Depression or low mood - what has helped you?

everydayupsanddowns

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Type 1
I was thinking about this today having read several threads recently from people who are having a really tough time of things, and it struck me that we have many friendly, supportive and experienced members here who have lived with or worked through various levels of depression and low mood and found ways to come out the other side, or at least live happily alongside their depression (whether clinically diagnosed or not).

I was reminded of @SB2015 ’s thread which documented an amazing journey and different strategies which helped.


I was wondering if other members who have experienced low mood or depression might be able to offer their tips and suggestions to anyone who is struggling.
 

grovesy

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Type 2
I would say, I am not sure I ever lived happily along side my depression, more a case of living and getting along with it.
I could say what was not helpful!
 

everydayupsanddowns

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Type 1
I would say, I am not sure I ever lived happily along side my depression, more a case of living and getting along with it.
I could say what was not helpful!

Yes probably a poor choice of words, sorry! I just meant found ways to live alongside it and strategies for when it flared up even if it didn’t disappear entirely.

I’ve been experimenting with mindfulness recently, and have found CBT and other similar frameworks helped me understand my low moods and gave me useful practical things to do and try during more intense periods of grieving and hopelessness.

Counselling has also been very helpful to me, and has the support of trusted friends.
 

Inka

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Type 1
It sounds a horrible cliche but I think self-care is helpful as well. Be kind to yourself and look after yourself as you would look after someone close to you who was in a similar situation.

Mindfulness is good, as is Qigong and concentrating on your breathing, especially when you feel particularly bad.

Just narrowing your thoughts and concentrating on practical things helps too.
 

Kaylz

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Type 1
Going to comment so I can see some replies which may help me, as you all know I'm struggling a lot right now and even more so the next week or so xx
 

Lucyr

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Type 2
I’ve just started a course about coping with stress/anxiety/depression with long term conditions. it’s based in cbt, which I think does help so long as your mind is in a place to put the effort in. I stopped watching half way through the first session as the idea of setting goals to do things I’m scared of made me panic too much. We will be sent the recording so I’ll try again. I think there’s a lot to be said for the role of exercise and getting outside for depression too.
 

grovesy

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Type 2
I’ve just started a course about coping with stress/anxiety/depression with long term conditions. it’s based in cbt, which I think does help so long as your mind is in a place to put the effort in. I stopped watching half way through the first session as the idea of setting goals to do things I’m scared of made me panic too much. We will be sent the recording so I’ll try again. I think there’s a lot to be said for the role of exercise and getting outside for depression too.
For me it depending how low I was for exercise and going out other than my garden to be helpful, as on my worse days getting out of bed was an ordeal. That was when I was on anti-depressants.
 

Ivostas66

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Type 1
I had some really good support from Mind Matter's through the NHS a couple of years ago. The feedback in general for this is pretty poor according to my doctor and he was really happy when I told him how helpful I found it. The problem is that it is a very short course and once you reach the end you are sent off with coping strategies etc that should help, but when those strategies don't work due to other issues you may encounter, then it's tricky.

It sounds horrible to say, but my mental health during the initial lockdown period was the best it has been for years - perhaps linked to good weather, a chance to be outdoors in my garden, exercise, (all vitamin D related I suppose!) more time with my family. Better control of BG levels during this period too!
 

everydayupsanddowns

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Better control of BG levels during this period too!

Yes I certainly notice a mental health ‘hit’ when BGs are elevated and/or erratic. Frustrating in itself, but I also thing there is a physiological impact on mood.

And if course if mood is low, you have less capacity to tackle fixing any BG management challenges / revisiting and updating your strategies
 

helli

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Type 1
Thankfully, I have never suffered from depression but do have periods when I feel low and lethargic. Sometimes this is hormonal but not always.
Things I have used to help me in these periods are
- fresh air. Even when it is raining, getting outdoors helps.
- exercise. If I am feeling lethargic, it can be really tough to start moving but, once I do, I find the energy and start feeling more positive. An added bonus is a better night's sleep after physically wearing myself out.
- good food. Unlike many, I do not comfort eat. When I am feeling low, I go off food completely and food becomes fuel rather than an enjoyment. Finding something I want to eat can be a challenge (I have wandered round and round supermarkets for inspiration) but once I do, my mood can be lifted and my interest in food slowly returns
- admitting to myself that I am feeling low and it is allowed. I think I impose a demand on myself to be happy all the time and, when I am not, failure to fulfil my happiness quota, is another nail in the coffin. But if I accept I am allowed to feel sad, I can remove one of my internal mental pressures.
 

rebrascora

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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I find my animals help. Even if I am struggling to look after myself, my animals have needs. With them not being house animals ie, horses, chickens etc, I have to leave the house to look after them and even if I am really struggling and I can't face people/the world, I will go out in the dark and see to them when there is no one around. I actually enjoy being out late at night on my own when it is still and quiet and I feel like I have the whole world to myself, with no expectations or time constraints. It feels like there is less pressure and I sleep more soundly when I do go to bed afterwards..... even if it means I sleep later on a morning..... and sleep is a big healer!

Generally for me, when I am having a tough time with my mental health, withdrawing from people and just giving myself time (maybe a day or two) helps. I know this is the opposite of what many people need but just want to show that everyone is different and the normal strategies will not work for everyone.

I do agree that breathing and meditation are beneficial ( I need to practice the latter more) and I wonder if exercise works partly by making you breath regularly and deeply without having to have the focus needed for meditation.

I tried CBT many years ago and it wasn't for me.
 
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Robin

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Type 1
It sounds horrible to say, but my mental health during the initial lockdown period was the best it has been for years - perhaps linked to good weather, a chance to be outdoors in my garden, exercise, (all vitamin D related I suppose!) more time with my family. Better control of BG levels during this period too!
Funnily enough, I found the same. Gardening and outdoor exercise, with no decisions to be made other than where I was going to source potting compost.
Gardening is my usual go-to, I sometimes have to force myself to go out for ten minutes to do some deadheading, but once I get out there, I see other things that need doing and get stuck in, with my mind just occupied enough so I can’t think about current problems, or the Meaning of Life in general, which is what gets to me sometimes.
 

pm133

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Type 1
Whenever I feel like that it's always been because the way I am living is not in tune with who I am.
Taking a step back and making changes helped in all cases whether that was quitting permanent employment to go freelance, starting my own business, selling that business and going back to university at the age of 39 to start again etc.
Fixing things like depression is a lot easier if you truly understand who you are and what makes you tick. Then it's a case of trying to match that with how you live.

Oh and when it hits me, I want to be left completely alone.
 

Robin

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Type 1
Whenever I feel like that it's always been because the way I am living is not in tune with who I am.
Taking a step back and making changes helped in all cases whether that was quitting permanent employment to go freelance, starting my own business, selling that business and going back to university at the age of 39 to start again etc.
Fixing things like depression is a lot easier if you truly understand who you are and what makes you tick. Then it's a case of trying to match that with how you live.

Oh and when it hits me, I want to be left completely alone.
Yes, but maybe not possible if the depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.
 

Bloden

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Type 1
My husband struggles big time with depression and there are times when I really struggle with his situation too. I call his illness The Vortex and use up a lot of energy stopping us both from being sucked into it! :) I’m not sure we have coping strategies, but we walk our dogs every day and he always has a project on the go (wall-building, bathroom tiling, woodwork...) which he works at every day. It’s hard to have an ongoing conversation with hubby (there are days when he just can’t speak) but I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic best friend who’s always ready to listen. And my mum is a great example of how to live with a positive outlook - I just try to emulate her!;)
 

Ditto

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Type 2
The garden. :)
 

Ivostas66

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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Funnily enough, I found the same. Gardening and outdoor exercise, with no decisions to be made other than where I was going to source potting compost.
Gardening is my usual go-to, I sometimes have to force myself to go out for ten minutes to do some deadheading, but once I get out there, I see other things that need doing and get stuck in, with my mind just occupied enough so I can’t think about current problems, or the Meaning of Life in general, which is what gets to me sometimes.
I often say to Mrs J "I'm just popping into the garden. I'll only be about 10 minutes". 2 hours later she is calling me to ask what we are having for lunch/ tea. I can become completely absorbed in things. Think it is in the blood as my Great Grandad worked as head groundsman and groom at a huge country estate in the Cotswolds. Lived into his late 90s (lied about his age in 1914 to fight in the Great War - he was in his mid 30s at the time) and always told my Dad that his good health was due to an outdoor life and diet of veg and game.
 

ColinUK

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Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
1. Speaking with my GP
2. Finding medication which helps
3. Time in nature - even in a local green space in the middle of a city works, it doesn’t have to be in the depths of a forest
4. Not judging myself when I need a duvet day
5. Mindfulness
6. Laughter
7. Exercise (but when I’m ready for it - it can just be a walk)
8. Reading
9. Radio rather than TV
10. Finding something else to “control” - that can be short term like a 24hr fast maybe, or deciding to walk to a specific, not usual, destination and back.

What doesn’t help really is turning to family. I find they don’t really understand and the result is that I have to deal with their concerns in addition to whatever is dragging me down.
That’s in the acute moments as the chronic nature of it they do appreciate.

I’d also suggest reading Sunbathing in the Rain by Gwyneth Lewis. It’s a collection of her thoughts and musings whilst she was in a depressed state. It’s not all bleak and doom and gloom however as just because she’s was depressed doesn’t mean there’s no laughter.
 
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