Lazy or depressed?
The question not asked enough.
Often than not, people that are depressed get instantly labeled as lazy.
But what's frequently the case is those people who are misjudged are truly suffering mentally without the proper tools to assist in coping with depression.
I should know as I've lived with it for most of my life, the better part of the last 20 years.
I understand the foggy, aloof state of mind. And the constant feeling like you have a tornado where a brain should be. I get why the mundane tasks become heavy burdens that seem inconceivable to accomplish.
At each stage of my depression, I thought It couldn't get any lower. But somehow, I outdid myself and achieved new levels of being depressed. I'm talking staying in bed all day and watching TV to keep my mind occupied while distantly wondering when the last time I showered.
Yeah, that depressed.
So, when I say I know what it feels like to be in a place so low you can't do anything, including brushing your teeth, I mean it.
Fortunately, I've clawed my way out of the pits of despair and picked up some habits along the way that aide in coping with depression, which I'm sharing with you here.
Get Out of Bed
When I'm depressed, the best feeling in the world is being chained to the bed. It's not that I'm lazy; it's that I need some comfort and the best place to get it is from the confines of my room. Set me up with a TV, and I'm all set to be the ultimate lethargic chick for the next few weeks days.
But here's why that's a problem. It's re-enforcing bad habits. One being that lying in bed all day confuses the brain on what the bed is for. Well, my friends, let me break it to you.
The bed is for sleep.
And that's it.
Well, sex too, but that's a different topic.
When you don't get out of bed, the brain doesn't associate it with sleep, so you not only have a depression problem on your hands, you have an insomnia problem too. So, the simple solution here is, get out of bed. Move to the couch if you need to, but just stay out of bed.
A good shower goes a long way, especially when you haven't had one in a while. (Just being honest here). It sets you up to get ready for your day and brings you one step closer to feeling like an actual human being.
That's why when you're depressed, I recommend you move from the bed to the shower and do it daily.
I know it can be challenging at times, but it's incredible what it can do for your psyche. The hot water dripping down your back, making you come alive, the fresh pair of clothes is a welcomed transition from the ones you were wearing for two days in a row. You could almost feel like you can tackle anything after taking steps to refresh. Almost. Which brings me to the next thing.
Brush Your Teeth
Yes, pick up the toothbrush and get to work on those teeth. And floss while you're at it. Just like a nice long shower, brushing your teeth does wonders for making you feel like you are a semblance of a living breathing species. You're allowing your mind to feel like you've accomplished something. And you have. You've just assembled yourself into a proper individual.
Go For A Walk
Now that we have you showered and dressed, with fresh breath, take a nice walk. As I've talked about in my previous post, getting out and going for a walk exposes you to sunlight, which in turn boosts your endorphins – You know, that happy chemical in the body. You'll need plenty of it to get you out of your depressed state, so take a five to ten-minute walk around the block a day. And then maybe, you'll feel okay.
After you've gone around the corner for a quick walk, write out your feelings in a journal. Yes, I can attest, it's another thing you won't feel like doing. But zeroing in on your emotions and why you may feel the way you do will not only help you be more mindful but can allow you to pinpoint exactly what may have spun you into a depressive state.
Get Some Help
Listen, as someone who's gone through all the steps above and failed quite miserably, I know when to throw in the towel and get help. For me, that assistance has come in the form of what I like to call my professional mental health heroes – my psychologist and psychiatrist. Because well, I'm bipolar, and my wellbeing takes a team. It doesn't necessarily have to have to take a mini-village for you, but if you find yourself unable to complete simple tasks, try talking to someone about how you're feeling. That someone can come in the form of a friend or therapist. But make sure you do just that – Talk.
Schedule Days To Just Relax
Yes, after all the things you will be struggling to do above, I'm taking an about-face to tell you to take it easy.
Coping with depression isn't a trivial thing. After all, you're not depressed because you aren't doing enough; you're depressed because it's all too much.
Your brain is in overdrive from continually having to fan the flames of this thing called life, and now it's running on fumes. In other words, your brain is tired, rundown, and needs a break.
So, give it what it so badly desires. Take a day or two to lay around. Forget the shower (for not too long though) and catch up on that show.
And if you find it hard to get back up, try a little productive procrastination. It's when you aim for the low hanging fruit; the easiest thing to do on your list that takes the least mental energy. Start with the shower, then move on to the walk around the block. Constantly work your way to more challenging tasks until you're back to full throttle.
What ways do you try coping with depression? Sound off in the comments below!