By: John Poehler
When I am depressed, I only want to lay in bed and sleep. My motivation and energy level are completely nonexistent and I do not feel like being around other people. I become hypersensitive and I end up second guessing my thoughts, feelings and actions.
When my mood dips too low, I can even experience suicidal ideation. I always work my hardest to never get back to that state again.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal or self harming thoughts, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255.
When I am experiencing depression, I do not always know how to vocalize what I need or want.
Most of my needs are based around basic hygiene and survival. This may seem simple to others, but can be almost impossible to implement when I am depressed.
Focusing on the basics always helps me the most.
For the future, here is a list of my top 10 personal needs during a depressed state:
1. Surround Myself With Support
This can be anybody in your support network. Spend time with friends or family. If you have a love interest, make sure they are close by.
Most of the time, I enjoy doing something low-key like watching a movie or resting. I generally do not have much energy to do anything else.
The important thing is to just surround yourself with support.
2. Consistent Sleep
We need sleep to survive. It is that simple and there is no need to overcomplicate things.
I focus on getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Every night I go to sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6am.
It is extremely important to get that minimum amount of sleep. Plus, the consistent time asleep and morning wake time keep the brain fresh and operational.
Routine is so important when it comes to not only dealing with depression, but bipolar disorder.
3. Eat Healthy Meals
I always find when I get stressed or depressed, I crave certain types of foods. These foods are generally the ones not best suited for our bodies.
I like to look at my body as a functioning machine. You have to feed it good stuff to operate smoothly and efficiently.
Eating healthy meals is paramount to feeling good overall. It helps our mental health.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Everyone should be drinking plenty of water. You should be drinking even more water when you feel depressed.
You may be feeling sluggish, under the weather, out of it and have no energy. If you are not drinking enough water, the depressed symptoms will only intensify.
Make sure you drink plenty of water.
5. Shower Daily
Showering each day is basic hygiene. When I am stable and feeling good, there is no problem. While depressed, taking a shower can look like a huge mountain to scale.
Even if you are not leaving your home for the day, it is a good idea to try and shower on a daily basis. It makes me feel better after doing so.
6. Lift Weights Everyday
I love to lift weights. It is my favorite form of exercise and I believe everybody can benefit from resistance training.
Exercise releases endorphins. Those are the cool hormones that make you feel good after exercise.
At home, I have a set of adjustable weights and a bench so I can train my entire body. I am able to hit all the major and minor muscle groups.
Whether you like lifting weights or not, you should be doing some form of exercise every day.
For me, writing is extremely therapeutic. It helps to sort out my thoughts and what I am thinking about.
I created two blogs to help get my ideas out there. The Bipolar Battle and The Poehler Family are centered around topics that I hold dear to my heart. I am able to use them as a platform to organize and speak my truth.
Writing I have found, is something that does not feel like work. I never lose energy typing my thoughts out with my Chromebook.
8. See My Therapist at Least Once a Week
From my experience, therapy is more about the therapist and less about the kind of therapy. When I feel depressed, I need a therapist who is willing to listen to me without judgement. If I do not feel like talking, that should be okay too.
I have been lucky with therapists. It is important for me to see someone once a week to help me get through my depressed state.
This goes back to surrounding myself with support. It never hurts to have another upbeat-positive influence around when you are depressed.
9. Keep in Touch With My Doctor
This almost goes without saying, but it needs to be said as an important reminder.
I have partnered with my doctor to go through this journey. She is here to help me with my medication and to offer other resources.
My doctor will add, subtract or tweak my medications as appropriate. She is the only one who can do this.
I need to keep in touch with my doctor all the time. Especially when I am going through an episode.
10. Allow Me to Experience My Feelings
This is huge. My depression can get worse if I repress my feelings and pretend to be happy.
In fact, pretending and repressing can send me into a greater depression. I need to feel the crappy yucky feelings that I do. I have the resources around me if I get too low. So, safety is never a question.
It is just so important for me to experience my feelings. If I need to talk, I have my support around me, I can call my therapist or doctor.
Make sure your loved ones have the phone numbers of both your doctor and therapist.
Everyone has different needs when going through a depressed episode. I think this is extremely important to remember. Please vocalize these needs to your support network before an episode comes to fruition.
This list of 10 personal needs during a depressed state is my personal list. Use part or all of it to help you create your own list.