If you experience depression, you’ve probably experienced the all-too-familiar ‘depressive slump’. I call it this because I feel like a very literal representation of the word ‘slump’ – I’m completely and totally immobilised on my bed, struggling to do anything; even basic things, like brushing my teeth and showering. Sounds gross, right? Depression was never pretty to begin with.
In my experience, these slumps can be brought around by ‘triggers’ (an event/thing that causes you to feel like utter crap), or strike at totally random times. Regardless of how they come around, it feels utterly impossible to get out of them. But they’re not. Whether it’s hours, days, or weeks later, you can do this, and you should be immensely proud of yourself when you do!
These tips are just the things that work for me. Depression is different from person to person, like any illness. But hopefully, you can gain something from this!
- Accept you’re in a slumpSo, you’re in a slump. For me, this usually means I’m scrolling through every form of social media in a zombie like state. The hardest part for me is accepting that once again, my illness has struck. I’ll be beating myself up for it, asking myself, ‘why am I like this?’ – it’s so important that you don’t do this, and I fully appreciate that’s way harder than it sounds. However, I try my hardest to execute the following steps:
- Acceptance. ‘Damn, I’m in a slump, okay.’
- Questioning. ‘Okay, what’s caused this? Was it a trigger, or is this totally random?’
- Talking. Talking to someone about your feelings is often the hardest thing to do, but it’s so important. It means you can unbottle your emotions, get your feelings out there, and try to make sense of what’s going on inside of your head.
- Forgive yourself!This is really difficult for someone with depression to do, especially if you’re caught in a cycle of self-hatred or something similar. Luckily, I’m a lot kinder on myself than I used to be in my teen years, so this is a little easier. But learning to repeat positive sentences to yourself, even if they seem like complete lies, can actually help. Fake it ’til you make it is a method that actually does work. For example:‘Right, I’m in a slump because of x, y, z. I don’t feel up to showering or brushing my teeth or moving. I’m going to be easy on myself and give myself x amount of time to ride this out, before trying to get up and do something.’A tip for the above: in one of your happier states, write positive sentences to yourself on a piece of paper, the notes of your phone, etc for when you reach a depressive slump. This means it’ll be easier to attempt to motivate yourself.
- MotivationThis is a stage you really have to put no form of time limit on. Any step is a huge step. For example, sitting up in bed instead of lying down. I know that may sound ridiculous to an outsider, but it’s important to remember that depression is a really debilitating illness. It’s also important that you try and motivate yourself with something you will genuinely enjoy, rather than work commitments, coursework, etc, else you’ll never get up. Again, for example:Cleaning myself. I forever have a motivation of getting myself out of a slump by showering, drying and straightening my hair and putting on makeup. I think it’s the act of cleaning myself on the outside, and making myself feel physically good, that makes me feel mentally great too.
- Creativity. Writing things, watching things, reading things, making things – I’m an incredibly creative person, and I love to make something out of the sadness I’ve just experienced, to spin some positivity on the situation.
- Hang out with loved ones. This is always an ambitious one for me, but going into a communal area with someone I am fully comfortable with can be a huge comfort. I quite often like to distract myself by listening to other people’s problems, as it means I can stop thinking about my own!
I really appreciate that getting yourself out of one of these slumps feels like climbing Everest. These are just a few tips that work for me, so I don’t expect them to work for everyone; everyone is different, with varying levels of depression. However, for someone with quite poor mental health, these are just some ways I try to get out of it. Let me know how you get out of yours!