Please note that there may be sensitive content in this post.
Once you’re diagnosed with depression, it isn’t something that will be cured and magically go away, ever. It’s something that most of us will struggle with managing for the rest of our lives. Something we’ve been challenged with carrying around even before we were diagnosed. After diagnosed we were given a power though – the power to learn how to manage it.
Some days it has more power than we do though.
These are the days that something has triggered it. A trigger is something, whether it be a situation, a sound, a thought, sometimes even a smell that has set it off. Maybe it is a reminder of past trauma. Maybe it is unhealed insecurity. It’s something dark that is inside of us that drags us down. And it leaves us feeling stuck. On those days we feel a bit less powerful. These are the days when we have to really focus on practicing our therapeutic activities. We have to self-soothe on these days.
Prior to getting help, many of us would self-soothe in not-so-healthy ways. Maybe we drank or grabbed other substances. Maybe we cut or found other ways to try and expel the pain that was inside of ourselves…this is not how we want to self-soothe. This doesn’t really help does it? This just transfers the pain to another location.
If you find yourself eager and yearning to go back to those ways please seek professional help. Please remember you are loved and there are people out there to help you. If you don’t have a local connection, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
There are healthier ways to self-soothe.
I say this because I’ve made this transition. I speak this with confidence. Unfortunately in my lifetime I’ve tried a good big handful of different unhealthy ways of self-soothing and they don’t make it better, they make it worse. But I’ve grown, I’ve healed some, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned what really feels good and what really helps me. And I’ve put this list together for you.
10 Things to Do When Your Depression is Triggered
- Sleep – This is typically always at the top of my list. The reason is that when I’m not getting enough sleep that’s a big trigger for my depression. I can’t process my emotions when I’m overly tired.
- Paint – This is my #1 therapeutic activity. It’s my release. This may or may not be yours but art therapy is an amazing therapy to try.
- Clean up your space – Clutter can add to depression and anxiety. Especially for me. I’m the type of person that doesn’t function well in a disorganized space. It also acts a therapeutic activity. And yes, I know this one can be hard to get moving on when you’re feeling depressed so start small. Maybe it’s just starting with going through a stack of magazines or something.
- Write in your journal – Get the feelings out of your head. It doesn’t matter if they make sense as they come out or what they look like, it’s just the act of getting them out and helping yourself process them.
- Watch a funny movie, or heck any movie – Allow yourself to just lay in bed in your sweats and veg out for the day and escape into movie-land. Give yourself that break. It’s okay to allow yourself to just sit in this moment where you are for the day. Just don’t stay there forever.
- Cuddle or play with your dog (or cat) – Unconditional love – you know there’s a reason they do therapy with animals right?! Their love is just so much love. Don’t have a pet? Offer to walk a friend’s or a neighbor’s.
- Listen to a guided meditation – There are so many available out there. You can find one specific to how you’re feeling – self-acceptance, broken heart, clear your mind, etc.
- Go for a hike – Nature is so super healing. Get outside, get in touch with the natural world around you, and take in some fresh air. Bonus points if you can get near some water which is ultra healing.
- Work on a project – Something meaningful to you. Working on something that gives you a feeling of purpose and productivity is renewing for your mind and spirit.
- Give yourself a little spa day – Put a facial on your face, paint your nails, make yourself feel pampered and special.
Maybe this list is for you, maybe it’ll give you some ideas…take some, try some, make your own list. Keep the list handy for the down days. The important thing is to have a go to for the days that you feel triggered.
And remember you are so much stronger than any of your worst days <3