It was right around the age of 14 that I realized I was depressed.
I had been struggling in school, struggling to get out of bed each morning due to an unusual amount of fatigue, and I was tearful and emotional each day.
I began taking antidepressants to treat the new symptoms, but I continued to struggle throughout my teens and early twenties to manage them adequately.
I had periods of wellness during this time, but each time the depression came back it got worse. I was never truly “recovered.”
After a particularly severe bout of depression during college, I decided to take a leave of absence and return home to live with my parents. During this time, I had all but succumbed to the depression. I had allowed the depression’s crushing weight to drown me day after day until I was almost a shell of a human being.
Miraculously, after about six months of letting life pass me by, and sitting on my parent’s couch, eating sugary, fat filled foods, I decided I needed a change of pace.
I realized my body was beginning to deteriorate. My muscles were deconditioning. They were slowly wasting away, and I was allowing it to happen. I don’t blame myself. I blame the soul crushing disease that is depression.
However, when you have depression, you need structure in order to heal.
Once I began going to regular physical therapy sessions, building up my strength, and fueling my body with more than just sugary comfort foods, I began to heal inwardly as well.
My sleep habits began to change on their own. I began to fall asleep at the same time each night (after going to sleep at the break of dawn, and waking at 4PM for months), and waking at the same time each morning.
From a regular sleep schedule, I had more energy, and with more energy I actually had the drive to do more with each passing day.
Depression does not heal on its own. It is a very complex disorder, and it is treatable. It’s going to take something different for each person, since it manifests differently in everyone, and each person is unique.
However, adding structure to your day is a great place to start.
For me, it was physical therapy twice a week, and gradually building onto my schedule from there.
Now I have a job and I’m in recovery from depression, which is something I would have never dreamed of a year ago…
For others, it may mean going to therapy twice weekly, something I did in addition to physical therapy.
Physical activity is something that helps immensely, but as someone with depression, I understand sometimes it is so difficult to even get the motivation to leave your bed. Even just a little movement can make a difference in your day. My suggestion is to use yoga as a starting point. Some simple stretching can be a great release.
Adding a little structure to your day and week can really make a difference in jump starting your recovery from depression. Find what feels best for you. You know yourself best. Be open to change, and be open to help. Be open to structure.