I got diagnosed with depression when I was 18 but the illness came 10 years prior to actually having a doctor confirming it. Contrary to my belief, it also never actually went away; it just became smaller and manageable.
Since I have been so open with my recovery and why I am so passionate about self-care (especially for vegans), I want to tell you about 3 things that you must do after you get diagnosed with depression.
I don’t want to talk about your monthly checkups with a doctor or taking anti-depressives – that is the doctors’ job. What I want to talk about are some of the things that can really help with the recovery but you rarely hear about them.
I am not a professional nor am I a scientist who studies what is happening in the brain. I am just a simple person who has lived through the worst that depression gives a human and I have managed to deal with it without letting it defeat me.
So what are the three things you must do after you get diagnosed with depression?
- Start a meditation practice. You have so many great resources out there that can help you start – I wrote about all of them here – and all you really need is the will to give it a try for a few weeks. Meditation has been a game-changer for me and sometimes I cry because I am so grateful that it exists – well, I mainly cry because I am so so grateful that Sam Harris exists because he changed my life with his book Waking Up.
- Start journaling about your recovery and things that are going well in your life. Many people who are depressed journal but they are mainly focused on the dark side of their life and what I want you to journal about is what works. What did you do today that you couldn’t do yesterday? Did someone manage to make you laugh so much that your stomach hurt? Did you go for a walk? What was the path like? Journal about what is going well and what you are turning around, because believe it or not you are actually making things better even if it looks like you are getting worse. There is always something good to journal about. There is always that tiny little thing that you think it doesn’t count but it really does.
- Start a project that helps you get out of your head for more than 3 minutes. What makes you feel good about your life for a short period of time? What can you do more of? What can you dedicate 3 minutes of your day to? Start doing that.
It’s a journey and every journey needs to be an adventure. Every journey needs to lead somewhere.
I know that when I was at my worst, I was paralysed. I was truly incapable of doing anything but sleep or watch TV to distract myself from my brokenness. I can’t help you with that; like I said before, your doctor knows much more about that than I do.
But when you feel just slightly better, just a teeny-tiny better, that’s where I come in and whistle out loud to get your attention and recommend you things that helped me.
I talk about my own journey of recovery from depression and anxiety here on my website and on Instagram. I want you to see that you can get better and that things are not as dark as they seem now – and I know for a fact you are moaning about how wrong I am as you are reading this.
I also wrote about countless other things that helped me when I first started to take care of myself when I was depressed in my FREE eBook From Feeling Low to Living Green. I poured my heart into it and I talk about every single thing that made me healthier and stronger. You can grab it here, it’s free.
I know that you may be powerless at the moment and you may be struggling to even go to the bathroom, but it will get better. It’s not just a cliché saying, it actually means that it will get better; as long as you continue making progress, of course.
Your mind may be running the show today, but one year from tomorrow, you may be in charge of the whole thoughts department. You can be the CEO is all I am saying.
Self-care is what helps us manage the worst of times. We may never be healed from any illness, mental or physical, but we can manage it to the point of making ourselves feel better. Just look at Kris Carr. She has been living with cancer for over a decade and she is a self-care champion!
Tell me now, which one of these three things can you start doing today?
If you want to see how seriously I am taking self-care and how I am progressing towards a much happier and mindful state of being, you can follow me on Instagram. I share tips, reflections, lessons and things that overall help me deal with nasty thoughts.
p.s. – If you are interested in learning about the vegan lifestyle and how to create one, here is a post that you will love.