So another step in our self care is to be gentle with ourselves. Depression is beating up on us already, and we don’t need to help it out. Give yourself permission to acknowledge that you’re feeling terrible (or bad, or whatever it is you are feeling), and then do a little thing, just one single thing, that you probably don’t feel like doing, and I PROMISE you it will help. Some of those things are:
- Take a shower.
- Eat a nutritious meal.
- Take a walk outside (even if it’s literally to the corner and back).
- Do something — throw a ball, play tug of war, give belly rubs — with a dog. Just about any activity with my dogs, even if it’s just a snuggle on the couch for a few minutes, helps me.
- Do five minutes of yoga stretching.
- Listen to a guided meditation and follow along as best as you can.
Finally, please trust me and know that this shitty, awful, overwhelming, terrible way you feel IS NOT FOREVER. It will get better. It always gets better. You are not alone in this fight, and you are OK.
In this address to the American National Alliance on Mental Illness, Wil Wheaton reflects on his experience with chronic depression. This includes accounts of living through years of anxiety until he admitted it in his thirties and did something about it. There has been a bit written about depression lately, especially with the suicide of Anthony Bourdain. Kin Lane credits Bourdain with providing him the confidence to be open about his own struggles with drugs and mental illness. I was also reminded of the suicide a few years ago of Aaron Swartz. A recent report suggested that depression is on the rise across all age groups in America. Responding to Wheaton’s post, Doug Belshaw suggests that in 2018, we need to open up about these things.