Sunday, April 1, 2007

5 Tips for Staving Off a Depression

I know that I have three days to get rid of a depression using "natural" methods before I need to take medication. So I do the following:

1. Work Outdoors. I spend as much time as possible being outdoors because for me, light is a key issue. I either begin a home improvement project like sanding or painting or I garden.

2. Eliminate the Triggers. I try to determine the triggers that are causing the depression and eliminate them. Sometimes, the triggers are situational; sometimes they're people. If it's situational, I try to identify the problem, figure out ways for eliminating it, and/or decide if I can walk away. If it's a person, I ask myself if I can forgive him/her, if we can calmly discuss the problem, and if all else fails, if I truly need this person in my life.

3. Play Music. I spend as much time as I can playing my harmonica, my ukulele, my accordion, and my autoharp. What I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm.

4. Exercise. During a depression, I try to walk or swim every day. I should be doing this on an ongoing and regular basis and I'm working on becoming more disciplined. Still, when a depression is on the horizon, I immediately begin exercising in order to stimulate my endorphins.

5. Maintain a Positive Attitude.I give myself the following mini-lecture. "If these feelings continue, you will need to start taking your medication. Don't feel bad about it because it's not a sign that your "natural" depression antidotes aren't working. It's just that right now you need something faster-acting. Continue with your natural treatments as well. If you believe that the medication and your natural remedies will work, they will!"


Anonymous said...

I really like your attitude. Yeah, it's way better to be upbeat than to let this illness destroy you!


Anonymous said...

Thanks that all really helpful and I like the attitide.., but I was just wondering, what if you were depressed and were anorexic at the same time or as a result of the other?

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Anonymous,
I'm terribly sorry but I don't know anything about anorexia. My sense is that my tips for staving off a depression are effective--just because they make sense.

They might be able to act as an adjunct to the treatment you're getting for anorexia. But you should check all this out with your doctor and/or find other blogs or sites that have positive ideas for helping you deal with it.

Sorry, I can't be of more help!


my life with bipolar disorder said...

Thanks for this great post, Susan. I am just reading back some of your posts that I missed up previously.

It's so good to read of your tips on coping with depression. They are really hopeful and positive. Good of you to be able to do all these. And your attitude is most encouraging. Thanks for sharing these.

Duane Sherry said...


I believe that we find what we search for...

You search for ways to stave off depression, and because you are unrellenting, and passionate in your search - you find them.

Beautiful stuff here Susan - I love it. This is the stuff of the great ones in this life.....

You remind me of some of the people I worked with along the way who lost their sight.

Many of these blind people went on to go incredible things with their lives, in spite of this enourmous challenge - in spite of the limitations, and the fear, and the loss.....

I think depression can feel like momentary 'blindness' in a spiritual sense....the loss of connection to self and others - a blindness of our own sense of well-being, our place....

For these reasons, I consider it to be every bit as challenging as the loss of sight, or any of the other 'senses'.....

I can truly say that I have never read anyone who suffers from these symptoms articulate an approach - a direct strategy on how to take on the challenge the way you do.

You engage it - head-on.

You are an amazing human being - the best of the spirit inside each of us.

I have a great deal to learn from you.....

Thanks for the inspiration!

Duane Sherry

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Duane,
What a dear person you are! Thanks so very much for your kind words and your validation of my approach to all this.

It's not been easy, and there are few people who recognize that. I can't imagine how difficult it is to lose one's sight, but your analogy brings tears to my eyes.

For years, I felt that my true strength was my ability to persevere despite adversity. And yet, because the depressions kept on coming--despite my best efforts to prevent them--at some point I began feeling like I'd failed.

Few people judge us on "our attitude." Most look at the end result, and many who were near and dear to me, were critical of my lack of success.

But once I started writing this blog--and I received such positive reinforcement--I realized that I do have something positive to say about all this--and it's made me feel good about myself again!

Your comments have deeply touched me, and I am very grateful!