For me, the final step in staving off a depression is to be aware of how I'm feeling, to be conscious of what triggers a depression, and to pay attention to what reduces the symptoms.
Late Saturday afternoon, I met with my digital photography class to photograph Sunset Boulevard. We not only concentrated on photography, but we walked for more than a mile. I had a really fun evening. But what I realized the next morning was that it was the first time in two weeks where upon awakening, I didn't need to take an Adderall.
For me, the question was "Why?" I only could figure out two possibilities. The first was that a long walk at night staved off the depression. The second was that four hours of photography--which means concentrating on a right brain activity--made all the difference.
I won't truly be able to tell if there's any lasting value to all this until this morning when I awaken (I post before I go to sleep each night) and see if I need another Adderall.
Whether I feel better or not, the questions are: Will it be possible for me to spend more time doing photography every day? And the answer to that is "yes." The second question is whether an extended walk at night might reduce depressive symptoms. And, if it does, is it realistic to assume that I will be able to do that.
Actually, I do walk twice a day with Jack. And we probably walk for about 1/4 of a mile each time. For years, I walked around the park near my house, which is a 3.2 mile walk from door to door, but that didn't stop my depressions.
Figuring out whether night time walks work in reducing my depressions, and whether art helps will take some time. But, this is a part of my process. I believe that part of the battle is just noticing the things that make us feel better. Another part of the battle is pursuing those activities that seem to work. And the rest is keeping a mood chart as a record.
What do you do to reduce your depressive symptoms?