10 Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Depression and Anxiety.

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“Soon madness has worn you down. It’s easier to do what it says than argue. In this way, it takes over your mind. You no longer know where it ends and you begin. You believe anything it says. You do what it tells you, no matter how extreme or absurd. If it says you’re worthless, you agree. You plead for it to stop. You promise to behave. You are on your knees before it, and it laughs.”
Marya Hornbacher, Madness: A Bipolar Life

Cool, so first things first, Depression and Anxiety come in many forms, all unique to those experiencing them. What works for me, might not work for you… If you feel worthless, this will probably hit close to home, if you're depression is more akin to loneliness, maybe it will hit home too…

Who am I? That's probably what you're asking yourself… Like who the fuck is this guy giving advice on a pandemic that affects millions of people each year. Well, honestly, I’m a nobody, just your average everyday guy that has dealt with, and managed, some times better than other times, depression and anxiety over the last 29yrs of his life. I have no formal education on the subject, and I can say that I still don't have it all figured out. But if this helps you out, who cares.

Tip #1. Take Advantage of the Ups, and Organize your life.

With this, it becomes extremely important for you to take advantage of the ups, that little window you have where you feel human. During this window it’s your chance to start building your liferaft, putting together that flotation device that will help you stay above water/ resurface the next time you are pulled down.

Scheduling is my go-to for building my liferaft. There are a few things that make up my liferaft which include.

  • Early mornings, I wake up extremely early, the reason behind this is it allows me to control my day with less chance of anything rocking the boat.
  • Morning gym sessions, my gym session give me an additional win which curves the feeling of worthlessness. Sometimes I yell in my car “I’m on a winning streak”(I stole that from some guy on linked in, Charlie, I think) It helps when I’m feeling like shit, sometimes.
  • Projects, I’m always working on something that keeps my mind excited, whether that is working towards the next level at work or building a side business; It lights the spark.

The above arent meant for you, they work for me. The point is, organize your day around yourself. A lot of anxiety, for me at least, is wrapped around not having enough time and overthinking everything which can be paralyzing. Creating a schedule and consistency will help you not fall as deep into the hole and provide a way to keep above water.

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Tips #2. Stop apologizing for who you are.

If you’re hurting those around you physically or with nasty words, that's one thing, and there is help to deal with those things, but be sure that those around you arent completely toxic. You are dealing with your own fight, you don't need to be fighting with other people or be involved in any of their drama. You are allowed to be silent, to pull away, to spend time on your own, to not hang out with friends, you go and eat alone… You don’t need to be anyone's friend, commit yourself to things you don't want to be committed to, YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO BE YOU! This was one of the most liberating things I realized and was a key factor that led to my sobriety; 1yr next month, but who’s counting.

  • Be unapologetically clear with friends and family about your ground rules.
  • If you have to be in a situation that you don't want to be in, It helps if you have an “escape plan”; You can leave.
  • For those of us with spouses; get them on your team, it may take time for them to understand where you're coming from, but with consistency, they might come around.

You’re happiness and sanity matter, you being yourself isn't going to kill someone else; but you not being yourself may kill you.

Tip #3 Ownership

Imagine living in a world where no one else has any effect on you, you are the master of your trajectory and nothing anyone else can do has any effect on you.

This is Ownership, It doesn't matter who’s fault something is, what happened in the past, what's happening in the present, for your own sanity, take control of it. It's debilitating living in a world where you're waiting for others to change. It's liberating when you realize that you can change yourself and your responses to others.

Other people do not care about what they have done or how they make you feel… But what does this have to do with anything you may be asking yourself… Owning every situation gives you a path to correction, you cannot change the world around you nearly as quickly as you can change yourself. This will give you more mental clarity as you will be able to deal with the problem from your own perspective rather than hope someone else sees the issues in the same way you do and is also willing to make changes themselves. This ownership is also a huge tool for when you feel like shit, If you start thinking it's your environment's fault, you lose. Own it. Work the muscle.

Tip #4 Wear headphones

Headphones are a lifesaver. Put on some DMX and grab those groceries with a purpose, or maybe throw on some calming T-Swift and glide down the isles as you have nowhere to be (which you probably don't, you just can't deal with crowds… can my insurance cover curbside pickup?)

This tip isn't as intense as the last ones, but trust me, it makes life better. I need to get some affiliate links… I use some Bose wireless headphones.

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” — Ernest Hemingway… The above photo kind of illustrates what emptiness feels like... Like what is the point? And how are the masses content with Sunday football and the latest drama over Kim K’s ass (my age is showing, do people still follow Kim?)

Tip #5 Brainwash yourself

https://ibpf.org/70000-thoughts-per-day/ (first google result for fact-checking myself)https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/the-70-000-thoughts-per-day-myth(the fourth result… i’ll read this later)

If this sounds crazy, give me a “WFTAYTA”, in the comments below.

If you want to change, you need to do different things, change requires changes. This deserves its own book, but the identity you have based on your consumption dictates how you deal with different situations, those suffering from Depression need to be extremely careful with what they are consuming.

Tip #6 Watch what you are Eating.

Unfortunately, just like an expensive car, your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium fuel. If substances from “low-premium” fuel (such as what you get from processed or refined foods) get to the brain, it has little ability to get rid of them. Diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to worsening your body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.

I consider myself a high-performing car, I can go faster than most, I have potential, but if I put the wrong fuels into my body and mind, things start breaking.

Tip #7 Recognizing Triggers/Red Flags

These things will differ from person to person, just pay close attention to the precursors of your episodes of depression and have an open mind that they may be actual red flags. A lot of people are living in a haze with zero awareness or care of why they do what they do and what the underlying reasons are that a lot of the time they are the catalyst to their own hardships.

If you find yourself in this situation, try writing down what you are feeling and reflect on your goals. You need to figure out what things in your life aren't currently working on and experiment with things that may help. A lot of learning to deal with depression is self-experimentation. Know thy self. It's really key. Depression might not go away, instead of dampening the experience, it's wise to figure out how to work with it.

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Tip #8 Silence

One thing I highly recommend is Floatation Therapy/Sensory Deprivation/Isolation Chambers.

^ These are tanks filled with 1,000 pounds of epsom salt water, the water is set to body temperature as is the air surrounding you, you are given silicon earbuds and you float for 30–90min. Each experience is unique to the individual and I don't want to hype it up too much, but it was a key life-changing experience and saved me after a rough divorce.

Tip # 9 Cut out Alcohol

You do not have to be anyone's friend, you do not have to entertain anyone, you are allowed to be in control of your life.

These three statements changed the way i conduct myself and I can say after 11months that there hasn't been a single morning when I woke up and wished that i had gone out with friends or drank the night before. And with that, i will extend this tip to include

Tip #9.5 Change your circle —

I have recreated myself multiple times and when you do this, decide to change, you have to be very careful that you do not fill the space you have created with the same things that defined who you were previously. My rule is 6months. I do not allow anyone into my life without knowing them for 6months and having a decent feel for what I am getting myself into.

Some questions to ask:

  • Does this person bring value to my life?
  • Does this person have the same values as me?
  • Do i have the emotional bandwidth to deal with this person?
  • If you were to stop being the person this person wants you/ expects you to be would they still want you around?

Tip #10 Get help

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels. Really though, reach out if you want to talk or if there's anything I can do for you.