Some days I can and some days I can’t. Depression and anxiety have been a life long struggle of mine, and it hasn’t been until the last few years that I recognized what it was. I am writing this today because I want to give my 7 tips on how to actively fight depression and anxiety knowing some of you struggle as well and it’s not pretty. I realize that I might be the last person you would think of to empathize with you on those dark and depressing days. But I do and your soul care is important to me.
Depression feels like a dark hole you can’t climb out of on most days. Like you are at the bottom, and every side is slippery so you can’t gain any traction to climb and get out. Anxiety feels like there is no air to breathe and as if the walls are closing in on you. Its ‘fight or flight’ but your body doesn’t know which one to choose. These episodes are exhausting, debilitating and physically hard.
I am on medication now after my first panic attack three years ago in the middle of a Target aisle. I can’t think of anything that spurred it on, but it happened, and honestly, I am glad it did. Once I was able to get on my meds, I finally felt what “normal” was suppose to feel like; I felt human. Before getting on them, I didn’t realize that a constant surge of anxiety wasn’t healthy. I didn’t realize that the constant anguish of feeling half glass empty was possible not to feel all of the time and that it wasn’t what God’s best was for me. Yes, I do happen to be a Christian and a genuine lover of Jesus. I believe he wants more for me. And for you too.
I wanted to give you some tips on what I do when I feel my depression and anxiety coming on, and my hope is that perhaps we can battle this out together in some way.
6 Tips on Battling Depression and Anxiety
Note, I am not a professional with depression and anxiety; this is simply me being real with you all and telling you the things that significantly help me when I am having an episode.
1) Recognize: My anxiety and depression without meds is usually always there. But with medication, I feel it differently. It’s almost like a storm is brewing inside and I can either let it take me out to sea, or take me back to dry land. So the first thing I do is recognize what is happening and what is going on. I try to remind myself that this is a chemical imbalance and that whatever the situation is that is driving my body to react so violently is probably not as big of an issue as it seems.
For example: Calling someone on the phone or texting someone back makes my body go into panic mode. This physical reaction is not how I want to live, and my body doesn’t need to react this way. So, I tell myself exactly what’s going on in a logical way so that I stay on top of the emotions instead of under them. I refuse to be controlled and not live because of this condition.
2) Meditate/Pray: For myself, I start to pray. I pray scriptures over myself like Phil. 4:6-7 and dive into encouraging words that will lift my spirit instead of drowned it. Like, I am not going to hop onto Facebook and start scrolling the millions of sad stories. I am going to go straight to Jesus. With that said, if you aren’t a Christian, then meditate on something positive that will lift your mind out of the despair. Counteract what your mind and body are saying with positive reinforcement. You need to take control instead of letting depression and anxiety control you.
3) Breathe and Listen: Do Yoga. Take some deep breaths and while you are breathing in and out, remember the positive things you were reading. Listen to positive and inspiring music and avoid anything that feeds the fire of depression.
4) Tell a friend: You need to tell someone who is supportive of you. Not because you are trying to be a co-dependent and needy friend, but because you need someone to help you get out of the dark space you are in before it goes any further. Please note that I said not to be co-dependent. This person will not be able to save you, but they can help by just being aware and perhaps directing you to go back to your Dr. or to see things from a different perspective.
I am lucky because my husband is the most supportive person when it comes to my anxiety and depression. He is actively supportive and encouraging because he doesn’t want me to stay there either. It’s miserable to live with someone who suffers from these things. It’s miserable for the person who suffers from it and for anyone else in proximity.
5) Get Out: In my opinion, the worst thing you can do if you consider yourself to be anxious and depressed, is to sit at home and reflect on your anxiety and depression. Do something fun that you enjoy. Serve someone else by making them food or even just asking them how they are doing. Go help out at a homeless shelter. Do anything to get out and to not seep deeper into your anxiety and depression hole. If I let my condition take me too far, I will stay at home for weeks on end and hibernate all the while not wanting to talk to a single soul. So, if you are like me and you start to feel an episode coming on, get out.
6) Work Out: I hate working out. Let me start with that. It is one of my least favorite things in the world to do. I am excellent at making excuses…” oh I can’t go, the dog needs to eat” or “my child needs to take a nap.”
But the truth is, working out releases endorphins that are GOOD for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. So, even if working out isn’t your thing. Do it anyways. Don’t let this condition control you. You need to control it.
7) Those Oils: I love them. There is something about difusing oils in my home that helps my mind and body to relax. I love invigorating scents like citris and calming ones like Lavender. I will often mix those two together and do my breathing/listening/praying together. It’s relaxing, and it calms my soul. Just a thought.
In the end, I want you to know that while I take these steps above to avoid going deep and being paralyzed by this condition, I am not perfect at it. I have spent the last six weeks battling a bad episode, and it has been exhausting and physically taxing with migraines, body aches and more. So, my dear friends, I am in your corner. If you need help, please see a Dr. and take active steps to fighting this, so it doesn’t over-rule you. You are MORE than your depression. You are MORE than your anxiety. Don’t let it take away from the beautiful person you are.
Disclaimer: This post is my experience and suggestions based on what works for me. I am not a medical doctor. Thanks and love you all.
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