It seems like chronic illness and depression go hand in hand. As if we don't have enough on our plates, chronic pain exacerbates depression and depression exacerbates chronic pain. It's a vicious circle that's hard to get out of.
I was diagnosed with major depression when I was 19 and have been on and off (mostly on) antidepressants most of my life - especially after my systemic sclerosis diagnosis in 2006.
Major depression isn't something we can wish away with 'mind over matter'. It's not going to go away by 'changing our thinking', exercising, eating healthy or taking a supplement. Major depression never really goes away. It just abates for periods of time and requires medication, professional therapy and lots and lots of perseverance and effort. Basically, there is no 'cure' only treatment.
There are varying degrees of depression that can change daily, even hourly. People who suffer with depression can feel when they are about to fall into the abyss. Meaning, that black hole where one becomes virtually catatonic and even moving is a monumental effort.
All that being said, there are things we can do to help fend off a depressive episode.
1. Get up. Move around and get your blood pumping
2. Change of scenery. Go outside and get some fresh air
3. Sunshine. If the sun is out, go sit in it for awhile
4. Eat something. Comfort food. Just don't make it a habit
5. Aromatherapy. Spray on your favorite perfume, light scented candles
6. Ambiance. Open your blinds and let the light in. At night, use string lights and light candles
7. Distraction. Watch your favorite comedy/sitcom/sports on tv,
do a crossword puzzle
8. Write. Keep a journal of your feelings. Write down how you feel in the moment
9. Cry. Just have a good one. Let it all out.
10. Cook. Or bake something that makes the house smell good
11. Take a shower or a long bath
12. Snuggle your pet
13. Color or draw
14. Chocolate. Need I say more?
15. Force yourself to clean/pick up the house. Something that takes little effort but makes a big impact
16. Go for a drive
17. Pull weeds. Very satisfying
18. Talk to a friend/online support group.
20. Shop. If you have money. Just don't make it a habit
I hope these strategies help someone. They are also good for beating the basic blues or temporary sadness.