Depression: "One to Ten and Then Some"
What are some of the things someone who is depressed can do that might be helpful?
Scale 1–10 system
Begin to become aware of your ‘daily levels’. Create a scale from 1 to 10.
One (1) would be the low end level of how depressed you are feeling; for instance, you’re really good, barely aware of any feelings of depression etc. Ten would be the top end level of how depressed you are feeling; extreme feelings of depression, complete hopelessness, feelings or thoughts of suicide. The numbers in between one and ten would represent the various levels of depression.
This process really takes some monitoring are your part. Being aware of your feelings; taking inventory or keeping a record (which I will cover shortly). It won’t be long before you will recognize your levels and be able to rate it on the scale from 1 – 10 with very little effort. This will not only help you but also it can become a good tool for you to use when trying to communicate with someone how your depression level is going.
Begin journaling, this is a process of writing down (either by hand or typing it on your computer, recording it on a tape player if you are unable to use your hands well) of what you are feeling on a daily basis. This will also help you to learn to identify and relate those feelings to the scale 1-10 system I mentioned above. You can also review your previous day, week etc progress. You may also begin to notice a pattern of depression according to your physical health or even the weather (some people suffer from SAD, Seasonal Depression Disorder, the sun light or rather lack thereof can affect your moods). You will also discover you will have the ability to share those feelings with your counselor or with the person you have agreed to become accountable to more easily. This will also prove to be a great tool of recollection to see your progress as you move forward.
Set reasonable goals for each day; write them down so you can see your progress. Please remember keep it simple. Try not to procrastinate; this only causes you to feel like you can’t “measure up”, which gives you feelings of failure… remember keep it simple!!!
If you are extremely depressed you first goal of the day, may be just getting out of bed and getting dressed. So some of you reading this might say: “are you for real?”, trust me on this one, those who deal with severe depression, just getting out of bed in the morning and getting dressed may be a major step.
Make some commitments
Ok so I KNOW this one is a huge step for some and I have been there more times that I would like to admit.
Some ideas of commitment to get you up and out might be:
Your job would be an obvious reason to get out of bed and out of the house. Perhaps help someone with a special project. Check with the local schools to volunteer a couple days out of the week. Look into assisting elders to and from their doctor visits. Read to the elderly or the blind. Maybe start a ‘morning coffee group’, just get together with friends several mornings a week to meet for coffee. This could be at your home or at a local diner. There are many other opportunities to reach out to others and lend a hand. Get out and walk, run, exercise… but get out of the house even if it’s just sitting in the sun for a little while at first.