One of the most valuable things, I learned was how open our communication was with one another. Travis and I are very honest with each other, although at times it can be very hard to talk about how depression makes him feel and think. Being open with each other is important, is there something I do that causes him anxiety and leads to a more depressed state? Does he simply need more time to himself? Can I say something to support him?
I ask him every day how he’s feeling. I try to navigate his depression with him, he tells me what he is feeling, if he feels especially bad we have a list of coping mechanisms to try.
- Listening to music, but not Sufjan Stevens. We like Sufjan but he can be depressing, so pick an album or artist that lifts them up.
- Go for a walk outside. Asher likes this option because he gets to be involved.
- Talk about what is going on with someone from his support system.
We also work on affirmations. This is not something we only do on the worst of the worst days, every day it’s important to affirm those with mental illness that they are valued.
- You are valued & loved.
- Your actions may be good or bad, but that does not make you good or bad.
- Every experience we have in life, even unpleasant ones, contributes to our learning and growth.
These are just a few of our coping and affirmation skills we use. It’s a short list but it’s a list that works for us. Talk to your friend or family member and create a list of tasks that will help them.
I’m not a doctor or licensed therapist. As always in the event of an emergency, dial 911.