As someone who went through a long and dark depression, I am always hopeful that the fact that I came through it will help others to know they can too. As long as you see any changes you want in life as being a one step at a time process, you can get anywhere you can imagine.
My desire to see others not just surviving daily life but thriving in it is what inspired me to make this website. I try to keep the focus on where you can go, on remembering who you are outside of all the gunk and stagnation. But as we go into fall I know that the days are getting shorter and for some people, the depression that comes with winter and the holiday season feels like its just around the corner.
Sometimes you feel yourself sliding down and you want to stop it before it gets out of hand, so these things listed can be preemptive. Or if you already are in a pit, please know that I admire you for reading this at all and wanting to take that first step. I was once where you are, and although I can't walk this path for you, I can at least show you some sign posts that helped me find my way. You might choose one that really feels right at this time, or you may try each one, maybe one per day, until you find what you need at this time. The important thing is to do what you can and to know you're doing the best you can.
Move your physical body:
Your inclination will be towards immobility. However, the more you stay put the more you will feel nothing ever changes. Not only does exercise release endorphins, but it helps you to remember two things: change is possible and you have innate strength. If you can make your muscles grow and become strong, you can do the same with your mind also. Exercising your body will lay a foundation, a core belief, that will prepare you to do things that exercise and retrain your mind.
There's no need to start by going to the gym and running miles on the treadmill and pumping weights . Start by taking small walks. Taking daily walks is a habit I developed years ago that always brings me feelings of healing, clarity and rejuvenation. If I'm angry and upset, I take a walk. If I'm feeling uninspired, I take it walk. It gets your blood pumping, getting that crucial fresh oxygen all throughout your system. Crying and walking can be one of the best ways to release. It will clear your mind, help you to focus, and also just give you something new to look at. The importance of changing your perspective cannot be understated.
In the same way you couldn't walk across the country in one day, you can't cross the landscape of depression in one day. But you can do it, and you can start by reminding yourself you are capable of movement. And if you can't walk, because of the weather or a physical restriction, try moving stuff in your house. Move some picture frames. Put a lamp somewhere else. Anything that feels like movement is the key here.
Image courtesy of RebeccaKelsey.com
Shift your focus:
Energy goes where attention flows. If you no longer want to be where you are (depressed or in some kind of funk) it's going to require you taking your focus off of it. Not all at once. But bit by bit, try putting your focus on where you want to go, and let energy start building there.
It's okay if you spend most of your day thinking, Life sucks and so do I. This isn't about judging where you are or what you're feeling. It's not about hiding from your thoughts, or telling yourself negative thoughts are bad. It's about making a conscious choice to build NEW thoughts and feelings, which will start small, until eventually they are the majority. Once you reach that new momentum, whenever that may be, you'll find you no longer have to force yourself to shift your focus. Your energy will be flowing that way on its own.
One of my favorite ways to do this is with a gratitude journal. Sit down and write down what you're grateful for. Or write down the things that went right the day before, the things you enjoyed. Nothing is too small for this, and in fact, this will help you to appreciate the small things. Keep a journal ONLY for these thoughts. Put everything else in a different notebook. It's crucial you have one book for happy and grateful thoughts. Over time, those few sentences you managed to get down each day will add up. You will start to see your book filling. You can go back and read past entries when you need a boost. This will increase your momentum, and in a time that's right for you, your attention will start to shift away from the dark thoughts and more to the positive ones.