How does a therapist get through dark times? Megan Bruneau is a therapist and life coach who tries to help people overcome depression in all its forms. But even specialists in mental health can experience the dreaded downward spiral. Having witnessed first hand the ruthlessness of loss, heartbreak, and other depressive episodes give her more credit than ever to provide advice on how to pull ourselves together when we’re in a million pieces.
Not only does depression take your smile away and makes your heart bleed, it impacts your physical abilities too. There are days when putting on makeup and getting your hair done is an actual achievement. Or taking a stroll through a grocery store. Sometimes, washing your face and putting on clean clothes make you feel really proud of yourself.
Personal and professional goals wash out with the speed of sound, leaving you high and dry. Let alone being productive, that’s something that even on your good days doesn’t work out.
Let’s have a look at these tips for coping with depression, powered by a therapist. Bruneau teaches us how to regain composure when we’re a total mess.
1. Leave the house
Stop believing the little voice in your head that’s telling you “Nobody wants to be around you”, “Who likes a downer?”, “Stalk your crush (with whom there’s absolutely and technically no chance of a romance) on social media”. Working from home seems like a good idea but it can very fast turn into a husky challenge that, coupled with shame and a bit of heartbreak, make you a binge-watching couch potato who orders in. Pull yourself together and get out of your apartment, towards a coffee shop, library or co-working space.
2. Lower your expectations
You must lower your expectations for performance. You’re not functioning at full speed, you’re not at all at your best so why would you want to achieve the best results? If you’re 30% there, expect 30% of what you would normally get. Thinking otherwise will throw you again down the rabbit hole and you surely won’t get anything done. Setting realistic objectives will shield you from the anxiety spiral. Set specific, time-oriented, measurable goals which will eventually restore your self-confidence.
3. Take better care of yourself
Self-care is of utmost importance. When you’re down in the dumps, there are two ways you can take care of yourself. First is by emerging yourself in a distracting activity, one that demands your full concentration, like origami or learning to code. The other kind is to help process your emotions. Like writing in a journal or making art of some kind, painting or playing a musical instrument. The fact of the matter is that you have to do something for yourself every day, for healing and productivity both. And you must be cautious with your toxic companions, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, caffeine. They may help you numb your senses but can worsen the depressive symptoms.
4. Try to connect with others
When going through the deep waters of uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, heartache, and adversity, you tend to isolate yourself. Who wants to spend time with a downer, a buzzkill? Why would anyone want to hang around with a party pooper? Most people don’t and that’s why the decision to disconnect, to push others away and to deal with problems all on your own it’s understandable. Be that as it may, it’s almost vital to be around people, as long as they care for you and you can be yourself in their presence, in all your messy glory.
Read more advice from Megan Bruneau on her blog.
If you have a friend who’s going through tough times, be there for him. And share this post!