The saying goes: “You learn something new every day.” Well, it’s been a lot of days and I am running out of “facts I didn’t already know.” I am constantly reminded how much “useless knowledge” I have. Some have to do with functioning with depression, self-care, and I added a few that I find essential to know in life.
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Some tips to make functioning with depression easier
Since this is my article, and I can do whatever the fuck I want, I am not going to load this list up with the usual essentials that we are bombarded with when we talk about functioning with depression. Water — Exercise — Therapy/Medication — Food Intake — Self-Care … You get it. Let’s move on to the tips that are from people who struggle with depression day in and day out.
- Drink water and get some sunlight. You’re basically a house plant with more complicated emotions.
- We are all a little broken but the last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.
- Thank your arms for always being by your side, your legs for always supporting you, and your fingers because you can always count on them. Also, your hips for not lying. (And if you don’t have or can’t use some of these body parts, thank your mobility aids for supporting you instead.)
- “You can do it, put your back into it.” — Ice Cube
- Laughing can do amazing wonders. MY TIP: mess around with funny filters on a photo app.
- Let your laundry sit in the dryer for an hour after it’s done. It will have stuff to talk about in therapy.
- When you get an urge to indulge, buy yourself the most comfortable blanket, a cozy-smelling candle, or a pair of comfortable shoes. You spend most of your life in shoes and in your bed. Invest in them.
- ALWAYS travel with an extra pair of clothes, a travel bag with toiletries, and a junk cell phone. (Turn it off and keep it in your glove box. You don’t need a plan or service provider, 911 will always dial out.)
- Never lend something you can’t afford to lose.
- Return everything you borrow.
- If you find yourself to be the “smartest” person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
- Do something nice without getting caught.
- When it comes to exercise, just remember that every day is leg day when you are running from your problems.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes,1 minute, even 15 seconds, and start to do the thing you need to be doing. When the timer is up you can either be done or keep going for another X amount of time.
- When you absolutely need to wake up (for work, school, appointment) try setting your alarm/phone on the other side of the room. Now you have to get out of bed.
- Go ahead and just buy the paper plates. I keep a stack of them for when I am going through one of my funks. I won’t eat if I also have to clean up the dishes.
- Always keep face towelettes and dry shampoo in your bathroom. Helps on those days when you literally can’t shower.
- Go to Kroger Bakery and order a cake. Get them to write “Fuck you, I’m eating this by myself.”
- Get in the habit of saying “I won’t be available.” Anything after that is none of their business.
- Keep your car keys next to you at night. So many times I would get paranoid about someone trying to break in, and setting off my car alarm made me feel safer.
- Tell yourself that the person you are on the phone with (customer service, a business, scheduling an appointment) doesn’t want to be talking on the phone either. What worked for me: I would call and say: “Hello, my name is Kelly, I am Alexis’ assistant, she needs to …“ and from there you can provide any information they need from you.
- That little insecurity (lies) you have, that you think everyone notices, stop it! Those people have insecurities of their own that they are worried about.
If being hard on yourself worked, it would have worked by now
Some of the best feelings in the world
- Sleeping in late
- First swim of the summer
- Hearing people laugh at your jokes
- Fresh bed sheets after a fresh shower
- Shaving with a new razor
- Ridiculously long hugs (if you’re a hugger)
- Getting an unexpected gift
- Planning for a vacation
- Changing out of street clothes into sweats
- When a pet follows you to another room
- Being told you smell nice
- Winning an argument
- When someone is actually interested in what you have to say
- Your coffee is perfect
- Making a baby laugh
Solid ass life advice
- NEVER EVER go with a robber or kidnapper. Don’t get in the car or drive if they tell you to. The likelihood of the situation becoming 1,000X worse increases exponentially. Fight. Scratch that fucker, get their DNA under your nails.
- NEVER EVER just hand over your wallet/purse/phone to a robber, or fight them to keep it. Throw it far from you. It’s probable that they want your money more than anything else.
- If you ever get caught accidentally sending a screenshot of a conversation back to that person, play it off by asking, “What did you mean when you said this?” It’s worth a try.
- The first thought that goes through your mind is what you’ve been conditioned to think. What you think next defines who you are. (example: “ew, why would she wear that?” into “ya know, she can rock that shit, you go girl!”)
- When making a To-Do list, add silly stuff that you usually wouldn’t write a reminder for. Get dressed ✔, brush teeth ✔, take out garbage, do dishes, take your floofer for a walk.✔
- Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. But remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
- Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time.
- If you’re ever scared you’re not a good person, remember bad people don’t care about being better.
- Your purpose in life is not to love yourself but to love being yourself.
- If you want to surround yourself with better people, find: the inspired, the passionate, the motivated, the grateful, and the open-minded.
- There are some times when saying “thank you” should replace “I’m sorry.” (Instead of “I’m sorry I am late,” say “thank you for waiting on me.”)
- It’s OK to do what you need to in order to cope. I struggle with sensory issues. I put on gloves before I do a sink full of dishes, I have to wear headphones while running the vacuum, and I definitely find myself in extreme discomfort when I am somewhere that has too many sounds going on,(such as TV and radio on while someone is talking).
- Rather than listening to the voice in your head that is screaming, “I hate this; I don’t want to do this!” think about why it is a good thing to do.
- Don’t think about results and how well you think you’ll do, as this could raise your feelings of anxiety and fear. Just think about “right now” and the first thing you can do.
- Just do a little bit for now — then give yourself a proper break — then go back and do some more.
Good habits to improve your functioning with depression
Good habits for functioning with depression vary by person, as everyone is different. Some habits you already have, and some you might be too hesitant to try, or you just think “Oh, that won’t help.” But what do you have to lose when you are left with nothing from the failed habits you had before?
- Just be kind — Maybe don’t go out of your way to make your kindness noticed, a simple smile to the person you happen to notice looking your way is enough.
- Love yourself — I have laughed at this advice my whole life. How do I love myself when all I know is how much I am hated? Functioning with depression is a struggle because of the negative messages about ourselves that fill our heads. It took a lot of lonely days and nights, but now, I am kind of my best friend. I love laughing at myself and I am my own best friend.
- Put your needs first — It sounds so repetitive to be told to put yourself first. I started out very slow with this. Saying “no” took a fuck ton of work, so I let myself say “yes” to things and allow myself to take care of a need of my own first. I have never had a friend get upset when I gave them my reasoning for saying “no.” If anyone believes that their needs trump yours, they can fuck right off.
- Indulge in your senses — When I am enduring the torture of my mental funks, I throw on my favorite playlist, light some candles, munch on my favorite sweet/salty snack, smother my puppy in kisses and belly rubs, and have a mini fashion show with full hair and make-up. He gives me a 10/10 every time. Now that is what I call a confidence boost!
- Talk behind their back — Seriously, do it. It is the best advice I have been given. But not in the way you may think. I can despise a human to the core, but whenever they aren’t around, and I hear them being talked about… “Are you talking about so-and-so? They are so nice! I love their style,” (or anything about their look says that you like the object, not the person). Yes, sneaky. I’m extra so tone it down to your liking or sometimes better yet shut your mouth. I respect the ones that talk good about someone, it says a lot about them.
The small things that can help you function with depression
- There are positive triggers too. I make it a habit to find something (one thing) in the checkout lane while the person in front of me is taking their sweet time. I used to get so antsy and uneasy after being in the store for hours. Then someone comes up behind me and now I am trapped. Fuck. I have an overflowing cart so if the person behind me is only carrying a couple of things, I will not take no for an answer and have them go in front of me. I organize everything on the belt and leave the bar codes of the large items facing up and visible. My ID is sitting on top of whatever case of beer I got.
- If the cashier has a name tag, use it! You will see a smile so pure that it will make your day, I promise.
My favorite small things in the checkout lane:
- Chapstick — I can’t find my car chapstick because I needed it when I couldn’t find my purse chapstick because I left that one on my nightstand.
- Gum — I’ll switch between wintergreen and spearmint. It always fascinates me how the design and packaging of gum haven’t had a glow-up.
- Car air fresheners — I rely on my sense of smell for serotonin. It’s amazing how surrounding yourself with good smells makes functioning with depression easier. I prefer the vent clip-on ones and put them on my defrost vents. The Yankee Candle hanging ones smell amazing — for about 3 days. I recently heard from a genius to get a small container with a lid and fill it with fabric softener. I’m still a sucker for the trees, now that I know how to use them. Read the package!
- A magazine — This was one of my hidden addictions. I will have to search for some pictures, but about 650 magazines (Cosmo, Elle, Vogue, Glamour…) and 1000+ word and puzzle books. If you do purchase a magazine, always grab the one in the back since the bored people waiting usually grab the first one and flip through it bending the whole binding. I’ve seen shitty people rip single pages out and put them back. Why not just take a picture of the article you want?!
- Ice water — My Kroger, Meijer, and Target have coolers in the checkout lane. Let me tell you, I am not going to pick a water over the splurge of choices there are! But that’s the point
- Tide stain pen — This is usually my pick if I am in a pinch (don’t have a long wait) those are always in stock. They have been lifesavers so it belongs on this list.
- Gift card — Even if it is only $5, it saves me when I need a last-minute gift or when I am short on cash. I prefer to get the 3 packs of $25 cards for Amazon, Apple store, Google Play, but occasionally get the custom ones.
- Sweets — I am not a fan of buying bags of chocolate bars (Snickers, Reese’s PB cups) so the king size at the checkout lanes are perfect for my sudden cravings
Do you have tips for functioning with depression?
Let us know in the comments.