Friday, August 26, 2016

Tips on Living to the Fullest with Depression

Depression is ugly, it's exhausting, but it doesn't last forever. I have mild depression, most of the time as a result of life events but sometimes for no apparent reason at all. If it is something you struggle with I want you to know several truths before I say anything else. First of all, it is not who you are. It is just how you feel. Secondly, you are not alone no matter how isolated you feel. There are millions of people who either have experienced or currently are experiencing the very same thing. More importantly, if you are a child of God you have the knowledge that He is in the midst of every moment with you not merely watching from far away but holding your hand. Lastly, emotions are temporary. In time, with help and lots of perseverance it can get better.

Now that we've got that out in the open, here are some tips on how to bring some sunshine into the darker days.

1. Move.
Get out of bed, stand up from the floor, climb out of your cave and exercise. Now, before you tune our let me give the disclaimer that I am the least athletic person in my whole family. My mom used to be a killer track runner, my dad to this day beats guys half his age in bike races every week and my sister is a fit ballerina. I haven't played a single sport since middle school, and even then I was terrible. I'm not saying you need to run a marathon, get a six pack or even run a mile. Just move, get your heart rate up, get your muscles a little sore and see the sunshine. For me it works to do 30 sit ups, some squats, maybe go for a short jog/walk. If you find you enjoy it, find a workout routine that works for you. If it isn't your thing, just try doing something small each day. Exercise of any form is scientifically proven to raise the endorphins (happy chemicals) in your brain. After working out, even if it is a small one, I feel energized and motivated. I would, however, caution you not to get your heart rate up right before bed. As I said, it energizes you and that can make it hard to fall asleep.

2. Get sunshine.
Not only does sunshine help with Vitamin D, it raises levels of serotonin. What is serotonin? According to Medical News Today, it is a neurotransmitter that is attributed to regulating your mood and promoting happy emotions that are found in the brain and produced in the gut. When a person has low serotonin it can cause depression. There are multiple ways to raise your serotonin, but this is one of the most practical and beneficial ways I have found to boost my serotonin.

3. Don't try to suppress it.
There have been a lot of days I've gone into public or been around friends and put on a front to hide my depression. I finally learned this year that it is okay to not always be the extravert I used to be. I can sit quietly in a group of friends, or strangers, and not work to put on a smile and carry the conversation. As long as you are still being polite and kind to those around you, don't wear yourself out trying to seem upbeat.

4. Talk about it.
I spent over a year hiding my mental illness from almost everyone I knew, and it is miserable. I found that there are a lot of people out there who relate, and even if they don't, there are a lot of people who care. If you don't have someone you can trust to talk about how you feel and what you are going through, journal it. Lastly, there is absolutely no shame in going to a doctor. Back when I started feeling different and did't know why I talked to my regular doctor and she helped me brainstorm on ways to start healing.

One more thing before I go, healing doesn't happen over night but there is most definitely hope. There is a reason to keep on moving forward, even when you don't feel like moving. I say there is hope because there is a God, the one true God, who walks beside us and brings good out of every situation for those who have committed their lives to Him and trust Him. Through depression I have learned that there truly is no friend like Jesus and am continually amazed that the Creator of the Universe cares about how we feel. Be encouraged friend, you aren't alone in this fight.

Here is a song that has been a great encouragement to me in this battle, which I hope uplifts you as well.


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  2. i think a hope , a prayer , an optimistic way...we are creator too...
    nice to reach at your blog