5 Top Tips on Tackling Depression

It is estimated 1 in 5 of us will be affected by a mental health condition at some point in our lives.  Depression is one of the most common, and some have described  is as feeling helplessly alone and even numb to emotions, whilst joyful things may no longer even raise a smile. Sometimes they lack the motivation to get up in the morning… or even the afternoon.

Thrust into a digital society, adverts gleefully tell us how communication and technology are bringing us together, whilst social media drives home the notion that instant gratification and likability are the key to a successful life. Hmm.

A simple Google search will reveal that there has been a steady rise in mental health concerns, particularly amongst youngsters. Surprisingly, many often do not communicate this to their loved ones due to fear of the isolation or stigma for seeming ‘weak’ or ‘crazy.’  Yet what causes this? Job stress? Breakups? A significantly bad life event? More often than not, sometimes there seems like there is no cause.

 

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How does it feel to be depressed? Some have described it to me as if they were drowning in a negative rip tide, whilst I feel it is more akin to a ravenous, hideous monster. It is constantly nourishing itself on me, absorbing my glee and positivity in it’s hunger for happiness. I punch, kick, karate chop and shout obscenities at it. Startled and bemused, it bellows out a laugh and then consumes me even more.  I’m probably not even that yummy, yet I just feel so trapped in it’s jaws.

Have you ever felt like you are trapped by a depressive beast or you are somewhat sinking into the abyss, then I think it’s time to get you the happiness you deserve! Here are some tried and tested ideas. There is no ‘be yourself’ style rubbish , or ‘patience is a virtue’ type sayings that come sputtering out the lips of a know-it-all relative. I’ve done my time in the metaphorical temple of doom, and I want to share with you how I began to find my escape.

1. Talking to someone.

When you feel isolated, depression deepens. When I’m alone in my room, I feel that is when the mental darkness gets its foothold on me. I lie on my back, void of feeling and I don’t know what do. I don’t want to go out. I feel like my motor of life has burnt out and I simply have no future.

Experts have found that spending time with loved ones and people you care about enhances general self esteem and keeps negative thoughts at bay.  Through my experiences, embracing time with friends who are warm, comforting and understanding have really helped raise my spirits. Avoid the ones who say, “You’re just in a bad mood. Get over it.” Also, sarcastic acquaintances aren’t the best ones to open up to.
Opening up to people you trust can really support you in a time of need. A metaphorical shoulder to cry on can really help the burden of life and the feeling of overwhelm.

Ideally, we’d have these people on standby each time we feel down. However, life happens, meaning they might be not around when you need them. There are many charities available to support you such as The Samaritans, It’s Your Choic and Steps 2 Wellbeing. They give you the opportunity to talk freely and confidentially, and provide emotional support when life gets tough.

2. Listening to music

Did you know music has been used as a survival technique? Many years ago, native tribes sung and danced in a collective which raised group morale and built loyalty amongst the tribesfolk. It also warded off possible outside threats.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to live around a camp fire or wear feathers in your hair to get the full musical affect.  Instead, load up the Ipod, switch on the vinyl or check out a Youtube playlist to listen to your favourite songs. Enjoy them. Loud.

How do tunes help tackle depression exactly? Music releases dopamine in the brain, a feel good chemical, that reinvigorates a saddened soul. Music also works on the automotive nervous system, which affects both your blood pressure and heart beat. Studies have concluded that the health of those who suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety has improved after listening to music.

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I made a playlist on my phone which features my favourite tracks, most are circa 1995. This features Oasis, The Cardigans, Magic! and more embarrassingly, the musical talents of Cindy Lauper and Aqua. Cheesy music I find the most effective from my experiences and if you are feeling really brave, then singing along to your favourite song can really boost your spirits. Experts say that engaging with your music releases endorphins, whilst the deep breathing required to sing draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation. Actual talent not required!

3. Physical Exercise

When you wallow in the darkness of depression, the least thing you might want to do is slip on some Lycra for a 5k sprint down the high street or dare go to a ‘Calorie Cruncher’ class. Fitness however, can do absolute wonders for your brain. Ideally 3 days a week of exercise (I know, I know) can really pump up the body and improve breathing, stamina and mental wellbeing.
Doing something physical again releases endorphins and triggers a positive response from the brain. The focus of building muscle, trimming fat and staying in shape redirects attention from negativity and enhances general productivity.   Taking part in a sport also allows you to meet new people, whilst the activity can regulate the nervous system and help prevent the destruction of brain cells that are caused by depression. It’s a win-win.

How can you not have a big goofy smile on your face when doing a star jump?

4. Shiny Happy Post-it Notes

Refrain from chuckling, but  little notes of positivity can really go a long way in getting you through the worst of the day.

I have used a motivational quote on my phone background, as well as a series of cleverly placed positivity packed post-it notes.  (Try saying that out loud.) Humans (that’s us) thrive on appreciation and acceptance, and sometimes the people (i.e. bosses/significant others) don’t always remind us how amazing we actually are.

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I have found writing down a positive thing I do each day, really helps me identify fantastic things that I have done, whether that be giving some pennies to a homeless person or donating my last Rolo to Renarto in the office. The mental power of depression deviously trains the brain to funnel out  positiveness from the past. This leads us onto the next top tip…

5. Remember Positive Memories More

When I feel depressed, all I can feel is moany, miserable thoughts. “I’m not going anywhere in life,” or “I feel so alone,” or even, “I’m not good enough.

When these bad boy thoughts are swirling in my head, I start to believe them, which has led to self destructive behavior and a symptom that I call ‘moping’. I feel I’m completely oblivious to some fantastic and positive memories that have happened in the past.

I r recommend building what I call a memory wall. Add in photographs, motivational mottos and souvenirs of events that really make you smile and think fondly over past achievements.  For instance, I have a large collage of my time at Camp Starfish, where I spent a brilliant summer in America working at a summer camp for very unique children. I even have a can of Axe (a US version of Lynx) that I bought over there, it’s scent reminds me of one of the happiest few months of my life.

However low you may feel, don’t forget how much of an amazing person you really. Appreciate yourself, and remind yourself of all the things you have achieved so far!

If you want to share your experience in tackling depression, feel free to write in the comment box below.


 

Other topics:
Trump | Jobs | Teenager | Urbexing | Valentines | First Girlfriend | Catfish | The Incident | Paris | Nan | The Bedroom Embarrassment | Living with students | Getting Evicted| Long Distance Love

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I’m raising money for charity and achieving goals at http://rupertsresolutions.tumblr.com

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I got evicted!

The silence was deadly. The only sound I could hear was the rising heartbeat in my chest.

The Landlady strode out of the kitchen. She looked down at the ground and pretended to look tearful, her eyes glazing over. She exclaimed to the ceiling, her arms out wide, as if summoning a god.

Her actions were so choreographed, I felt like she was acting in an awkward GCSE adaption of Macbeth.

What caused her overreaction you asked? I had broken her ultimate house rule. It was so bad, so rotten and so completely rebellious of me, that she had no choice but to eject me from her house. Forever.

She turned to me, her face a blend of menace with fake tears

“Rupert… you need to find somewhere else to live.”

Shit! How did this happen? More importantly, what was I going to do? I must warn you, the following tale is completely true:


Four Weeks Earlier

My current contract was up in the student house from hell (read this)  I needed to find a house quickly. It was on, like Donkey Kong.

Storming onto Spareroom.com, I found a room, mere minutes away. Advertised by a ‘flatmate‘, it turned out she was the Landlady.  I won’t mention her name in case she destroys me – for revenge based on the events below.

This room was actually in a small hotel, which permanently had a ‘no vacancy’ sign on the door. Confused tourists would knock on the door asking for a room. It was bizarre  arrangement, where permanent people would pay rent. I should have referred them to the Bates Motel – it would have been safer.

Visiting with friends, we were greeted by the Landlady, who wore a blue T-Shirt and baggy joggers. This was her daily outfit – the Primark TV Dinner collection. She spoke with an upper class accent. She looked the type who would enjoy deflating lost footballs, and whose love life probably revolved around reading exotic Mills and Boon novels. She bizarrely asked if my friends were my bodyguards.

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WARNING: DANGER ZONE

Looking at the room, the double bed took up the the whole space-  I had to roll across the bed like an action movie star if I just wanted to use the toilet.
We settled in the living room which was impeccably tidy.  An England flag adorned the windows and peculiar African dolls with extremely high golden necks resided in the corner.

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Landlady summoned down a current guest, and she smiled as she bizarrely verified to us that she was nice to live with, as if he was forced to give a reference.
Despite the odd vibe – I ended up moving in.  It was advertised as £120 per week which didn’t sound so bad – yet per month this equated to a steep £520 – ouch!

Initially, she was very pleasant-  getting me a bottle of Prosecco for my birthday. However, the atmosphere- like a lemon, soon turned sour.

The downfall started when I dared to move the fire extinguisher inside my bedroom, having used it to prop open the door to get my belongings in. She was not impressed by this irritating relocation.
Talking of fire, there was a whiteboard next to the door. This had individual colored counters, which you needed to move  across to distinguish if you were ‘in’ or ‘out’ Even the teddy in the living room, Mr Twinkleberry – had his own counter at the bottom of the board.

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This whiteboard existed in case there was a fire and she would know who was in. Or something.

It became an arduous task swiping it every time I left the house – I was scorned several times for not following this rule. To be fair, it was broken a lot as I’d just woken up, stumbled down the stairs and teetered out the front door in a snoozy half-asleep haze. Any guests who were visiting, had to add extra coloured counters to announce their presence.
It’s a good thing I’m not a big fan of hosting orgies, as there was only a limited amount of coloured counters available.

However, despite this, no friends were allowed in my room. Despite the Landlady having her own separate lair connected to the house, she seemed to have major power issues about who entered the hotel.

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Sorry guys. Stick to Central Perk

Talking of power issues, food was forbidden to be eaten in my room, and my room had to be kept clean at all times.  Apparently, this was in case of visiting Firemen or Hotel Inspectors. What bullshit is this?

My friends were terrified of visiting me now anyway. When one innocently rang the doorbell, the Landlady begrudgingly opened the door to them – and barked to them that I needed to be taught how to answer the door if it was for me.
Sadly, my X-Ray vision from my second floor bedroom wasn’t operational.

My Dad once visited, and as I was talking to him in the hallway, she then exclaimed, with GCSE drama dramatic effect, “who is this stranger turning up in my house!”

There were many rules she encroached on the house guests, yet I felt I was victimized with the more petty regulations of her OCD manifesto. Apparently I needed to text her to say if I was away for a night, otherwise she would worry. It was also decreed suggested that I greet her by name once I came home – so she could hear from her private lair.
Good Evening, Nurse Ratchet! I should have bellowed upon entry.

Another time she berated me for daring to move the net curtains in my second floor room. It transpired she had spotted my villainy whilst lurking outside looking up at my window. I’d only moved them a few inches so I could see the sky. (Or to view a potential escape route from her prison.)

I was so cautious upon my return, that my feet were metaphorically sore after treading on so many eggshells. She would creepily appear to pull me over when I had a friend around to have a quick word.

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Usually I prefer my eggs like my brain. Scrambled.

I hated these quick words.

She’d pull me over to talk about ‘just two things’ orhow we do things in this house.‘  I’d be dreading to hear  what I’d done this time. It felt like I’d been dragged back in time to Year 3, and told that I had to behave as I was part of the Juniors now.

After my rule breaks, there were no more quick words. Instead of being  hushed over when in the company of a friend, she would just bark at me in front of them.  It was particularly horrendous when she humiliated me after using a sponge incorrectly. She mentioned to my girlfriend at the time that I just needed to be trained properly.

Next, I had left some meat in the fridge that had started to go off – she exclaimed ‘what would happen if the health department came over for an inspection?’
I could get this place closed down, I had thought, – apparently it was still technically a hotel. I shuddered at the thought of her being a hotel manager. She’s make Basil Fawlty seem like Mother Theresa.

My relationship with me and my darling Landlady became further strained. My friend once got lost on a night out and ended up crawling back up to the hotel. I then got an aggravated call from Landlady  – around 2am- saying that my friend had turned up, demanded my presence,  then collapsed on the sofa.
I apologised profusely in the morning, as the Landlady was stirring her cauldron saucepan. She was turning around her wooden-spoon with so much venom even her soup was terrified. She was more annoyed that my friend burst in drunk asking after me, than being awoken at such an hour
She gave me a passive aggressive look, retorting with ‘maybe I should find somewhere else to live if this is your lifestyle’. This only happened once, but it wouldn’t surprised me if she started work on constructing a Rupert Voodoo Doll to stick pins in.

I had later woken my drunken friend and let her stay on the bed, to prevent her from flopping off the sofa. The Landlady remarked that she didn’t think it was appropriate to have a girl stay over as I had a girlfriend at the time.

To be honest, I tried to be polite at all times despite these shitty and weird comments. I was basically Little Lord Fauntleroy – minus the fringe. Despite seething with inner frustration at her post-menopausal, condescending personality, I was very well behaved and bit my tongue.  So much in fact, it could have bled.

I eventually dared answer back to her snipey bites as you will find out soon. My inner fury was also building. Let’s talk about something harmless and fun. Like cake. Nothing can go wrong with cake, right?
After telling us to help ourselves to a birthday cake in the fridge, I had wolfed down a slice or two- decorating my chops with cream and cake sponge. Following this, I was violently ill in the early hours of the morning.

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Sadly it did not come with visible warning icing

She let me know the following morning that said cake had been in and out of the sunshine most of the day prior. Eating high street kebab, marinated in the student house’s box of black ooze would have been less volatile.

The rest of the housemates were submissive and secretly terrified of her, and were far too timid to even operate the tumble drier in case it incurred her wrath.

Tammy, who she seemed particularly fond of, left to move in with her friends after staying at the hotel for several months. I asked the Landlady if it felt like saying goodbye to a child leaving home?
‘No,’ she replied. She later made a bitchy comment about Tammy.

I horrified her replacement, Cassie, with stories of the Landlady, who she deemed to like and had been invited to go on country walks with. I had not been invited – to be honest I would have contemplated accidentally pushing her down a pleasant country ravine.
Sadly, their new friendship did not begin to blossom when:

(a) Landlady proposed a £10 contribution charge per night for letting Cassie’s boyfriend stay over.
(b) Landlady advertised Cassie’s room, without telling her she was to move downstairs. This led to a humorous situation when Cassie stumbled out her shower, wearing a towel turban, to find a stranger viewing her room.

The other housemates were young men, mostly passive to her passive-aggressiveness, and adoring of her motherly charm. There were rumours of a liaison between her and a young housemate –  simply yuck! I thought discretions like that only happened in Walkabout nightclub as the sun rose.
One time I saw her between two of them on the sofa watching the football, looking like the cat had got the cream. She was purring as they shared potato snacks whilst she spoke about her wild youth.

I was not one of these lucky men – Landlady ushered me over a month after I’d moved in. Apparently she had this  meeting with all new house-guests. I joked if it was like an appraisal, which she simply said ‘Yes.’
She then said that I was a work-in-progress, and that our chat would be postponed due to it being me. What’s wrong with me?

You’re about to find out. The next afternoon, I came home wearing my shoulder man bag after a stressful day. The Landlady walked in, and complained that she told me off before about wearing my bag in the kitchen.
Correction: She’d told me not to wear my coat in the kitchen.  (That was rule 20b?)
With that, she told me that she had enough and that I needed to find a new place to live.
I was shocked, I wasn’t sure what to say. I stood there, frozen to the spot.
I began to defend the ludicrousness of being told off for having my bag on. I explained I was tired after a long day at work. She retorted that she also had a long day at work, showing no mercy. Instead of sympathy I got apathy.
She said this wasn’t a student house I was used to. This was an adult house.

I went into my bedroom, and called my Mum telling her I had been told to leave. I felt quite dejected about being ejected. I felt like I had been rejected.
I hadn’t been kicked out before. My Mum had sometimes threatened – but she only got as far as putting my Playstation and socks in a black bin bag and telling me to go live with my father.

Few words were spoken over the following few days with the Landlady, and she laid off with the constant telling off. Perhaps she felt guilty and found silent treatment therapeutic?
I thought she may have changed her mind, but when I asked when I have to go, she told me that I obviously have to look for somewhere.

After a week of almost fruitless searching, Spareroom was advertising a picture of a new apartment complete with a Wii. I was overjoyed and took it immediately. As I told her, I could see a twinkle of giddy pleasure in her eye.
I knew now this was nearing the end –   I didn’t have to hold back. My inner frustration was about to peak. A storm was brewing.

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On my last day, I had packed all my things away into a car. It was time to say goodbye.

I decided to give her a parting gift- a list of the rules she had told me over the past 7 weeks. I completed my present with some of her patronizing sayings such as the classic – ‘you just need to be molded.’

As you read down below in the list, the more ridiculous her rules become. I was tempted to laminate it. From the understanding, to the petty, to the downright ludicrous, here is the rules that I was told to follow:

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I declared that I had given her a present, put the above in her hand and promptly let loose an angry side to me that I didn’t know existed before. Also know as pent up Rupert rage fuel.
I told her how I felt about the way she treated me. I said how I didn’t like her patronizing attitude, and how I felt like a stranger in an unwelcome home.
As I was non-aggressive, it was less of a shouty rant, more of a civilized and well spoken diatribe. I even apologised midway through verbally destroying her. Such a gentleman!

I guess it was the equivalent of having a fracas with a bad tempered butler. I suddenly got an adrenaline rush, mid-speech. My heart was racing and I couldn’t quite focus as I had a go at her. Yet my gosh – it felt good. She was shocked as I told her that I was glad she kicked me out,  that I never felt welcome and that I was actually sorry for this outburst.
She said she hadn’t told me to leave (Cassie was standing behind her at the time) and this was not the time nor the place for this and when it came to life skills – I couldn’t do… anything. She then apologized that I was unhappy here.

As I stormed out, I felt a great sense of relief and pride that I got to say my piece. I was free from her reign of terror, although I still felt bad that I had given her this special tirade with a raised voice.

I haven’t see her since. I did later add her to my growing list of enemies such as Heroes Karaoke Bar, Sebastien – a temperamental Berkshire-based horse, and Cynthia, a deluded ex with a Ski slope nose (who had the scare factor of outdated cottage cheese.)

I wanted to make a phallus using the counters on her whiteboard as a parting image.
I wish I had now.

Ps. I do hope Mr Twinkleberry is okay. Vote in my poll below 🙂

What experiences with landlords or landladies have you had? Comment below.


Read more:

The Craziest Valentines Ever
How I Got Catfished By My Best Friend
How I Got Evicted
How I Got My Heart Broken 
How To Save Money
How To Tackle Depression
Who Wet My Bed?

Currently breaking the Internet at Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

I’m now on Youtube !

I’m raising money for charity and achieving goals at http://rupertsresolutions.tumblr.com