Depression is a veritable plague on contemporary humanity. Its death toll rises steadily while studies into what will reduce its impact desperately struggle to help the people who endure it day after day, lifetime after lifetime.
While treatment remains in its relative infancy and there is currently barely a glimpse of a permanent cure, there are some things that can at least lessen the intense pain it causes.
Many of these things seem common to someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to truly experience depression. They are the kind of things that depression takes away from you even though they are commonplace and often taken for granted in a mentally healthy day to day life.
For someone struggling with depression, it can be difficult to find the motivation to maintain these things for themselves.
But if you can find the energy to claw them back in your life, it can make a huge difference.
If you don’t suffer from depression, then offering someone who does these little lifelines could be the difference between recovery and permanent damage.
It’s amazing the difference it can make to have crisp, cool air in your lungs, to feel oxygen flooding through your system. It can be shocking. Depression can make you want to sit and do nothing for hours, maybe days, on end, so you don’t notice the air getting clammy and stale around you. That boost of fresh air can really revitalise your system in a way that depression tries to convince you is no longer possible. Even if it’s only for a moment. That glimpse of fresh hope can make all the difference.
Depression can suck all the motivation out of you and those mindless, boring tasks can be the first one to go. Changing your bedsheets is hardly fun at the best of times, but when you’re stuck in that awful desperate pit it becomes a positively hellish chore. But sitting in your own filth for who knows how long is so much worse. It’s almost a universal truth by now that one of the most satisfying feelings in the world is slipping between cool, clean bedsheets after getting out of the shower. Now imagine how many times that sense of comfort must be amplified when the rest of the world is nothing but pain.
If you feel the desire to eat at all, there is always a temptation when you’re feeling low to binge on junk food. Even if you do actively want to sustain yourself, depression will likely drain away the energy required to get up and properly prepare a healthy meal for yourself. Multipacks of cookies require no preparation time and they offer a shred of tasty joy in an otherwise grim existence. But they offer nothing compared to the energy and endorphins that a decent dish of healthy food will add to your system.
There is nothing worse when you are genuinely depressed than someone who doesn’t understand and makes no effort to. Someone who thinks you can just snap out of it. Someone who thinks they get what you’re going through because they’ve had a couple of bum days in their life. It does nothing but make you feel worse – like you’re overreacting, like you’re being irrational, like you’re a burden. But someone who will make an effort to prop you up can keep you alive when you get so low you can’t bear it any more. Someone who won’t make you feel like a problem, who won’t try to force you to understand the hell you’re experiencing, but will just sit there with you, be quiet with you, will hold you when you need to be held, will listen when you need to speak and will tell you they’ll always be there when you need them – and, more importantly, will follow through with it too.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.