Depression is an illness like any other illness, which requires that you take good care of yourself when working through depression to aid the recovery process. In order to begin recovery, the specifics of the illness need to be understood, which require examination, diagnosis and then treatment. When I say treatment, I’m not suggesting that the primary approach is a knee-jerk reaction to reach for the medication. Some people find that alternative therapies can also help when considering how to take care of yourself when depressed.
If you feel that you may be suffering from depression, see your Doctor as the first step. Where your Doctor identifies that further support is required, you may be referred to a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. A Psychologist is different to a Psychiatrist in that a Psychiatrist will prescribe medication, whereas Psychologist will not.
How to take care of yourself when depressed
When suffering from depression there is a very real risk to your physical health arising from a lack of desire, or even an ability, to maintain normal routines such as washing, exercise, and a proper diet. From the outside looking in it may seem that a person in a depressed state is avoiding any responsibility that comes their way and that they are being lazy.
However, in the majority of situations, this is certainly not the case. There is a desire, but the overwhelming sense of psychological weight that depression brings with it can easily extinguish that desire for long periods of time.
When you feel, or in some unfortunate cases, actually find that there are very few people in your life and world that will support you, you need to how to take care of yourself when depressed. The following tips will be very helpful.
Always Take Medication as Prescribed
When you have been prescribed medication, such as antidepressants, these are provided to help you with what is currently understood in medical science to be a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Antidepressants seek to bring some relief to your mind through addressing this imbalance, but some antidepressants can also have some rather unpleasant side effects.
Exercise caution with the consumption of alcohol and other substances while on antidepressants, as some of these can have very harmful effects when combined. In some cases, they can stop the medication from working at all, or worse still, they can cause the medication to have a negative impact on you.
After you have been on a course of antidepressants for a while you will begin to feel better, you may even have the feeling that you have recovered. When you feel that you are fine and that there is no need for your medication any longer, exercise caution before choosing to come off your medication without first seeking medical advice.
Seek advice from your Doctor before stopping your prescription as some antidepressants, and other medication prescribed for depression can bring with it some rather nasty withdrawal symptoms and side effects. That, and you may feel that you are ready to come off your meds when in fact you aren’t quite there just yet.
Self-diagnosis in these cases can be extremely destructive, so work with the professionals who are there to help you recover. They are there to help you with how to take care of yourself when depressed.
This can seem like a tough journey, and you may encounter some paranoid thoughts about the intentions of your Doctor when you are not in a balanced state. Your Doctor is there to help you, but if you feel uncomfortable with you Doctor for any reason, you should seek medical support from another Doctor, rather than not seeking support at all.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important part of healing, recovery, and how to take care of yourself when depressed, so getting good quality rest is critical. If there is anything in your environment that you find is interrupting your sleep, get rid of it and make sure you are comfortable.
Regular sleep cycles will help your body to reset if it has been fatigued due to stress or the demands of your day-to-day life. Try to avoid excessive oversleeping and get up at a reasonable hour, just after sunrise is healthy. Extending the time you spend sleeping in can worsen your depressive state, and disrupt your sleep cycles at the other end of the day.
There are some very helpful apps can assist you in tracking your sleep and establishing a healthy sleeping cycle. One app that I find works well for me is Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock by Northcube AB. It allows me to set alarms for when I need to go to bed, and when I need to get up, with an eight-hour window for sleep and recovery.
Another thing to work on is reducing your exposure to blue light from different devices about an hour before bed. Smartphones and tablets now have a built-in blue light filter option, which cuts out the amount of blue light the device emits. This helps to reduce stimulation in the brain before bed. Since I have had my Note 8 I have kept the blue light filter on all the time and found that I’m sleeping much better than before.
Blue light has a very similar effect on the brain as sunlight, and this is not what you need when you are trying to get to sleep, as it interrupts sleep cycles.