Lena Dunham? More like Queen-a Dunham, amirite?
Depression – it fucking sucks. Seriously, it feels like it sucks the life out of you. Dealing with your depression is HARD – I want to absolutely validate that for you. It takes a lot of strength to step forward in managing your mental health. So, maybe a safe place to start is by making sure that you’re not taking any steps backwards.
Tried and true, here are a few things I’ve learned won’t help improve your mental health. If you have depression, do yourself a favor and don’t do these:
1) Hiding in Your Bedroom
Dude, I know – your bed is the safe space. That’s your comfort zone. We all learned from a very young age that covers have special invisibility powers to hide you from the monsters in your closet, so ipso facto it must work for adulthood monsters too. I could literally lose days or weeks in my bed. But it’s also a good way to avoid pretty much everything else in your life. It’s nice to take some time to yourself, but you can’t take a week off work without getting out of bed. The first step is literally just standing up. Because getting food from the kitchen or taking a hot shower requires walking, so getting up is important.
2) Sporting the Gremlin-Chic Look
Listen – your depression is going to tell you that there’s no point in doing your hair, nails, washing your face, taking a shower… depression is basically that junior high kid after gym class with too much Axe. Call me superficial, but there’s nothing that makes me feel Sasha-FIERCE like getting my hair done, putting on extra makeup, or dressing up (i.e. jeans instead of yoga pants). Take the time, put the effort in – when you’re dressed your best, you won’t feel self-conscious being out and about.
3) Ignoring Basic Nutrition Principles
Depression is a finicky mother fucker when it comes to food – it can make you guzzle down five milkshakes in an hour, or eat three Cheetos over the course of three days. The fact is, though, that you have to eat something. And if you eat something, it should be something as minimally-processed as possible. Minimally processed = something that grew on a tree or in the ground or on a vine, you feel? NO, wine does not count. Your body will seriously feel so much better when it’s given the proper fuel.
4) Spending Your Weekends Being Bad and Boujee
The late-night partying might have worked for you in college, but the older you get, the harder it is for your body to swing it. Going to bed at 5AM on the weekends and waking up at 5AM on weekdays confuses the hell out of your body and makes a normal sleep schedule impossible. Lack of sleep equals depression party in your head. Also, if you’re taking meds for your mental health, alcohol might make you a different type of drunk than usual – personally I go from a happy-go-lucky drunk to a feisty yelling drunk. Not a good look. Your friends won’t want to talk to you on Saturday morning because you made a scene last night and got them all kicked out of the bar. Also – hangovers.
5) Pulling a Donald Trump and Building Walls
You know what doesn’t help your depression? Telling NO ONE about how you’re feeling. Like, literally just telling one person, whether it’s your friend, your parents, your doctor, a hotline, anyone is better than telling no one. And for my fellow cat lovers out there who tell their cats everything – no, cats do not count in this case. You’re not in this alone, yo. You have a support system, so use it.
Obligatory Seriousness: This piece is only based on my own unique experience with generalized depression disorder. I’m not a mental health professional, so I’d like to direct you to more smarter (lol) places for help and further reading. Here’s a few sites that I recommend: