I’m Liz Smith and I'm the new author on the Coping with Depression blog. I have depression, I’m 33, and I live in Leeds, a city in the north of England. It wasn't until my mid-20s that I was officially diagnosed with depression, but it was clear I was suffering well before then. Most of the time, I felt pretty desolate – lonely, misunderstood, and like there was nowhere I fit in. At university, everyone else seemed to be having a great time, but being around lots of confident, able people only magnified my insecurities.
Coping with Depression
It’s hard for me to believe, but my time writing for the Coping with Depression blog has come to an end. I started this journey because I believed that we can help one another by sharing our stories and our experiences about depression. Today, I’m more convinced of that than ever.
After just over a year of blogging for HealthyPlace, it's time for me to move on from co-writing Coping With Depression. I've written dozens of blog posts, spoken on the HealthyPlace YouTube channel, and had hundreds of conversations with you. With each post I've written, I've grown as a writer and survivor of depression.
Self-care is a term widely used in recovery from depression, but it's rarely defined by the health care professionals who recommend it for relief of depression symptoms. Over the years, I've learned what kind of depression self-care works for me. Here are some examples that will help you find your own steps to self-care for depression.
We live in a world easily saturated by the news cycle. Whether through television, radio, the printed word, or the Internet, information on current events is continually available. But being constantly connected to the news can take a toll on our mental health and depression can trigger depression.
My depression goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, which leaves me feeling paralyzed with fear. For years I hid from life, until I started using my feelings of anxiety and the hopelessness of depression to convince me that I had nothing else to lose. I learned to make my own luck to defeat depression-related anxiety.
I find the harsh winter weather we’ve been having tends to exacerbate my depression symptoms. The shorter days and winter weather leave me feeling depleted. Looking out my window, there is a sea of white. Everywhere I go there are piles of snow and ice. I am tired of bundling up in a long coat and snow boots just to go outside. I am tired of the cold. I want to hibernate until spring. But hibernation isn’t the answer to surviving winter and depression.
I am having one of those days where my depression is so impenetrable that I can't believe I'm able to sit upright. It feels like the force of my traumatic past is colliding with a bleak future that promises nothing but the same amount of pain. Yet here I am, sitting at my laptop, writing. How is this possible?
Last month, I struggled with a depression relapse. During one of my therapy sessions, my therapist reminded me that I am resilient. Depressed at the time, I didn’t feel very resilient, but the comment stayed with me. It started me wondering what the relationship is between depression and resilience and how we can increase resilience.
One of the most common symptoms of depression is a change in appetite. People who have depression either lose their appetite and eat less than they did before, or else their appetite increases and they eat more than they did before their depression started (Depression Symptoms: What Are Symptoms of Depression?). For me, my appetite has lessened but it's affected me a lot more than a simple reduction of hunger pangs. Depression and lack of appetite can be distressing.