Five tips to help with depression (and the stigma of mental illness)


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Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

We live in an overtly judgmental society. We are quick to make sweeping assumptions towards individuals based solely on factors such as, job title, salary, outward appearance, the ownership of certain material items, and so on.

The sad reality is, we tend to view things only at face value.

If a person is out of work, the general presupposition is that they must be lazy, lacking the self-discipline to hold down a job, and perhaps uninterested in finding potential employment.

I have been out of work for the most part of this year. Which means to some people, the fact that I am currently without a job and  therefore not contributing to society, immediately devalues my worth as a person.

I am signed off work due to depression. But again, as this is a mental illness, without any obvious physical symptoms, there is an ongoing stigma in society towards such disorders like depression, raising the question: is this actually a real illness?

Regardless of others judgmental view on the topic; I, myself, am well aware that mental health issues should be treated with the same respect as any other illness which causes the patient to suffer. And I would like to share with you a handful of tips which have helped me somewhat during my depression:

Give yourself time.

As the expression goes, time is a great healer. And this is very true. There is absolutely no point rushing to try and feel like your old self again, in a few weeks or months, as it will only happen, exactly when it happens.

Expecting things to get back on track as soon as possible, is only going to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Focus on just one day at a time, and eventually your recovery will happen naturally.

Follow your own advice. 

There will always be some people, who may not fully appreciate your personal circumstances, who will assume that that just seeking employment and getting back to normal is the solution to your “self-made predicament”.

However, only you know when you feel comfortable to change certain aspects of your life. Always take things at your own pace, not the expected pace of others.

Rest and recuperate

Just because the illness is only your head, doesn’t make it any less of an illness. If you had a broken leg, the general consensus would be to rest up and let the bone and tissue heal. Likewise, if you are suffering from a mental illness, it is your mind that needs the time to heal.

Getting plenty of rest and practicing getting into a regular sleep pattern gives the mind a chance to recharge and restore a little mental clarity. A well rested mind can help you put things into perspective.

Accept that you will feel down.

Obviously, there will be days when you feel low, and the depression seems unshakable. These days, or perhaps hours, will come and go without warning, and oftentimes the feeling of distress that you will never feel better usually surfaces too. Remind yourself, it’s okay to not feel okay, these feelings will pass eventually.

Adapting healthy coping strategies during these times can help. It can be as simple as going for a walk whilst listening to music, distracting yourself with a hobby, or just switching off from the world for a while and taking a nap.

Take small steps.

If you try and change everything at once, you will feel overwhelmed and the tasks ahead will seem insurmountable. Instead, taking small steps can make a huge difference in your overall feeling of well-being.

Incorporating exercise into your life may bring a little routine back into your day, whilst providing you will the many benefits of keeping fit.  Adapting a healthier diet can help you feel better physically and mentally. Limiting alcohol intake is always a positive step to consider when you feel ready.

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3 thoughts on “Five tips to help with depression (and the stigma of mental illness)

  1. Pingback: How to Exercise When Depressed — Even if You Prefer Staying in Bed – PsychCentral.com (blog) « Depression: Fighting Back

  2. Pingback: A year of thebettylife – the ups and downs of 2013 | thebettylife

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