What Not to Do When You're Depressed
I mentioned in my previous post that I got depressed again. The episode only lasted for a month, but it felt like a lifetime. I feel better now, but I left a trail of destruction during my episode, and instead of ignoring all the toxic stuff that I did, let me share some of the things I've learned about dealing with the demons inside my head so you wouldn't have to make the same mistakes that I did.
1. DON’T MAKE DECISIONS
Do you know that I almost quit my job?! If my boss didn’t reason with me, I might’ve left a company where I feel supported and understood. I usually make rash decisions during my episodes because I let my emotions run the show. Unfortunately, I only realize my mistakes once the episode ends. I’ve learned that it’s best to make decisions when we’re in the right state of mind so we’ll be able to think logically.
2. DON’T ISOLATE YOURSELF FOR TOO LONG
We all need a “me” time every now and then. But let’s face it; for most of us, it’s detrimental to our mental health to be alone for a long time because our feelings get bottled up. When I isolate myself for too long, I eventually convince myself that I’m alone – that no one loves me enough to comfort me – which is unfair to my loved ones because I’m the one who isolated myself in the first place.
3. DON’T USE UNHEALTHY COPING MECHANISMS
When I was in college, I used alcohol as my coping mechanism whenever I’m not okay. Because of my mental illness, let’s just say that I used to drink almost every single weekday from lunch time to nighttime. I know alcohol is a downer, but I thought that it’s best to open up to my friends when we’re drinking alcohol. After dealing with this condition for more than a decade, I stopped convincing myself that it’s okay to use vices as a coping mechanism.
4. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
I compare myself to others sometimes even when I'm not depressed so I understand that many people also find it hard to stop doing this. However, please remember that social media can be deceptive because most people won't post their struggles or their boring day; people usually post about their achievements and exciting experiences instead. If you find it hard to stop comparing your life with other people's "perfect lives," try to have a social media detox for a while to give yourself a break and remember that everyone has struggles.
5. DON’T INVALIDATE YOUR FEELINGS
The world is obsessed with happiness so sadness, especially depression, is considered as a failure and something to be embarrassed about. It's even harder if we don't know how to deal with it, so some people would just bottle up their feelings or convince themselves that they're happy even though their heart hurts.
There's nothing wrong with having negative feelings. Part of being human is having different emotions to fully process our experiences and to help us grow. We're all taught to be against negative feelings that we end up repressing them, leading to worse mental health. Try to go through the process without judgment instead of being in denial or suppressing your feelings.
How about you? What are things that you think we should avoid when we're depressed?