Managing Depression

Today I want to talk to you all about managing depression. For those of you that don’t already know, I am diagnosed with “long term” depression. Basically meaning it’s is something I have been battling with for probably about 18 years now. I have learnt ways to manage it better, but it is always there. It’s an illness that I don’t see ever going away, maybe I’m wrong and it will. But I don’t see hoping for it too suddenly go away as helpful, I have to deal with the here and now. So managing depression is what I have to do.

I said I’ve had depression for 18 years, I came to that conclusion with a counsellor. After finally going to see a doctor 4 years ago, as for the previous 14 years my depression was hidden from the world. I hid it well. Looking back, there were definitely signs that people could have seen. Some ways that I acted at times, but when people did ask if I was alright. I was quick to say of course and put on a happy face.

Tell people you are struggling

That’s the reason I’m writing this post. Like a lot of men out there, I just don’t like talking about how I’m feeling. I think we should all know by now, that’s not a good things. If you are struggling, be it depression, stress, anxiety or anything your worried about. Finding someone to talk to is the best thing you can do. It’s a hell of a lot easier telling other people to do that, than doing it yourself though.

This is where I take a deep breath, and tell you I am really struggling at the moment. I’ve not used this platform for this before, and I’m not even sure how I feel about it. Or even if I will end up posting it. I’ve just picked up my phone and started typing, to get out of my own head for a bit. This isn’t a planned post, and I have no idea where it is going…

What depression means to me today

To this day, I still don’t talk about my depression a lot, and I still mostly hide it away. There are a few reasons for this. Probably at least once every day, even during the good times, a suicidal thought will appear. I don’t want to be telling people everyday, what’s going on in my head. I’d worry them to death. But I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on things, I’ve learnt to recognise when there’s a real problem forming, and I have strategies in place for “surviving depression”.

I use words like survive and battle, because to me that is what it feels like. My depression doesn’t come from a specific event or some trauma, for whatever reason it is just part of who I am. People have asked me in the past what depression is like, and to be honest I’ve always given a vague answer. Saying things I’ve heard other people say, rather than what it’s like for me. Things like being in permanent low mood, which isn’t true for me. Even at my lowest points, if I forced myself to do something I liked, I could be happy for an hour or 2.

Natalie was the first one to realise that, me acting in a hyperactive silly manner. Was a sure sign I was struggling, and that was my attempt at managing depression. It usually lead to making everyone around me getting angry, and was massively self destructive. I’m working on not letting things get that far, before talking to people. Managing depression for me is a constant work in progress, there is no super cute. There is no, I do this and then everything is better. But I have things in place that I would like to share with you now, I’m no doctor or expert, but this is what helps me.

My 5 tips for managing depression

  1. If you haven’t already, go see your doctor
  2. Build a support Network
  3. Try to improve your lifestyle
  4. Learn to manage negative thoughts
  5. Create a wellness toolbox

Point one is the obvious starting point, you need to seek help and any possible medication or counselling you might need. I take anti depressants, and have been through counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) all of which helped me get to where I am today.

Building a support network is the big one, when it comes to managing depression. You can not do it all on your own. You need the help of supportive people, whether that be your spouse, parents or friends. Or a support group, or even people you’ve met on social media, whoever you feel comfortable confiding in. Having someone to talk to, is probably the biggest thing that will stop you doing something stupid. I have my people now, and it is the most important thing in my life.

Improving your lifestyle is an obvious, eat better, sleep betters exercise regularly, and it’s likely you will feel better. It’s easier said, than done of course, but keep trying.

Learn to manage negative thoughts

Managing depression

This is going to be my favourite bit! I often read things about “stopping” negative thoughts, and that can “eliminate” your depression. Maybe that works for some people, I don’t know. I wish I could just stop the thoughts in my head that tell me I’m worthless, that I’m failing, that I should just look myself. I really do. Whilst I can’t do that, I can manage them, and that’s what CBT taught me. Not magic ways to stop everything, but how to manage them. So I can function somewhat normally.

Knowing the signs that I’m starting to slip, and I need to talk to someone in that support network. Before it’s got to a point that it’s too late, and I’ve shut myself away. Being proactive, and making sure I make time for self care, and doing things I enjoy. For me personally the science behind depression I learnt through CBT, was a comfort. One of my major frustrations was I didn’t see a reason for being depressed. I couldn’t say this event happened, and that’s why I’m depressed. Learning that it is an illness, and all I can do is manage it helped me come to terms with depression and move forward.

Finally, create a wellness tool box. Which is basically just making a list of the things that make you happy, then having it on hand when you are feeling down. So you can quickly look at it, and choose something of off the list to do. In an attempt to make yourself feel better. This feels like it’s been a long post, so I’ll leave it there and talk more about the wellness tool box another time. It deserves its own post to be looked at in more detail.

I’d just like to say, that I am okay. I don’t know what this post is like, and I don’t much fancy reading it back. But I feel better for emptying my thoughts like this, if I do decide to post this, as always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

My name is Adam. I live with my partner Natalie, and our 2 children Jack and Lily. Both children are autistic, it is now my mission to show what life around autism is like. Spread the awareness and gain the acceptance that autistic people deserve.

46 thoughts on “Managing Depression

  • July 28, 2020 at 2:40 pm
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    Thank you so much for this post; I think a lot of people needed to read this during these extraordinarily trying, overwhelming times.

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  • July 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm
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    Well done for sharing your story and I thank you for it. Its so important to talk about how you’re feeling and I know that by you speaking out, you will have inspired countless others to speak about it too.

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    • August 30, 2020 at 2:44 pm
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      Thank you. This was helpful to read as a fellow depressant, very validating. I saw a lot of myself in this.
      Rock on

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      • August 30, 2020 at 3:18 pm
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        Validation is important. Too know that it is okay to be depressed, is a big part of being able to live with it or perhaps recover.

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  • July 28, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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    Great respect to you for sharing this, and being so open and honest!

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  • July 28, 2020 at 5:29 pm
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    Thank you for sharing! I am sure it can’t be an easy subject to talk/write about, but I bet it has helped to write it out. It sounds like you have developed your own coping strategy, which is great! I am sure this will help lots of others out there who may be going through similar.

    Aimsy xoxo

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  • July 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm
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    Those are 5 great suggestions for people to start with! I took way too long to really talk to people about my mental health, so thanks for being an advocate!

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    • July 29, 2020 at 12:30 am
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      It takes most of us too long, but as long as we get there eventuality, that’s the important thing.

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  • July 28, 2020 at 8:17 pm
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    Your 5 tips for managing depression are all so important. I especially love the wellness toolbox. What a great idea! I think everyone could use one of those for sure.

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    • July 29, 2020 at 12:32 am
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      Thank you, the wellness box is definitely a great idea for anybody 😊

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  • July 28, 2020 at 8:56 pm
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    Firstly, this is your blog, Adam, so what you choose to write about – or indeed share with us – is very much your business. But thank you for being so candid about your depression. You’re right, very few men do speak about it, which is not a good thing. Your point about building a support network is so important, I’m glad you do have that. And your blog will always be here for you as well. Lisa

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  • July 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm
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    I love the idea of creating a wellness toolbox! I know the negative thoughts and down thoughts all too well and having something on hand to cheer me up is an invaluable tool
    Sharing your depression here is also an awesome way to add more people to your support network. 🙂

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    • July 29, 2020 at 12:29 am
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      It really is an invaluable tool 😊

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  • July 28, 2020 at 11:26 pm
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    Great post! These tips are amazing. I struggle with depression and there are some days I’m not sure how I’ll make it through without breaking down. Next time I’ll remember your tips and see if it helps!

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    • July 29, 2020 at 12:35 am
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      Thank you. It’s always worth trying new things to see what helps, if something works for you then that’s great.

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  • July 29, 2020 at 1:18 am
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    I really like your idea of a wellness tool box! This is definitely something I need to think about.

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    • July 29, 2020 at 1:26 am
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      It’s definitely something that is worthwhile doing 😊

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  • July 29, 2020 at 1:34 am
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    So glad that you are able to open up, and have support around you. Depression can be such a horrible thing.

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  • July 29, 2020 at 12:22 pm
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    Great post! I love the way that you are so open about your struggles, and the advice you give is really good! I like the point you make about having a strong support network, having support that you can lean on in times of need is vital! Thanks for sharing!

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    • July 29, 2020 at 6:18 pm
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      Thank you, support from good people is so important important

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  • July 29, 2020 at 2:38 pm
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    A wellness toolbox is a fantastic idea! Great post, Adam. And thanks for sharing your story of depression. I’m sure this will help a lot of people 🙂

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  • July 29, 2020 at 2:46 pm
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    These are all good ways to fight depression. Thank you for sharing Adam. I always learned something from you.

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    • July 30, 2020 at 3:27 pm
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      Thank you, it definitely is.

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  • July 30, 2020 at 3:22 pm
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    Persistent depression is the worst. It’s constantly with you so you don’t talk about it, because that’d be like commenting on the fact you’re constantly breathing. But because you don’t talk about it, no one knows you’re suffering and how much of a toll it can take on you. Don’t let it get so bad that you don’t reach out when you need it most

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    • July 30, 2020 at 3:26 pm
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      The breathing thing is a great way of putting it. I’ve got much better at knowing when it’s time to reach out, by no means perfect though.

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  • July 30, 2020 at 3:55 pm
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    Really interesting post. O have friends living with similar struggles and it can be difficult to understand or adequately help with. Your post helps with that.

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  • July 30, 2020 at 6:20 pm
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    My depression began with postpartum depression after having my son. He passed away last year but he would be 20 now. I have been medicated since then and have been in counseling too. I think the best thing is to talk about it. I have found that sometimes my lowest days don’t seem as low as when I talk about it aloud with someone else who understands me. It isn’t just “stop being sad” and it doesn’t really go away. I came to the conclusion many years ago that this is the wiring in my brain and I might as well learn to live with it. Good luck. Natalie sounds like a great friend.

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    • July 30, 2020 at 10:32 pm
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      Talking is so important, I can’t even imagine trying to cope with losing a child as well. I’m glad you are finding a way 😊

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  • July 31, 2020 at 1:48 am
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    Amazing suggestions! Thank you for being brave and sharing this, I think it will help so many people! It’s definitely hard to talk about!

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  • July 31, 2020 at 11:00 am
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    This is such a great and informative post about depression. I don’t know much about this topic so I learned a lot from reading your post. Your 5 tips for managing it seem like they would really help! Thanks for sharing!

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  • July 31, 2020 at 1:01 pm
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    Such a brave thing to share, people and especially men need to know it is okay to speak out. You have set a great example.

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  • August 2, 2020 at 1:13 am
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    Thanks for the post and for your honest sharing. I have bipolar 2 which is mostly depression in combination with other moods & behaviours. I love the toolkit idea and will adopt it for myself. I have 2 high functioning autistic boys and just discovered your blog today. Thank you for sharing your journey, I look forward to reading more.

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    • August 2, 2020 at 10:07 am
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      Thank you, the tool kit is a great thing I hope you find it as useful as I have 😊

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  • August 2, 2020 at 5:31 pm
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    Great advice. It is also hard to talk about it but when you do it makes your mood so much better. We need to get better at expressing our feelings to each other and this is a great start.

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  • August 28, 2020 at 6:47 pm
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    It’s great that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our
    dialogue made here.

    Reply

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