- Take a deep breath, relax shoulders, unclench hands, repeat the phrase, “this will pass, it will get better”
- After the initial acute, in shock, exhausting stage, get out of bed, you must get out of bed after 2 weeks maximum. I had no choice, I was alone and so had to drink, and use the toilet, take medications and eat
- Try to drink 4-6 glasses of water daily, no alcohol
- Try to eat three small meals daily. Allow treats
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Listen to music – nothing sorrowful or very loud
- Colour books…colour…colour…colour, trust me, it is amazing and so therapeutic
- Do ‘easy’ big print crosswords, computer games, word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles
- Paint toenails – a bold, bright colour
- Take a warm Epsom salts bath
- Talk to someone who understands
- Keep a journal: write down thoughts, fears AND express gratitude for 1 thing that happened that day
- Write inspirational quotes on post it notes and display around home
- Exercise 3-5 times a week: gym in winter, ride bike in summer, paddleboard
- Weekly massage: neck, shoulders, back
- Watch cartoons daily. I purchased the Pinky and the Brain DVD series. As silly and as difficult as it may seem, you absolutely must try and smile and/or laugh even if its just a very, very small ha!
- Make lists, lots of lists: errands, groceries, things to do. I would make a list of everything I need to do every day e.g. make bed, eat breakfast, shower, etc., trust me, it feels so good to delete a task. Gives you a sense of purpose and a feeling of control
- Punch pillows and cushions, scream in the shower
- Make the bed every day, every single day without fail
- Clean teeth
- Take a shower daily, even if it’s late in the afternoon or evening…. shower!
- Do 1 household task daily
- Go outside every day, if only for a minute and breathe in the air
- See physician and psychologist regularly
Books that helped me:
Darkness Visible by William Styron
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
The Mindful Way through Depression by M. Williams, J. Teasdale, Z. Segal & J. Kabat-Zinn
Everything Happens For A Reason. By M. Kirshenbaum
Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes
Change your brain, change your life by Dr. Daniel Amen
History of a suicide by Jill Bialosky
I can see clearly now by Dr. Wayne Dyer
“Getting Back to Happy” www.marcandangel.com
This is what helped me keep moving forward. There is no secret recipe, no one particular thing that I did that saved me, it was a combination of several things: Medications, Doctor, Psychologist, keeping a routine, and lifestyle choices. It certainly was not easy, and I hope I will never ever have to go through anything like that ever again. However, I do feel very strongly, that if I had not followed my daily routine, then I would be here, right now, writing this.
I encourage you to do what works for you, but make no mistake, you must do something. After those first 2 weeks of intense catastrophic sadness and darkness and pain, if you do not begin to take that first step to reclaiming your life and plan your escape from the rabbit hole, then you never will. The darkness and the intense sadness and the ants in your brain will take over and you will surrender out of sheer exhaustion and emotional fatigue.
I won and I was alone, completely alone. I did not think I could do it, others told me to keep going, keep going, keep going, and so ultimately, I had to make a decision, do I fight the war or surrender, there is no middle ground, no waking up and everything is better, no single medication that will wipe it all away. Depression is real, it is your reality, your life, your battle to fight, the question you must ask yourself is, do I want to win this war. I choose to fight, yes, I came close to surrendering many times, but I got back up and I kept going…I know I have not won the entire war, but I have won more than a few battles and right now, I am okay with that.