How I Refresh My Mind When I'm Depressed

Updated on August 2, 2018
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A working-class dilettante fueled by coffee, "brainy ways" writes essays about mental and emotional health and the long road to recovery.

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For several weeks, I have neglected my writing, drawings, dreams, and passions. Why? Because I am depressed. As a result, I feel hopeless and unmotivated. It is the same reason why I buy things and throw them out a week later, I suppose. When I feel ambitious, I buy things to “make changes,” to pursue a hobby or some other “worthy” cause. I become overwhelmed and depressed, and when I feel my plans and abilities will fail, I simply discard my purchases.

Writing Is My Faithful Outlet

I won’t throw away my laptop, but I may edit some of my ideas on the computer. I have written essays to process my feelings and to aid in my research and recovery of mental health issues. When I have a problem, I turn to the internet or books to help me understand; I usually feel compelled to write while researching a topic.

But even now, I have only recently begun to feel like writing again. I had hoped to be making progress in composing a collection of essays to be published, either independently, or otherwise. I don’t like waiting months for a response, and I feel I want control over my work. I have been feeling like I’m drifting, sailing mindlessly, with nothing to do but observe the grim scenery. I’ve come to realize, despite my depression, bipolar people can still do some things, even when they are crippled by mood fluctuations.

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How to Work on Your Dreams Even When You’re Depressed

  • Work on smaller tasks that help you achieve your goals. When I feel too depressed to write, I should accept the fact that I won’t probably compose a novel in that state, but at least I can make an effort to put my thoughts, ideas, or any other “fragment” down on paper. The mind can gather and begin to subconsciously work in a way to move me to write once again.

  • Peruse the internet to find support groups and tips. Many people are in the same place, looking for answers and support.

  • Remind yourself of your dreams and how they are a great part of you! No matter what others think of me, no matter how lousy life has become, I am grounded in at least one passion. I don’t seek approval from others when I am depressed because people tend to view depressed individuals in a negative way. Thankfully, I’m an introverted person- I don’t need other people to make me feel better. It is a boost to my ego when I do feel accepted by others, however.

  • Get some fresh air and some fresh perspective. Maybe circumstances and people are creating a climate that is toxic. Get around new people, go for a walk, listen to music to drown out some of the toxicity.

  • Read! Being a writer means I must be a reader too. When I am uninspired, I read inspirational stories of other writers. In the midst of feeling depressed, I read articles about how to improve my mental health. I understand that with my mood disorder, I am prone to bouts of depression. I have almost accepted this fact of life. Reading about mood disorders helps me feel less anxious and isolated. Recently, I bought myself a Kindle, and I’ve discovered a wealth of free ebooks on self-improvement, mental health, productivity, and creativity. Every chance I have a break at work, I read a few ebooks and get inspired and more motivated.

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Acceptance: A Positive Attitude About Something That Can’t Be Changed

Sometimes, acceptance is a great way to overcome depression. When I’m depressed, I tend to consume too much caffeine. I drink coffee compulsively, sometimes to fill the emptiness in my time, or to curb physical hunger. This behavior wrecks my eating patterns, as I often “crash” from this caffeinated-diet and I supplement my diet with junk food. I don’t always accept my poor eating habits, but I make concessions for them.

But, I can change my shopping, cooking and eating habits. There is often an issue with anxiety that I am unwilling to exchange for a healthier habit (such as eating right). With depression, there are often many layers of behavioral issues that need to be managed. If I am too overwhelmed to pursue healthier choices, I have enabled internal and external factors to influence my life. Despite living with unresolved issues, but because one can choose to acknowledge that which is “unresolved,” acceptance is authentic. Choosing acceptance doesn’t mean I am free to mull over poor choices, rather, it is a way a life sometimes.

© 2018 Tracy Kocsis

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