Making a ‘first aid kit’ for depression

I’ve been struggling with mild depression for the last five days or so. I’ve put into practice a couple of the techniques that I learnt during my counselling sessions and I’ve got support from my partner and friends. But I realised that I have forgotten several things that helped in the past. And I’ve made it harder for myself because they aren’t noted down anywhere. When I’m starting feel very down and hopeless it’s better if I don’t have to search through notebooks and folders or rely on my memory. To fix this I’ve made a list of my remedies for mild to moderate depression that I will use now and have to hand next time.

My own first aid kit for depression:

  • Kristen Neff’s Soften Soothe and Allow meditation for calming the physical sensations of depression in my body.
  • Chocolate.
  • Sunshine (if available), if not try and get outside for a bit anyway.
  • Get outside, visit my allotment. Go, even if you don’t feel up to doing anything when you get there.
  • “You have to pull yourself out of the swamp” –  Anitra Nottingham, writing for The Thesis Whisperer blog
  • Keep going if you can. Break your important tasks into tiny little pieces and focus on one mini-task at a time.
  • Postpone anything non-essential to give a yourself a little bit of breathing space.
  • Practise mindfulness and set a worry time to calm the churning thoughts.
  • Tell someone I trust that I’m struggling.
  • “This too shall pass”.  Because I have come through this before, I know I will come through it this time too.
  • “whatever your feelings – these reflect your brain state, are not your fault, and millions of others have these feelings too. Of course, knowing this does not make your depression any less painful, but it does mean that there is nothing bad about you because you are in this state of mind. It is a shift in brain state that is painful – depression pulls us into thinking and feeling like this, so these feelings are sadly part of being depressed.” Paul Gilbert, Overcoming Depression
  • Accept offers of help. I feel better when someone:
    • Sends messages that remind me that people do care.
    • Reminds me that I have got through this before and I’ll get through it again.
    • Helps me figure out how to tackle the things that seem to difficult, and to do a little at a time.
    • Keeps me company or helps me to do something that I find overwhelming by myself.
The things I put on my list are some quotes that I liked, advice I’ve read, and things that have helped me in the past. But it is a personal list and what helps me might not work for you. So I’ve put together a list of resources that might be useful.

Self-help resources for depression:

Here’s a few sources of help and advice for with coping with depression:

Where to go for immediate support:

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