For those feeling the anxiety/depression, here are my hints:
(note: I’m not a professional, I simply have figured out what works for me and I’m sharing those things here)
Thinking of it as a bout of anxiety/depression vs an attack. Attack is so negative, has the connotation of being a victim of something that’s done to me, and feels like it’s a lifetime based scenario. On the flip side bout is short term, doesn’t feel so BIG or overwhelming, no implication of being a victim. Whereas thinking of it as a bout feels more like it’s just a passing fact of life.
Emotionally the difference is sort of like my flight being delayed at the airport vs being held hostage.
Be creative, use that emotion. Art is strong and it helps get outside of your head a little. You don’t have to be “good at it”. You can use whatever tools you have on hand; for example magazines, pens, pencils, crayons, your camera on your phone, your computer etc. Write, draw, paint, photograph, collage, poetry, etc. You don’t have to share the art with anyone if you’re not comfortable doing so. The point is the process, not the output.
Shower, even if you’re only going to back to bed. Don’t worry about washing all your bits. Don’t even worry about washing your hair. Even if all you do is stand in the warm water and let it wash over you it’ll give a small boost. If you can get yourself to do something while in there then go ahead and spoil yourself a bit – throw some oil & sugar together and give your skin a quick scrub. Imagine how soft your sheets will feel after that. After the shower put on some clean clothes, or pjs if you feel like it.
Talk with a professional. A diagnosis can feel relieving sometimes, and at other times it can feel like a weight around your neck choking the life out of us. Try to keep in mind that you’re not alone in these feelings, and a diagnosis is not a life sentence.
While you’re not alone in these things, you are uniquely you and you have your own experiences to share. Sharing your experiences will help you and others who may experience some of the same things in the future.
Try different movie/book genres to find one (or more!) that helps lift your spirits. Some find biographies/documentaries inspiring or horror exciting enough to give them a boost. Some like romances for the same reason. It could be self help or sci-fi that floats your boat. Find what genres get your system fired up enough to lift you even for a short period of time. Then when you need the distraction go to them for a little non-human support (you know, for when you need something to distract you but you just can not take another person’s presence at that point). Here’s a list I found that has some ideas for movies that might be what you’re looking for.
For those who care for someone dealing with anxiety/depression:
When we flake on you – please don’t take it personally. There’s a LOT of thinking that goes into flaking out for us, and some of that is usually for your benefit. We know that we’re downers, and we don’t want to spread our negativity around to the ones we love, so sometimes we flake to save you from our crap.
If we flake on you so much that you need to talk to us about it – please try to hold off until we’re not in the depths of it. It’ll save both of us from more anger & tears. If you wait we can hear your concerns more than we will in the moment that we’re flaking. I promise waiting is better.
I realize that it’s hard to wrap your head around all this, but this is not something that we can logic our way out of. I’m not asking you to engage in it, just don’t assign the judgement of “just look at it logically” onto us.
I personally appreciate it when a loved one will say that they understand that what I’m feeling is not a logic thing and we can talk about it at a later time. It feels more genuine and helpful to me than the “oh I get it because I’ve been sad before” kind of answer which can come off as minimizing what someone is experiencing themselves.
EDIT: This list is good