin D supplements. You can get them for about five bucks at a Family Dollar or Dollar General in your area. Far, far too many people in the US are deficient in Vitamin D and the symptoms can mimic depression: aches and pains, fatigue, poor mood. The good thing is that upping your levels can provide near instantaneous relief, so say goodbye to your bed! Seriously, give it a week. Boom.
Tip number two. Eliminate all alcohol. ALL. Alcohol is a depressant and if you are having depression, why would you add to that chemically? Give it two weeks of NO ALCOHOL. And here’s a tip inside of a tip. If you can’t just quit using alcohol on a whim, whenever you want to, as a part of a healthier you: you may have a problem. Seek professional help. Self medication is not the answer, in the long term. If you find that drinks are your go-to, however, please understand that you are not alone, and don’t feel badly. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help now and again.
Tip number three. Often depression brings a nasty friend to the party. Anxiety. What I do instead of reaching for the Xanax or Valium? A small dose of diphenhydramine. What is that, you may ask? It’s marketed as Benadryl. It’s also the ingredient in over-the-counter sleep aids, which you can also get as a generic form of Unisom at your dollar store; also for about five bucks. Take 25-50 mg, and no more than that. Also important: try it at home at first. Some people are very sensitive and it could impair your ability to drive or function. But I suspect that if you already take an anti-anxiety medication, you would be okay with trying this instead. Non-habit forming, but as with anything, if you habitually use it, it will become a habit. This is for short term use, and infrequently as something besides a prescription to take the edge off, ( I mean maybe once a week!) to stop your pounding heart and racing mind. Thoroughly read the indications and side effects that come in the package. Knowledge is power.
Tip number four. Paint only one wall. And that’s a metaphor, I don’t mean to literally paint just one wall, unless that happens to be a New Year’s resolution of yours. I mean, that when you are low, in your bed, doing the Netflix binge, get up and do one productive thing. Pick out one dish and wash it. Do one load of laundry. Leave it in the dryer, even, if you must. But get up and do ONE SMALL THING. Return one phone call, or answer one email. Just paint one wall. It may well set off a chain reaction, but if not: no worries. Paint another one tomorrow. At least you’ve done something productive and that will do wonders for your mental state in itself.
Tip number five. For a very quick pick me up: put on Katy Perry. Seriously. “Firework” does it every time. Or if you want a quick cry, try early Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb”. Please.
Tip number six. Try a ten minute meditation. On YouTube, search for meditation music and watch the serenity of the screens as you listen. No cell phone, unless you are watching on it. It’s a huge mood booster and takes no time at all.
Tip number seven. Be kind to yourself. This is a discovery mission. Eat healthy, exercise, yada yada yada…. But be kind and take one day at a time. You do have 365 of them for the year, you know.
Depression can be situational instead of a true chemical imbalance. Situational depression resolves as your situation resolves. And it’s normal, there are valid reasons– valid circumstances that happen in everyone’s life that can cause depression and anxiety.
These things I have mentioned above have been successful for me and are helpful for figuring out if you are having depression due to sad or difficult events in your life, or are having a true medical issue. If it works for you, when you are feeling better, you may consider finding a therapist for long term help, it can’t hurt. But try these tips before running to your doctor for an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. Especially the Vitamin D. I can’t express enough how much that could help and could be the entire problem to begin with.
Either way, you will find out if depression is truly an issue with you, and can proceed as necessary from there. Give it a month and keep a journal, even something as simple as marking the days on a calendar with a G for Good, B for Bad or M for Meh.
Good luck in 2016! And as I said earlier, if your depression is severe or long lasting, or accompanied by thoughts of suicide– these tips will not work. Seek medical attention immediately.