Depression, anxiety, and general mental health control your entire life. My husband spent the last 10 years fighting through his depression and is here to share 8 ways to positively battle depression.
As Laura and I transition this blog into our family space, we are sharing more about the last 10 years of our lives and how depression and anxiety have had a huge impact. My goal is to help other people that are struggling through these dark times, find the resources, strength and personal drive to get through.
Please make sure to read more about my personal story with depression and how it affected our family. It is long, but in sharing my story, I hope that someone else will find the strength to get the help they needed.
8 Ways to Positively Battle Depression
I battled hard, really hard, for the last 10 years to get through the crippling depression and anxiety. Every single day is a battle and I know that in order to stay on the winning end of this, I need to continue to find my happiness and focus on the important things in my life. Below is a list of 8 things that I employ to positively battle my depression.
1. Stay Busy
It seems so easy to do, but I have found that if I make a list of things that need to be accomplished and I do them, then I am able to keep a positive outlook. I know how hard it is to get out of bed everyday and that is always on my list and from there I just build throughout the day and keep my body active and my mind busy. The less I lay around, the less depressed I feel.
2. Open Up
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things that I have done is open up to everyone around me about my depression. I no longer hide behind the shame and the toxic masculinity associated with depression. Opening up has been freeing and allowing my friends, family and yes, even the internet into my life has really helped build a community around me that I never knew I needed and a support system that is incredible. If you are going through depression, open up, share your story, your entire story. Do it often and to whoever will listen, your community will build and will rally.
3. Reconnect with my Spouse
Often when people go through depression, they begin to push people away. More often than not, the people they push away the most are their spouses. I did this as well and I felt like my wife was judging me for not being the person that she needed. In reality, my thoughts were not justified and communicating with her, going to therapy with her and making sure she understood what I was going through and how it was affecting not just me, but our family really helped us reconnect. I needed her support more than anything and she was there for it, all I had to do, was pull her back in and reconnect.
4. Change Jobs
One of the scariest parts of my depression and anxiety was that I was often unable to work. It was debilitating and something that I was unable to communicate. Money is a huge driver for anyone and when you work a job where you made A LOT of it, it is terrifying to walk away to the unknown. I did just that 3 months ago and it changed everything. Sure finances are different now, but I am working, I am happy, I am bringing that motivation and happiness back into our home and money cannot buy that.
5. Relax Your Mind
You have to make your own happiness. As someone with anxiety and depression, relaxing my mind and removing those negative and sad thoughts from my constant thoughts was very difficult. I found that I needed to do things that relaxed my mind and brought joy. Gardening and pulling weeds, fishing with my son, tinkering on cars and cooking have all been very relaxing to me and brought a lot of joy into my life.
6. Choosing Family
Depression and anxiety can cause someone to make very bad choices that have far reaching impacts. Some turn to drugs, some step out on their marriage, some end it all. I am not innocent in my choices, but the best choice that I made was to choose my family. To let go of the anger, sadness and grudges I was holding and choose to walk forward with the woman I chose to love and the children that I created. I chose my family over everything and that made all the difference.
7. Get Out There
Monotony was a killer for me. Same schedule, same routine, same everything for years on end. It was part of my job (see #4 above) and it was destructive. One of the best things we have focused on this year is traveling. It doesn’t have to be anywhere extravagant and it doesn’t have to cost a ton either. Go camping, take a day trip around your state, stay with friends and family, find one of those “lowest fares flights” and sneak away. Break those routines and travel more. It really helps and it gives us something to look forward to.
8. Get Help
Absolutely the biggest thing that I tell people when they ask me how I got through my depression was that I got help. You need help, you cannot do this alone and that is ok. There are thousands of resources (free ones too) for you to access to help you work through whatever is causing your depression. For me it was a no nonsense PTSD therapist, which was the latest in a LONG list of therapists that I have tried to connect with. It took time and it took the right person, but keep trying, keep getting that help and keep working on yourself. YOU WILL GET THERE.
These ways to positively battle depression have helped me find my happiness. I hope they help you too.