Has your life gotten to that place where you are feeling depressed and anxious all the time?
Are you feeling hopeless and full of dread and worried about what the future will hold?
If you are, I am so sorry. Being depressed and hopeless is a horrible place to be!
Fortunately, there are things you can do to stop feeling anxious and depressed all the time.
#1 – Take a good look at your life.
There are two kinds of depression, situational and chemical. They have similar symptoms but different causes. Knowing what kind of depression you have is the first step to dealing with it.
Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad, like the death of a parent or a divorce or the loss of a job, you can become situationally depressed. This kind of depression usually has a beginning, caused by a specific event, and an end, and is often treated differently from chemical depression.
Chemical depression is the result your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to depression. You are most often born with chemical depression but it can also by caused by a traumatic life event.
Chemical depression can happen to you even if your life is going great.
So, ask yourself some questions about what your life looks like these days to help you figure out what kind of depression you might have.
If you think you have situational depression, read on. If you think you have chemical depression here is an article for you to read to learn more about next steps.
#2 – Do things that make you feel good.
When we are feeling depressed and anxious all of the time, our inclination is to collapse into our life. We stay in bed, we don’t shower or eat well and cut off contact with those we love.
Let me tell you: if you are feeling depressed and anxious, collapsing is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. Instead it is important to do things that make you feel good.
For me, I keep a list of things to do when I am feeling depressed. First off: take a long, hard walk (the endorphins are great for my depression). Also, do yoga. Watch The Walking Dead. Take a bath. Go to the movies. Have sex. Eat Pad Thai. When I am depressed I do one, or all, of those things and my depression is often lifted.
So, what makes you happy? Write out a list, when you aren’t depressed, of what makes you happy so that when you are depressed you are ready.
#3 – Keep your mind busy.
Unfortunately, when we are feeling depressed and anxious, our worst enemy is that brain of ours.
While we are lying on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves, our brain is actively buying into it all.
You are a loser, it says. You have no friends. You aren’t good at anything. You will never find love. You suck at your job. And on and on.
And, chances are, that none of those things are true. That you are not a loser, you have plenty of friends, you are talented, love is out there and your boss thinks you are doing great. But your brain, when you are depressed, just doesn’t go there.
It is really important, when you are feeling depressed and anxious, to keep your brain busy. Yoga is a really good way to do this – you are so busy trying to figure out the damn pose that you don’t have a chance to think about anything. It also has the side benefit of toning your body and making you feel strong, which can be helpful.
Other options for keeping your mind quiet are: reading, going to a movie, hanging out with friends, working. Meditation is also an option but I just get more depressed when I try, and fail, to meditate. If you can do it, go for it!
What do you like to do that will help you quiet that mind of yours, the mind that is feeding into those feelings that are bringing you down? Figure it out and do it!
#4 – Choose your playmates carefully.
One of the most important things to manage when we are depressed and anxious is our environment. Your bed and your pjs might feel like the right thing to do but you know now they are not.
The same attention needs to be paid to who you spend time with when you are feeling depressed and anxious. If there are people in your life who bring you down then avoiding them when you aren’t doing well is very important.
My mother was very difficult to spend time with when I was depressed. She was always trying to talk me out of my depression by pretending that it didn’t exist or telling me to just snap out of it. Both of those things just made me feel worse. So, I avoided her when I wasn’t doing well. It was best for both of us.
Consider who you shouldn’t spend time with when you are depressed and avoid them. On the same note, think about who would be a good person to be with and make a date with them right now!
#5 – Talk to your PCP.
If everything else fails and still you find yourself feeling depressed and anxious all of the time, then it’s time to call your primary care doctor.
Feeling consistently depressed and anxious might indicate some serious health problems and getting a complete check-up from your doctor could be really important.
Your doctor can take a look at all aspects of your life and help you come up with a plan for managing your depression and anxiety so that they don’t get worse. Which they will do if they are left untreated and allowed to persist.
Remember, your doctor won’t judge. There are lots of people who feel just like you do every day and that’s what doctors are there for – to help us all.
If you are feeling depressed and anxious all of the time it’s important that you do something about it and do something about it now!
Do a quick assessment of your life and try to figure out what kind of depression you might have. Take care of yourself, make yourself happy, keep your brain busy, control who you spend time with and, if necessary, see your doctor.
Depression and anxiety can go away on their own if properly managed but will get worse if left untreated. So, try the things that I recommended above but always pay attention to how you are doing. If you are getting worse and not better, get help!
You can do it!
Is anxiety and depression making a mess of your life?
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.