Are you feeling hopeless and full of despair? Do you question everything about the life you are living? Your career or your relationships? Is the prospect of taking even one step out the door just more than you can bear right now?
If you said yes to any or all of these questions you are most likely depressed. And being depressed sucks.
I know. I have lived with depression for 52 years.
Depression can be a chemical imbalance in your body but it can also be the result of something going on in your life. Either way, there are things to stop doing if you are battling depression.
#1 – Stop lying around!
The number one symptom of depression is the inability to get out of bed. The number on thing to stop doing if you are battling depression is to get out of bed.
The comfort of our cozy beds, and the escape of sleep, is hard to resist when we are struggling with depression. We are super-comfortable and in our beds we don’t have to deal with anything. And our dreams are far better than our realities.
Even so, GET OUT OF BED.
The problem with staying in bed is that ruminating on how bad you are feeling is the worst way to deal with depression. And that is what you will do during your awake times. Also, the more time you spend in bed the less energy you will have to deal with life and your emotions when you have to.
So, do what you can to make your bed a less appealing place. Take your mattress off its box spring and lean it against the wall. Remove your sheets and comforter first thing in the morning. Keep your window shades open and your room bright. What ever it takes to get you out of bed and keep you out.
#2 – Stop beating yourself up.
Being depressed is NOT YOUR FAULT.
Whether you are chemically depressed or depressed because of a life situation, your depression is not your fault. Your depression is directly caused by something out of your control.
Blaming yourself for your depression, and beating yourself up about it, will only intensify the depth and length of your sadness.
So take a moment and consider the reason why you are feeling depressed. Is it because your boyfriend broke up with you or is it something that just happens to you sometimes?
Either way, it’s not your fault. So let the blame go.
#3 – Stop drinking and doing drugs.
I know. Drinking and drugs will make your depression magically disappear. A night out with the girls, with some wine and dancing, will make you feel like 100 bucks.
And then, the next morning, you will feel more depressed than ever. Probably even worse.
Alcohol and drugs are depressants – they cause depression. So avoid them at all costs.
Try ice cream instead!
#4 – Stop isolating yourself.
Yes, the tendency to stay home, in our beds, watching Netflix and ruminating about how horrible our lives are is very tempting when we are depressed. But DON’T DO IT.
Getting out of the house and doing things is the key to managing your depression. Actually doing something, like taking a hike or going to the grocery store, will go a long way towards alleviating your depression, even if only for a bit.
Interacting with people while doing something is even better. Spending time with others, smiling, talking, sharing, is a very effective way to ease your depression. The act of smiling has actually been proven to ease sadness. Being with people will take your mind off of how sad you are which can be a huge relief.
So, after the next NetFlix episode, make a plan and get out there and do something. It doesn’t have to be anything big but do something.
Don’t let that depression get the best of you!
#5 – Stop being silent.
For many of us, being depressed is an embarrassing thing. Society has imposed such a stigma on depression that people are hesitant to share when they are feeling sad.
Share away. Talk to a friend, a relative, your doctor. Tell them how you are feeling. Don’t expect them to fix you but do let them know that you are struggling with your feelings right now.
Sharing emotions is an excellent way to manage them. Sharing allows an energetic release from the body and it gives you an opportunity to have others help and support you.
So don’t be embarrassed by how you are feeling. It is not your fault. Reach out to friends for love and support. You will be glad you did.
Depression is a horrible thing to have to manage. For me it feels like I am carrying around a 100lb gorilla on my back. Even taking one step seems like more than I can bear.
If you are looking for things to stop doing if you are battling depression, listen to me. I know that if I do take that step, if I get out of bed, take care of myself and interact with people, that 100lb gorilla will get lighter, that I will get some relief.
So do it. GET OUT OF BED NOW and get started!
Are you struggling with depression?
I know it’s really, really hard. Let me help!
Email me at email@example.com and let’s get started!
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.