I met Kev way back in 2005, at a bipolar therapy group run by Melissa Subiaco, a young doctoral candidate from the University of Sydney. Kev and I had an immediate connection and developed a rock solid friendship. He’s been supportive in more ways than one. Besides, he isn’t judgmental in the least and we can laugh our heads off at the drop of a hat. For Kev, friendship is a lot more than rhetoric or empty words.
Here are his words of wisdom on how to manage depression. They’re especially valuable because he’s been dealing with the bipolar roller coaster for over 25 years. I appreciate his peer-to-peer insight because I know he lives by it. Over to you, Kev!
Things that help:
- Acknowledge the fact that you’re feeling depressed, rather than labelling yourself as depressed. There’s a huge difference in feeling, as compared to being labelled, whether by yourself, or by others. It will make a huge difference, to the length of the healing period.
- Good, healthy food. Lots of fruit & vegetables!
- Lots of water formula: .033x body weight, for example, .033 x 75kgs = 2.5lts/day.
- Exercise, but not excessive. The body needs some time out too. Swimming & walking, high on the agenda.
- Up early! Sun up, get up! It’s the most energising part of the day! SUNRISE!! Take in the energy of the sun. Walks in nature, if possible. Oceans, rivers, lakes, mountains, parks etc.
- Good, meaningful sleep. Sleeping pills, only if absolutely necessary. A lot of people don’t sleep well, because they don’t prepare well. That’s the key. Do the research, it takes practise!
- Yoga, using true top to bottom, breathing technique. It’ll slow the mind, with practise!! This is the key!
- Take yourself out of all possible areas of possible conflict!
- Supportive friends, not “arm chair specialists”.
- Seek help from a counsellor, if you haven’t already! Never go beyond 3 weeks without seeking help from a professional! Personally, for me, a physchotherapist.
- As the head starts to clear, address what changes have recently happened in your life, in most cases, you don’t start feeling depressed for no reason. Depression, is often set off by things that we haven’t really addressed, or dealt with properly, and will just keep coming back. Unless we do so, we will be continually surrounded by triggers.
- It’s not about what happened, ie, the events, it’s about how we deal with them. People spend so much time going over things from the past. You certainly need to acknowledge that certain things did happen, but going over & over things can’t change whatever happened!! Poor investment of your time that you can’t buy back.
- Rebuild resilience, your foundation. People with good foundation don’t fall.
- Picture yourself as the root system of a tree. Only the week foundation trees fall. How is your foundation? It should be like a Canadian redwood!
- Find what has worked in the past. Learn from each experience. Have a preset management plan. Use your daily diary! Preset your days. 24 hrs unplanned, is a huge day to fill in when feeling depressed!!
- Have faith, but be proactive!
- Be accountable for yourself! No blame games!!
- Uplifting music. Lots of music!! You can judge your mood, by the music & volume that you play!!
- Be patient & kind to yourself!!
Thanks for your words of wisdom, Kev! My blog is so much richer for your contribution 🙂 FFJ