I have been thinking about this a bit lately because I have been depressed on and off. Once upon a time I couldn’t recognise when I was depressed, I just was, but now I can. I don’t know what the change is but I am now much more aware of my moods and feelings and as a result can act on those feelings to try and bring my mood up before it gets too low.
So how do I know that I am depressed? Two things stick out at me.
When I am depressed I don’t take care of myself. I can go all week without taking a shower. Gross I know but I am told that is extremely common in depression. It just takes too much energy that you don’t have to get yourself out of bed and in the shower. Luckily this doesn’t happen too often!
When I have a normal mood I sing in the car. I love my radio station with the crappy pop songs that I can sing along to in the privacy of my car. No one else can hear me so I blast it out at the top of my voice. I think I sound great but I also think I am a little out of touch with reality! When my mood is down I don’t sing. Even when a catchy tune comes on that I love I just can’t summon up the energy. With depression car journeys are silent.
That’s how I know when I am depressed. If I know I am getting depressed can I stop myself? Sometimes, not always. If I am just feeling a little blue there are things I do to help me snap out of it and stop me sinking further down. The main one is journaling, or in my case writing this blog. I find it so useful in helping to manage my depression. Just getting thoughts and feeling out there is very cathartic and really beneficial to my wellbeing.
If I am more than a little depressed it’s not so easy to drag myself back out of it, but by using journaling I can usually stop myself sinking so low that I’m at the point where I can’t get out of bed. I usually function pretty well even with depression.
One day I would like to wake up and get out of bed and feel well. I can’t remember what that’s like. Every single day of my life I get up and feel ill. It might be the aches and pains of Fibromyalgia, headache or sore eyes. Every day there is something and it’s really starting to wear me down.
I feel better just from writing this so journaling really does help to regulate mood – give it a go you might enjoy it!