Monday, 23 February 2015

Depression 101: Living with the black cloud

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Bit of a different post today, stepping outside my normal realm of beauty and waffle, two things I consider myself to be relatively okay at. More of a serious topic, just as relevant and something that perhaps isn't broadcasted as widely as beauty, isn't quite as accepted. Honestly, I've been debating whether or not to actually make this post, but I figure if I can help just one person is has to be worth it.

Mental illness, particularly depression, is a topic very close to my heart and is often quite a difficult one for people to deal with. I won't go into and explain my story now, but if anyone would like me to, that's another post for another day. I also don't want to go into facts and statistics because I know that they never help me much. All I want this post to achieve is hopefully some reassurance, some self care ideas, and knowing that no matter how dark things are getting, you really aren't alone.

I often think of depression as a permanent black cloud living above my head, raining doom and gloom. Others like to think of their depression as something else, for instance I know there is a video floating around the net that describes depression as a black dog. But however you think of it, it's essentially the same and completely different for everyone. I always felt like I wasn't truly struggling, as no matter how awful I feel on a morning, I always manage to drag myself out of bed and go about my day, which can lead to me feeling worse than if I'd just stayed in bed all day, but no matter how it manifests in you, it's okay to struggle.

And that's such a cliche, but it's true. It's okay to be struggling, it's okay to not feel great about life and about yourself, it's okay to feel the black cloud looming over your head and not know how to get rid of it. And honestly, the best way to deal with it is to talk to someone. I know it's easier said than done, even now it takes me a while to be able to approach them and say 'hey, I'm really struggling right now, I need some help'. But there are so many different ways of asking for help. You can outright tell someone you trust like a parent or a friend, you could write a letter to someone you trust so that you don't have to speak which can often be the most daunting part, you can go and talk to your doctor or another healthcare professional. The best part about talking to your doctor is that unless they believe you are a danger to yourself, they are not allowed to tell your parents, if that's what you're most worried about. Plus, they know the best people to refer you to, whether that's a service like CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service which we have here in the UK), or an adult service, they will be able to put you in touch with the people who can help you.

If you're worried about speaking to your doctor because you don't want to be put on medication, don't worry about it. Medication is often used as a last resort if someone is feeling really bad,  and just talking isn't going to pull them out of the dark hole they find themselves in. But if you do go to your doctor and you are prescribed anti-depressants, it's not something to be ashamed of. You'd be surprised just how many people take anti-depressants to help them function on a day to day basis, and it doesn't make them weak. It's also not something you have to broadcast. If you don't want anyone to know, they won't. Taking them doesn't brand a sign across your forehead, warning people to stay away, no matter what it feels like.

But if you truly cannot tell anyone how you are feeling just yet, self care can be a vital part in helping you get through each day, and even work towards a much more positive mindset. Self care is a really personal thing, and it might take a while for you to work out what things or combination of things help you feel better, if only for a few minutes. That few minutes break can make all the difference sometimes.

1) Write down your feelings, whether it's in a journal, a beautiful diary you can keep secret, or even online in a blog post. I know this blog helps me when I'm down, even if I'm not talking about my feelings, but beauty products instead which brings me onto..

2) If something makes you happy, let yourself indulge. I adore all things beauty and skincare, and whilst my bank doesn't enjoy this, if I'm feeling particularly down I love to go into Boots and sniff the scents, buy myself a treat and create a mental wishlist, which often distracts me from how I'm feeling.

3) In much the same vein as beauty and skincare, I often find if I force myself out of bed to wash and do my makeup, I feel a little better automatically because I feel like I've achieved something, and I look like a normal human being

4) Celebrate the small achievements, because they can often be monumental challenges. Getting out of bed, remembering to eat, washing, putting on clean clothes, doing homework, going to work/college, all these things need celebrating

5) Pet an animal (unless you hate animals!) There's a reason dogs and cats and other cute furry creatures are used for therapy, and that's because the repetition of petting the animal does wonders for the blood pressure and your general mood. Baby animals make me go 'awww' and feel better, keep a selection of them on your phone for easy access!

6) Treat yourself. It doesn't have to be big, maybe a bar of your favourite chocolate, or indulge in a long hot bath/pamper session, with lovely scents and face masks and shaving, or a cup of your favourite drink.

7) Watch an episode or two of your favourite TV show! I find getting lost in someone else's world and problems does amazing things for forgetting about my own

8) Meet up with a friend or family member. You don't have to talk to them about how you feel, but you could catch up for coffee or go to the movies or just hang at your house.

9) Go for a walk. Exercise releases endorphin's, which helps make your mood better, and being out in the fresh air, no matter where you are, can help clear your mind a little.

10) Take a day for yourself. So often we can find ourselves caught up in work and school/college/uni and friend drama and family fights, and we forget about the most important person. Yourself. No grade is worth your mental health getting bad. If it feels too much, take the day off, regroup, and you'll find it much easier to deal with life.

Now that is by no means an exhaustive list, and may not work for everyone. I've merely listed things that have helped me in the past, in the hope that they may help someone else. I'm no professional or equipped to tell you what's best, I'm just someone who knows what it's like and wants to help. Just be kind to yourself, because you deserve it.

If you found this useful and would like me to write anymore posts on topics like this, let me know down below. Equally, if you hated this, let me know too! I want to know if doing posts on heavy topics works or not. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them and I will reply very soon. Normal beauty blogging will resume tomorrow.

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1 comment:

  1. I’m in love with your blog! It was so interesting to read your posts and also I’d like to say that you have beautiful photos!
    I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!)
    p.s. new post - how I met Victoria Beckham

    Diana Cloudlet