Showing posts with label help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label help. Show all posts


What to do When You're Depressed

Whether you are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or going through a personal crisis, or honestly if you're just human--you'll be depressed at times. The depression may range from mild blues to not being able to get out of bed. So, what do you do when you find yourself in a position where everything seems gray and like nothing will ever get better? I have a few tips today that might help you out. Everyone experiences depression in different ways, so these won't necessarily apply to everyone. However, I truly believe that at least one of these tips can help you out in a time of depression.

What to do When You're Depressed:

Step 1. Rate your symptoms. I usually do this on a "1 to 10" scale, one being the worst, ten being the best:

      10. Things are perfectly awesome. No need to worry.
        9. Things are pretty great. Not everything is perfect, but you're getting along just fine.
        8. Things are pretty good. Not too much to complain about, though nothing is perfect.
        7. Things are good, but getting closer to the "meh" side of things. You're trudging along and having a pretty good time for the most part.
        6. Things aren't necessarily the best. They aren't bad, but they aren't good. Things aren't quite going your way and you're a bit discouraged at times.
        5. Things are "meh". You don't really want to do much, but you go about your daily routine out of necessity, hoping things will get better.
        4. Things aren't very good. You consider calling in sick to work because you're just not feeling up to handling life today. You follow most of routine, but it is extremely difficult.
        3. You call in sick to work and to all of your obligations. You can't seem to get out of bed. You have a constant stream of negative thoughts that you can't seem to push away. Everything that usually sounds good doesn't sound good at all. Your body feels heavy and you mind feels sluggish. If you go to a psychiatrist, now might be a good time to call your doctor, or to call your therapist.
        2. You are extremely low. All of the symptoms of 3 plus suicidal thoughts and feelings. You almost feel numb at times. You definitely should call your doctor and/or therapist.If you don't have a psychiatrist, call your normal general physician.
        1. You are making suicide plans. At this point, you should call you doctor and go into the hospital.

(Now, I am no medical or psychiatric professional. This scale is based on my own personal experiences, so please keep that in mind.)

Step 2. Now that you have rated where you're at, you'll be able to make the necessary adjustments to start feeling better. For the next steps 3-9, I'm going to address ratings 5 through 3. If you can't move past a step, congratulate yourself for making it to that step and rest. If later on you can keep pushing forward to the next step, great! If not, stay proud of yourself for accomplishing what you have.

Step 3. Stand up. It sounds silly, but just do it. Stand up and walk into a different room. Getting your blood flowing will surprisingly help your mood.

Step 4. Take a shower or change your clothes. Taking a shower always helps me clear my head a bit and relax. If you aren't up to a shower, change your clothes. Changing your clothes helps your mind recognize that you're trying to change up your perspective.

Step 5. Get ready for the day, even if you aren't going to leave your bed. Feeling ready can help you feel accomplished and better about yourself. Whenever I'm having a bad day, I try to make it to this step. If I make it to this step, I feel somewhat better, even if I don't move onto step 6.

Step 6. Get outside. Even if you just step out onto your porch, get outside for just a minute. Cabin fever is a real thing, my friends. Getting a tiny bit of fresh air for just a minute can do wonders.

Step 7. Go somewhere. Go on a walk. Go on a drive. One of my favorite things to do is to go to Sonic and grab a Diet Coke. Not necessarily a "healthy" habit, but it gets me out of my house and helps me feel better.

Step 8. Try to do one act of service. Text a friend you know is having a hard time. Call a family member and tell them you love them. Don't yell at the person who cuts you off. (That's my kind of service) Give a dollar or two to that person on the corner. Do something. Do something for someone, no matter how small.

Step 9. Move on to doing what obligations you can for the rest of the day. Do what you can, then get some rest. Sleep is important for mental health, especially for those who suffer from MDD or other disorders.

Now, for ratings 2-1:

Step 3. Call a trusted friend or family member and alert them to what is going on. Even if you're afraid to or don't want to "bug them". Please just call them. It is important to have a support system. (If you feel like you don't have anyone to turn to, you can email me!

Step 4. Call your doctor, therapist, and/or the suicide hotline. 1-800-273-8255. Don't stay dwelling on suicidal thoughts and feelings. Now is the time to get help. Be brave enough to pick up the phone and get the help you need.

Step 5. Follow the directions of your friend/family member, doctor, therapist, or other professional you got in touch with.

Now, I'm not a professional when it comes to these things. However, I do have a lot of experience. I have a lot of experience with not being able to get out of bed. I am well versed in negative thoughts that hold me back from being happy. I know what it's like to feel like gravity is dragging me down and that nothing will ever get better. But I also know that these steps help! They have helped me overcome depression day to day, and I think they'll help you too.

Do you have any other tips? Comment them below!


Learning to Ask for Help

I was raised on a boat. Not literally, but basically. Ever since I can remember, my family has had a boat. It's not a fancy boat, just big enough for a family and fast enough to ski or wakeboard behind. When I was little, I would run my hand along its black and yellow stripes as I wiped it down with vinegar water after a day on the lake. I have memories of clinging to a tube as it flew wildly behind our boat as my dad whipped around in a circle. I remember countless adventures up tiny canyons at Lake Powell, seeing how far we could get in the boat before we started hitting the red, sandstone walls. I remember late evenings when the sun was just sinking below the horizon. We would turn on the outboard lights and watch my dad get one last ski in, water curving in arcs behind his ski as he cut to and fro across the wake. Yup, I was raised on a boat.

To be raised on a boat, you have to know the rules. My dad's rules are always the same: Sit down when the boat is moving, keep an eye out for obstacles and let him know about them, and have fun. But there were other rules, other intricacies to being a "real" boater. Things like always wipe the boat down when it is still a little wet. Rinse your feet off in the lake water before jumping back into the boat. Keep the ropes from getting tangled. Hold onto your hat so it doesn't fly away. The kind of rules that were more nuances to boating than actual rules.Other rules we were taught were federal rules. Rules like: only twelve people on the boat. Children under twelve had to wear a life jacket. Follow no-wake zone postings. Stay far away from other boats and swimmers.

One very important federal rule had to do with the orange flag that every skiing vessel is required to have. When someone is in the water near the boat, an orange flag must be clearly visible to other water vessel operators so that they know that there is someone to be wary of. When a boat is in distress, the orange flag is to be waved to notify other boaters so that they can assist the endangered boaters. Basically, the orange flag serves two purposes: 1. to warn and 2. to ask for help.

Here's what I'm getting at with this long intro: in life, how often do we wave our orange flag when our boat is sinking? Do we wave it wildly, signaling to other boaters that we need help? Or do we stick it in the side compartment on the boat and resign ourselves to floundering in the water, risking drowning or injury? I think in general, we tend to do the latter. Asking for help is to many people too much. Pride, conventions, fear, etc. get in the way of asking for much needed assistance. We don't want to be a burden, we can just tough it out, we don't want people to think we are weak...the excuses go on and on. Asking for help has become a shameful thing in society. Waving the orange flag has become obscene and embarrassing. Well, that has to change.

When you (or those you love) are dealing with a mental illness of some sort, you are probably going to find yourself in a spot when you need help. You might be able to take care of it yourself (might) but more often than not, you're going to need some sort of help. Let me tell you a quick story about my experience with asking for help:

Too many times, I haven't asked for help. Last school year, I was drowning. I saw my boat going down but I was too prideful to get help. By the time I decided to whip out my orange flag, my boat was pretty much all the way submerged. I had to quit my job and withdraw from a class, among other things. I ended up failing a class and finishing the semester with less than a 2.0 and was put on academic warning. I was barely making it out of my apartment, I wasn't eating right, I was spending money erratically, and I was just a downright mess. But I didn't ask for help. The people closest to me did what they could from what I told them. I didn't let too many people know just how bad things were, including my parents. The ones who knew did the best they could to help, but in general I didn't let them. When I finally told my parents how bad it was, they were heartbroken that I hadn't asked for help sooner. I let my mental illness overtake me and I lost control.

Fast forward to this past month. It has been extremely difficult for me getting back in to school. I have experienced a lot of issues and challenges that I wasn't anticipating. However, remembering my experience last year, I asked for help sooner this time. Obviously, I'm still doing some damage control. I've lost some footing in school that I'm trying to get back. I've tried to humble myself and ask my parents, my doctor, my counselor, and my closest friends for help. So far, so good. Waving my orange flag is paying off.

What does this mean for you? It means that when you need help, ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in it. When you feel yourself sinking, turn to those you trust most. That could be your parents, siblings, ecclesiastical leaders, doctors--you name it. But start with someone who you know can support you. The sooner you get help, the better off you will be. Trying to save yourself without help only tends to aggravate the problem. You've got to get help to get better.

How do you know when you need help? Watch your gauges! When a boat is running out of gas, it will show on the gauge. Same goes for you--when you're running out of steam, your body is going to start telling you that. It's different for everyone, so you just have to pay attention to your mind and body to start picking up on what it's telling you. For me, I know that I'm starting to hit rock bottom when I don't sleep as well, when I start indulging in risky behavior, when I start missing classes and work because of anxiety, when I start eating a lot less than usual, and when I get headaches. It has taken me some time to figure out that these are warning signs for me, but now that I have figured them out, I use them to gauge when I need to start waving my flag.

This is kind of a long post, but the bottom line is that asking for help is not a shameful thing. It helps you stay healthy and happy, It is a hard thing to do, but it is worth it in the end. Don't ever feel alone. There are so many resources! Here are some:

  • Family members 
  • Friends
  • Doctors (normal physicians are a great place to start)
  • Counselors
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
  • Me! Yes, me. I am always willing to listen and help you out. You don't even have to tell me who you are. Email me at:
Don't be me. Don't wait so long to ask for help that you are already sunk. If you already feel like you are sunk and it isn't worth it, I promise you it is. No matter how bad it seems, you can always pick up the pieces with the right help. You just have to ask.


Just so you know.

Sometimes, I feel like I am a monster. I feel like I am a pit of despair, a walking rain cloud, a tornado of emotions. I feel like all I do is drag those around me down and into my mess. I am hard to be around, and I know it. Often, I take my feelings out on the ones I love most. I lash out and I get irritable, even when they're just trying to help. I am the kind of girl who professes to wear her heart on her sleeve, but I really put up walls and push people away through my actions and my words. So to my loved ones, just so you know, I love you more than I can say.

Just so you know:

Family--Mom, I've seen your tears when you're hurting because I'm hurting, when you're holding me even though I'm 21 years old. I've heard your prayers on my behalf as you kneel at your bedside. Dad, I've seen the love and concern in your eyes as you help me find the professional help I need. I've heard the love in your voice when you call me and talk me down, and even offer to drive down to Provo just to give me a hug. Shelby, Sadie, and Amberly; I've seen your maturity as you handle my episodes with love and understanding. I've felt your love as you hug me and laugh with me and listen to me.

Friends--I've seen your love as you for still stick by my side even though I change a lot. I've seen you go out of your way to let me know that I'm loved even when I don't go out of my way to do the same. I've cried on your shoulders and dumped all my emotions on you. I've seen the texts, read the notes, listened to your words of support.

So to those who support loved ones with a mental illness, I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that they appreciate you more than you can ever know. Just so you know: they love you. They care about what you say, what you're doing for them. They feel your support and your prayers. Maybe they don't realize all of these things, but it's true.

Please, don't give up on me. Don't give up on those you love. Keep fighting for them, keep pushing them to get healthy. Keep up your prayers, your love, and your understanding. We need you. Without the support that I have, I wouldn't be where I am today and I know they wouldn't be either. Your efforts are never wasted. Even the smallest of things can make the biggest of impacts, just so you know.