10 things to help depression

Excuse me, I am more writing to myself than anyone else. It helps to make lists some times.  By the way, they are in no particualr order of importance, just as they occurred to me. I’m having trouble concentrating properly right now.

#1. Vigorous exercise of some kind. Not the easiest thing when all you want to do is crawl under the covers. Solution: get a dog. A dog will probably ensure that you get out for a brisk walk at least a couple of times a week. Exercise is up there on the list of things it can be impossible to do without someone else motivating you. A dog might just be the motivator. Mine was, until she got cancer 7 months ago and has slowed down.

#2. Physical contact. Massage is good, hugs are better. That said, I am not a touchy feely person generally and only within certain bounds I set for myself(which are often illogical when I try to explain; but to sum up its probably about INSTINCT.) My boss gave me an unsolicited hug and kiss on Monday and I felt like decking him. Decking your boss= a bad thing. A really, really bad thing…..

#3. This one is purely personal. Vast amounts of smoke. I don’t smoke and never have but I do love incense a lot. There’s a lot of evidence for the benefits of incense. My favourite is a Coptic one called God’s Smile (available from the Pan’s Pantry link on my Cool shopping list) which is used to treat depression. I’ve just used the very last of my supply a few minutes ago and am beginning to panic about it.

#4. Essential oils. Certain essential oils have intense properties of relieving depression. The same oils  carry a enormous price tag; Some neroli(orange blossom oil) retails at over £1 per drop. For what it’s worth, you get about 20 drops per millilitre. Years ago, in a very black spot, I tried to get a single drop of neroli out of the tiny vial, and in my haste, spilled half of it on the bathroom surface. Objecting to waste, I wiped it up with my hair like Mary Magdalene, and went off, to deliver child to school, intending myself severe harm later. By the time I’d driven the seven miles to school, the aroma had begun to lift me and halfway home I was singing a sea shanty. Other oils are also very powerful. Jasmine, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, lavender and most of the citrus oils are good. I’d recommend Valerie Ann Worwood’s The Fragrant Mind for further study. 

#5. Spending time in nature. Combined with exercise, if you can actually get beyond your front door, sunshine and fresh air can get you through some bad times. Again, refer to #1 for motivator

#6 Watching something funny. Many mental hospitals are using humourous dvds to treat patients with great effect. The simple act of smiling for more than 20 seconds produces feel good endorphins. Laughter is even better.

#7 Talking to someone who knows and loves you and you can trust. If there isn’t anyone, at all, try the Samaritans or some similar organisation. They’re trained to care , true but I’ve only ever found kindness and understanding there. You don’t get through the training otherwise. If all else fails, revert to #1: dogs are good listeners.

#8 Do something for someone else. Practise random acts of senseless kindness, like leaving flowers for the nurses at the local hospital.

#9 Music. This is sometimes a bad move if you tend to gravitate to certain kinds of music. Go to a music store and find something a bit different. I found a cd of Italian baroque improvisations which lifts me every time I hear it.

#10 Remembering that this, too, will pass. Knowing, even if you have to write it on post-it notes and leave it everywhere, that even the darkest days will eventually pass,  is a strange comfort when you can’t imagine anything other than the current pain, but it is a comfort.

#11……over to you….?        

I’m off to either walk the dog or put on a funny dvd.