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5 Habits That Might Be Making Your Depression Worse

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This past few weeks have been very difficult for me. I constantly had sleepless nights. I’ve spent days lying in bed, staring at the ceiling with a million thoughts rushing through my head — depression was eating me alive, again. I felt like I was a prisoner, trapped in my own body, chained in my own thoughts. I wanted everything to just stop. I wanted to scream. I wanted to get up, but depression was consuming every bit of life left in me. I’ve had this episode for weeks. I was trapped in a living nightmare. Though I know that stress was the main reason I was in this place, I’ve come to realize some of my daily habits were dragging me back into depression.

And I wanted to share these with you. That’s why today, I have decided to share with you five habits that are making my depression worse.

Check them out and join me in my journey of fighting depression one day at a time!

1. Dwelling on Stressful Situations

Oftentimes, stress is what pushes me back to my dark days. It drags me back into this deep hole where depression chains me.

When a stressful event arises, we usually dwell on it. Instead of finding options to fix and deal with it, we choose to think about it over and over again. And doing this was eating me alive.

When you have depression, coping with stressful situations can be extra difficult. That’s what it is for me. But we have to learn to fight back and find a way to manage stress better. So, I started to recognize the things or actions that make me feel calmer, actions that’ll help separate me from my thoughts and I looked for ways to implement those in my way of managing stress — doing this helped me a lot.

2. Avoiding Sunlight

I hated seeing any trace of sunlight beaming through my windows because this meant I had to get through yet another painful day. So, I placed thick curtains over my windows to hide from the sun. Little did I know, this did more harm than good. It was only when my sister decided to get rid of my thick curtains that I realized avoiding the sunlight was not helping at all. Being able to see the sunrise or even letting a little sunlight in made me feel better. As cliché as this may sound, it gave me hope – hope that maybe today will be different. It may not have completely made everything OK, but it made everything feel lighter.

3. Avoiding Physical Activity

When you’re living with depression, even the simplest task, like getting out of bed, is a constant challenge. Taking a shower is a chore and staying in bed is always a go-to.

It’s not because we’re lazy or we are just choosing not to, it’s because we literally can’t. But the more I let depression chain me to my bed, the more I’m giving it control over me and the worse I feel. For instance, the other day I was having yet another dark day. I was lying in bed and staring blankly at nothing, then I let my sister talk me into going swimming. Though it took all the energy left in me to say yes and do it, it made me feel so much better. I laughed and everything felt lighter. Try to stand up and do something that makes you feel good. I know it’s difficult and sometimes quite impossible, but it’s worth it. So, start small and set small goals, if you feel like you can still do another thing after completing one task, then add one more task. As long as you’re trying, that’s more than enough. 

4. Watching the News

I loved watching the news. I find it entertaining and I love knowing what’s happening with the world. But after being diagnosed with depression, watching so much negativity and seeing how unfair life is just made me hate living more. Not only does seeing all the crimes and accidents trigger my anxiety, it just worsens my depression. Sure, being informed is a good thing but the feeling I get after watching it is just not worth it.

5. Social Isolation

When life gets too overwhelming and when your depression is eating you alive, talking to someone or reaching out for support can feel like an impossible task. I understand how difficult it is to ask for help when even getting out of bed feels like an impossible chore. But having a support system is exactly what we need during this time.

I also had this fear of opening up to someone and asking for their help. I feared that people would either dismiss what I was feeling or judge me. But when I started to slowly let people in, I realized that not everyone will judge you. They may not understand what you are feeling but they will be there for you, they will be there to listen.

While changing these bad habits may not completely make my depression go and stay away, it does make it a whole lot easier. And for me, that is enough. So, recognize those habits that are feeding your depression and start by changing them one day at a time.

Keep fighting, we can do this!

Unsplash photo via Ben Sweet

Follow this journey on Tickled Think

Originally published: January 19, 2019
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