Thursday, 17 March 2016

Navigating The Fog: Self-Care Tips For Depressive Souls


Generally speaking, I try not to publish anything too personal here. Partly for security reasons, but mostly because twitter is where I go when I want to whine online and I try to leave this space for my criticism. But the last couple weeks have been tough for me and I'm finally on the other side of a mild depressive episode. I don't think I've ever just said it in public before, but I suffer from depression and anxiety and have on and off since I was about 14. It's not something I like talking about because mental-health stigma is real, and people can be less than compassionate about what they see as an unreasonable perpetual sadness.

For me, it's like a fog. I often don't realize it's happening until I'm in the thick of it, by which time it's too late, because I've already become useless to myself. Episodes last anywhere between a couple days to a couples weeks, but really bad ones have spanned months. I didn't graduate college on time because I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed or leave my room for much of senior year, and I flunked a class for non-attendance. This shit has consequences.

I'm not on medication because I'm afraid to ask for it, and I'm not in therapy because I can't afford it. It's something I largely deal with on my own because I have to; I have opened up to people in the past and it hasn't always gone well for me. That said, over time I've figure out a variety of coping mechanisms that help me manage. Essentially, the key is to do as much as humanly possible when you're feeling well to cut down on the daily decision making process. This way, when the fog hits, you can safely reach your hands out blindly and trust that whatever you grasp will help you keep going. The following habits haven't fixed me, but they have helped me feel less overwhelmed.