To overcome depression without medication requires effort, but it is so worth the happy mind! When I was diagnosed with depression at 22, I had been suffering all of my life. It was a surprise to me that my low mood, constant crying, and negative thoughts had a label of clinical depression. But this label gave me the drive to change!
Speaking from experience, when a diagnosis of depression is given, anti-depressants and talking therapy (if you are lucky) is provided. But if like me, you want to overcome depression without medication, please read on.
Firstly, you need to realize what symptoms depression causes to overcome it.
Then you must realize that all of these symptoms are a mental health illness. Realize these symptoms can be changed and YOU CAN overcome depression.
What helped me personally was to realize that the thoughts I was thinking weren’t real as such. All the negative things I was thinking were due to my mental illness, not really what was happening in life.
Knowing you have depression is one thing, but then what do you do about it? You must talk about it! Depression does still hold a stigma, but this has to change! Depression is nothing to be ashamed about, although you may feel it is.
Firstly talk to your Doctor about your feelings, and ask to be referred to talking therapy. I found that talking with a therapist was much easier than talking with my family or friends at first. Once you start talking and crying to your therapist, you can start to overcome depression. Opening up about your thoughts and feelings is essential to getting better.
Once you are comfortable talking with your therapist, start to talk to close family and friends. Let them know your thoughts, feelings and what upsets you. Those that haven’t suffered with depression won’t know that certain things upset you, so let them know. Being depressed means you are more sensitive to words and actions than others, but that’s OK!
After letting people know that you are feeling depressed, you will feel slightly better straight away. Holding onto your thoughts and feelings only makes depression worse. So let it out, let it all out!!
There can be many reasons to be depressed:
What is important is to find out why you are feeling depressed, to be able to change it. Write yourself a list of reasons, then look at how you can change the reasons to make you happy. It may be that you have to leave a relationship, a job or a situation you are in. You will not overcome depression until you are out of the situation that is causing your depression.
In my personal experience, all the reasons mention were reasons for my depression. This just meant I had a lot of areas to change and work on. Let this give you hope that it is possible.
At first I didn’t realize that my past traumas had an effect on my health. I was someone who would keep everything to myself, especially my emotions. By doing so I only suppressed my emotion and it then manifested as depression. When I addressed my past traumas, I felt so much lighter and happier. You can read about my traumas here.
There are many ways to address past trauma, what worked for me was EFT and radical forgiveness. I will write a post on overcoming past trauma, so keep an eye out if this affects you.
If you find it hard to talk (it will be to start), write down your thoughts and feelings. Buy yourself a notepad or a pretty journal and write everything you think and feel in that moment. Write about why your are feeling depressed, upset, guilty etc. Getting your thoughts out, even onto paper makes a huge difference in how you feel.
I like to note in my journal; what I’ve eaten, exercise, sleep, meditation, affirmations, how I feel and gratitude. But you can write about anything you want.
Journaling is a good way to release your thoughts, but to also keep track of what may trigger you.
Exercise releases endorphin’s which are feel good hormones. You may recall the buzz you get after exercising? Well, that is due to the endorphin release.
Not only this, but exercise can help to; reduce stress, increase fitness, improve health, and decrease fat. All of these factors will help to overcome depression.
The sound of exercise may seem daunting, but it can be easy! There are so many at home workouts on the internet these days, meaning you don’t even have to leave your house. You can even get a trainer that will create you a personal plan and email it to you each week.
Additionally, you don’t have to exercise for long to see the benefits. Start with 5-10 minutes per day and increase when you feel you are ready.
My advice to exercise would be yoga and HIIT workouts, but choose what you enjoy. If you need some help getting back to exercise, read this post here.
Eating a healthy diet is more important than loosing weight. There are so many health benefits to ditching processed foods and sugar, overcoming depression is one of the them.
You should aim to include healthy fats like; salmon, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds into your diet. These healthy fats increase serotonin (a feel good hormone) levels in the body naturally, without the need for medication.
A healthy diet includes:
Food intolerance is a reaction to a food with no immunological response in the digestive system. Generally the food consumed cannot be digested.
A food intolerance can produce symptoms in the whole body, but are most commonly involved in the digestive system, as IBS. Additionally, depression, anxiety, headaches, migraines, swelling, hives, mouth ulcers, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and sinus issues are presented due to an intolerance.
In children, food intolerance may result in eczema, nappy rash, reflux, colic, ADHD, leg pains, sleep issues and screaming.
Symptoms may arise anywhere between hours and days after ingestion, thus making it increasingly difficult to diagnose. There are no accurate clinical tests for food intolerance diagnosis, but food elimination and reintroduction is the most accurate way of determining what food is causing the symptoms.
In my case I had many foods that would increase my depression; gluten and oats being the main two.
To find out if you have a food intolerance it is best to do an elimination diet and keep a diary when you reintroduce each food, one by one. If you need help I have created a guide to make it easy.
At first you may think meditation seems a bit woo woo. I thought the same too, but hear me out, meditation is a game changer!
In short meditation trains your mind to direct your thoughts and focus on the present moment.
Meditation has many health benefits:
How do you meditate? To get started search YouTube, type in ‘guided meditation to help depression’, and take your pick. The main aspect is to concentrate on your breath and nothing else.
I would suggest starting with 5-10 minutes of meditation before bed and then increase as you find it easier. The more often you meditate the more you will benefit. I have made it a daily practice and it has changed my life!
If you haven’t got time to meditate or if you find yourself in an anxious situation, take 3 deep breaths. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth and let your thoughts go.
Repeating positive affirmations daily has been shown to improve health both physically and emotionally. Not only that, but you become more aware of your thoughts. You will be shocked at how negative your thoughts are.
Where do you start? Think of 3 things you want in your life, health, happiness, and success for example. Then put ‘I am’ in front and repeat each 3 times.
For example; ‘I am healthy’, ‘I am happy’, ‘I am successful’, repeated 3 times every morning when you wake.
Overtime your mind will start to believe these affirmations and bring those things into your life.
You can also use this when a negative thought comes to your mind. Stop a negative thought spiraling out of control by replacing it with a positive thought in the first instance.
For example; negative thought ‘No body likes me’, swap it with, positive thought ‘I am making new friends every day’
Do the same here and repeat 3 times over. At first you won’t believe what your are saying, but trust me it works after persistence.
Imagine a snowflake falling down to the ground, if you catch that snowflake before it hits the ground it melts. If you let the snowflake fall to the ground, more snowflakes fall and eventually you can build a snowman. Then it is really hard to melt that snowman, it may take days or weeks. Imagine these snowflakes are your thoughts, stop the negative and replace with a positive.
Self care is super important for improving your mood and self worth. All of the points above are an act of self care.
Self care is being aware of your health and making healthy choices and changes to your life. By incorporating self care you are reminding yourself and others that your are important and worthy.
Examples of self care:
If you are new to self care, my advice would be to schedule 10 minutes weekly in your calendar. Once you are used to 10 minutes, increase each week. After a while you will want to add self care more than once a week, trust me 🙂
Take a look at the people you surround yourself with, do they bring you joy and happiness? Are they positive and supportive? If yes, that’s great! Hold on to them tightly! If no, then you need to think about ditching these people from your life and looking for people who can help you feel good.
I actually had to do this myself. It whittled my friend list down to a handful, but they are the best ever! I no longer have people in my life that bring me down and if I come across people that do, I move on.
Last, but not least, be yourself!
When you are depressed there are often feelings of what do people think of me. The best advice I can give is be yourself. If a person doesn’t like you for you, then they are not worth your time.
Embrace your personality, your weirdness, what makes you different.
The moment I stopped worrying about what others thought of me, was the moment I felt free to be myself.
Yes I am a little ‘weird’, yes I have my own thoughts and opinions, yes I don’t follow the crowd, yes I do what makes me happy!
So go on, try it, be you!
If you take only one thing from this post, remember that YOU CAN OVERCOME DEPRESSION.
Leave a comment if this has helped you, or share it with a friend it may help 🙂