How routine helps us manage depression

It occurred to me as I was cleaning up, washing my hair, and deciding what to wear, how important the most seemingly trivial acts are in combating depression. I’ve written about this before but am reminding us all again, including me.  

morning routines
morning routines

This is something I’ve always done no matter how depressed I was feeling. (Unless, of course, I was  physically ill.) It was really difficult some days but I knew that staying in bed was never the answer. I had done enough research to know how counter-productive it is in managing depression.

And before you say to yourself, “She probably wasn’t as depressed as I am”, don’t be so quick to judge. Don’t be so quick to think you’re the only person who feels the way you do.

depression is dark

You are one in over a million other people suffering from depression now. That isn’t meant to minimize your experience but one of the reasons depression is so miserable is because we’re pretty much convinced no one could feel as bad as we do. That just isn’t true.

Why do you think there is a “standard” list of symptoms professionals use to determine a case of depression? It’s because the symptoms are pretty much the same across all genders, professions, nationalities, etc. Exactly which symptoms a person experiences and how people demonstrate these symptoms can be different, though.

Just because a person seems all-together, just because they can function, don’t assume for one minute that they are somehow not as depressed as you. They just probably do a better job of hiding it based on lots of factors, two  of which is their history and their personality. It is a false idea to think an individual’s severity of symptoms are always determined by how they act. There is even a diagnosis called a “smiling depression”.

smiling depression

I can hear the argument even now. “I can’t get out of bed!” Might I  lovingly suggest it might be more of a case of “You won’t get out of bed.” That sounds harsh, but it’s true. How many times do you read about someone whose done exactly what you say you can’t and with no more resources than you?

It all boils down to how much a person wants to get better not how big the hurdle. That’s hard to hear but it’s still true. Over many years,  I’ve  developed such a consistent pattern that it’s become routine. But it was hard in the beginning.

Very hard.

I wouldn’t ever suggest that I overcame depression easily. I fought hard to get out of my prison.

hard work

I got up and got dressed every morning and put my best foot forward because I wanted to be the one calling the shotsNOT my depression. Sloppin’ around in unkempt clothes all day only made me feel worse.

There is a strong connection between our appearance and our mood.  

I urge you today to stop your depression from determining your actions. It might be in control of your mood for now but you can certainly decide to limit its influence in other, more manageable, parts of your life.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

(As I always suggest, have a complete medical check-up if you’re depressed. Certain illnesses can bring on an episode, as well as certain medications. But the solutions are the same. I have an auto-immune disorder that is known to cause depression. But I never allow myself to use that as an excuse.)

God bless and have a good day.

2 thoughts on “How routine helps us manage depression”

  1. Paul,

    In the summer week-ends are easier because we can get outside. But then the days are longer so that can be a problem. Hang in there. Start planning today for next week-end and see if that helps. Also, be sure to walk at least six out of seven days. It really makes a difference with depression. Almost all research supports this. God bless and thanks for commenting.

  2. I’ve found that I tend to have depressive episodes on the weekends. (Though I’m sunk in one now.) I think it is the lack of structure that the two days have that allows me to fall into the pit more easily. Routine, as you say, seems to be what I need.

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