Since I’ve been struggling badly with depression and anxiety lately, I thought I’d talk about a few things that help make day to day living a little more manageable for me. I’ll talk about what works for me and why and maybe it’ll help someone else too.
Lists are very useful in general, but more so when you have depression and anxiety. It can help so much to get all those things you are thinking you need to do out of your head and organised into a list.
For me, this helps because I don’t worry so much about forgetting something. It’s on a list now, so I can stop worrying and just refer to it in the morning. It’s when I’m laying in bed that I tend to think of all the things I need to do. I then find myself starting to panic and feel myself getting overwhelmed. The smallest of tasks can seem so mammoth to me and I get overwhelmed and emotional really easily. I’ve learned that opening up the memo function on my phone and then typing a “To Do List” has helped me so much.
It might look like a lot you have to do when you look at the list initially, but don’t panic. Take each task one by one and soon you’ll have ticked off a few. Even if I only get one thing ticked off when I’m feeling extremely down, then I consider that a win. I include even self care in those lists and if I manage to tick off “Have a shower” then I feel accomplished. Getting out of bed is a huge asking some days, so even that sometimes makes it to my list.
Take regular breaks
If you’re going through your list and you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, then stop.
I usually do one thing and then have to sit down for a while, recover and then carry on. I do this even more when I’m in pain. The important thing is to not beat yourself up for taking a lot of breaks.. you go at your own pace, because everyone is different.
If you only do one thing on your list a day, then that is huge when everything feels so impossible.
Sleep when you need to
For some, I realise that this isn’t possible. If you are able to sleep whenever though, take full advantage of this. It may seem silly, but I find myself getting anxious if I think I have to be asleep by a certain time, or I have to wake up at a certain time. On those rare occasions where I do need to, those nights are incredibly stressful and I often don’t get much sleep at all. But when I don’t have to think about those, I try not to beat myself up if I can’t get to sleep. I didn’t get to sleep until 4am this morning and I tried not to let that worry me. If I worry about not being able to sleep, it keeps me awake. If I relax and tell myself I will sleep when I can and wake up when I can, then I find myself being able to drop off eventually.
I have nights where I don’t sleep, as I’m sure even those without depression and anxiety do too. But, then I have nights where I sleep extremely well and for entirely too long. Again, I try not to beat myself up about this.. if I sleep for more than twelve hours, to some that may seem lazy, but to me I feel I must have needed it. Depression and anxiety take a lot out of you and it leaves me so exhausted sometimes. I notice this more if I have to see other people. Listening to other people and being present in the moment can be really draining.
If I need a day or more in bed, then I will have it. I do feel I make the most of the days where I am feeling more energetic, though. The days where I feel I can handle a little more than normal. I think it’s important to make the most of those days. Often, those days feel few and far between.
If you find it difficult to look after yourself properly when you’re in a bad head space, meal prepping can be so helpful. My fiance will usually meal prep for me before he goes to work away, otherwise I just won’t eat properly. A lot of things can be frozen too. We freeze bread, milk, potatoes, homemade burgers, mash potato, chopped vegetables and lots of other things.
It’s important to have things to hand too that you can just rip open and eat immediately too. Sometimes even sticking things in the oven can feel like too much. If need be, you can always rely on a cheeky takeaway delivery.
It’s amazing sometimes how much better you can feel for having a proper meal. Even my general thinking becomes clearer.
Have someone you can phone or text
It’s really important to have someone that you can phone or text when you get incredibly low. When the pit of despair becomes so unbearable that all you can think about is ending it all. I have had many times where I’ve experienced this and if it wasn’t for reaching out I don’t think I’d be here today.
My sister is my usual go to when I’m feeling down, though sometimes I realise how incredibly unfair this is and I hate burdening her like that. Same with my fiance. I get this incredible amount of guilt when I tell either of them how badly I want to end my life.. both of these people love me and definitely don’t want to hear that or even contemplate me going through with it. It can feel like an incredibly selfish thing to say too, and then I end up feeling even worse.. I know that everyone does their best to try to make my life as bearable as they can. I just hope they know that if ever it did come to that, it’s not because of them.
But, if like me, you find it hard sometimes to talk to about that side of things to people close to you.. then talk to an impartial party. I’ve relied on the Samaritans in the past when things were very dark. I’m not very good on the phone, especially when I’m upset, I tend to sob uncontrollably and you can’t really understand me. Fortunately the Samaritans have a text and e-mail service, if you too find speaking out loud difficult for whatever reason.
Because I’m still struggling at the moment, I thought this would be the perfect post for today and I really hope that it helps someone else. Even if you don’t suffer with depression or anxiety yourself, perhaps this will give you an insight into the struggle.
Hope everyone is being kind to themselves. You are not alone.
Check out my other post on depression here.
Please leave any comments below. I love hearing from you all. ♥