Why is it that all your friends seem to have such perfect and lovely lives? You see them traveling the world, enjoying sunny holidays, playing with their cute pets, and raising happy families. Well it's true, but the truth is that everybody has good and bad days. What you see on the internet is people promoting the best parts of their life – nobody wants to advertise the bad parts – it would be too dramatic.
But we all have some bad days every now and then, and depression is a real problem, especially among working class people who often feel like their efforts and going no where and are bored with life. There are a lot of things we do when we are suffering from depression that stop us from recovering as fast as possible. Oftentimes when we should be out and about learning new things and distracting ourselves, we hide ourselves inside with self pity and refuse to accept help. It's the biggest problem depression exists. We need to stay away from bad habits and accept positive change. Here are a few bad habits we have when we are sad, the exact things we should not be doing. What should we do instead? The opposite! Stay healthy, stay active.
1. Spending too much time on the internet
Isolation is our biggest problem when we are depressed – we should be socializing and distracting ourselves but it is hard for us to get beyond our struggles in our mind. When we stay at home, what do we have to do? We play on the computer. We spend all day on our phone looking at others people's happy lives, pictures, and events, and it just drags us down deeper and deeper. Why can't we just be like them? They look so happy and we are not. Why do their lives look so perfect and ours are the way it is now?
The problem with social media is that we spend all day comparing their lives to ours, without remembering the fundamental fact that everyone has complicated and emotional lives, and that we only advertise our highlights on the internet. Of course everyone looks happy on Facebook – we are promoting our best parts. But when we are depressed we forget that everyone has a colourful and varied life and we suffer from tunnel vision.
Stay away from social unless you have a hardened sense of reality and can remind yourself to look past the blur and simply feel gratitude for the uplifting pictures other people will be posting.
2. Eating junk food
Yum! Cake, chips, crisps, chocolate…all these delicious things seem to be so much more delicious when we are suffering from depression. The last thing you should be eating is junk though. Your mind is under enough duress when you are depressed, and you need to keep your body in tact during this stressful time. There are plenty of comfort foods that also satisfy the sweet or salty tooth, but don't involve eating an entire box of ice cream. Think about mom's rice pudding, a nice fruit shake, or some gluten free desserts from a local cafe. Same great taste, not as much stress on your body.
I had a friend who suffered from depression for a while, and in the depths of it he immediately relapsed into an old smoking habit of his. It's easy to want to smoke since it appears to calm our nerves and gives us something to do with our hands and mind, or perhaps gives us a reason to go outside. The truth is though, that it is a nasty habit that reconfigures what your brain and body needs, and acts as an appetite suppressant when you are probably already suffering from a decreased appetite.
My friend ended up getting to over a pack a day before he healed himself and quit cold turkey the next day. By the end of it, he barely ate and could not taste food anymore. Luckily he recovered completely and went on to live a healthy life. Just don't do it.
4. Drinking alcohol
Perhaps some would resort to drinking alcohol instead, and the reasons are too easy to see. It's legal, openly available and socially acceptable to drink – when you are depressed and have nothing to do, why not drink more? It gives you a reason to go out, or gives you a reason to stay in. Unfortunately, it's not a good reason.
Alcohol does to us exactly what we should not be doing – limiting our brains, making us lazy, and actually poisoning us. We should be doing proactive things that stimulate our minds and distract us – not the opposite. It's easy to go out and buy a bottle of wine and watch a movie – we probably do it anyways. But with a cloud of depression, a bottle of wine or beer is just a toxic combination that leads down a slippery slope to more regression, when we should be moving forward with our recovery.
5. Staying inside
The best recovery for depression is going out, meeting people, seeing your friends, and exercising. Unfortunately, that's exactly the opposite of what we want when we are unhappy. We want to stay inside, flick through movies, listen to the same music over and over again, and have nothing to do with people. We feel trapped, and we do it to ourselves. The image of a sad person in a dark and quiet house is not just social, it's real. Do yourself a favour and spend as little time inside as you can. It will seem futile to even go outside and go for a walk – you may feel frustrated or lonely, but anything is better than staying in. Insist that your friends ask you out, and take up the offer. You need to be distracted.
6. Avoiding our friends
Comfort is important in our life and even more so when we are suffering from acute depression. Therefore it is 100% ok to bother your friends when you feel depressed and ask for their help – that's what they're there for. What should you not do? Avoid your friends. Do not feel like you are bothering them. You should be, and when they ask you to go out with them, you need to accept the invitation and go with them. They are trying to help you and mean well. You are not a burden on anyone. Everyone knows that we all go through dark times. It's acceptable and you should enjoy the hospitality. At the end of the day, your friends and family are the most important things to you. Enjoy their love and reciprocate it.