17 Low Cost Ways to Fight Depression
Pretty much every woman/man I have talked to with a narcissistic partner has some depression/depressed attitudes. (See the graphic below to evaluate some of the signs of depression in women and men). This is to be expected after a prolonged period of mental and emotional abuse. Your spirit kind of dies and sinks a little as you lose the hope of your relationship ever being healthy and you forget who you are.
Its super important though, to recognize that this is temporary and you can get yourself back, even while you’re still WITH the narcissist. You don’t have to let them take over your mind and soul and even if they have already, you can get it back. I feel like I have made HUGE strides towards this in the last year, even though I have a ways to go, I have far more good days than bad and Im slowly implementing these practices into my own life.
I would advise however, that the number one way to help yourself overcome the depression the narc gives you, you must create distance. Keep away from them as much as possible. Its not always easy or possible, and every situation is unique, but I do believe this is key.
Here are the 17 other tips I’m implementing to get my mind back!
Im not talking about running marathons here (although is thats your thing than go for it!) But, physical activity will help release endorphins and get you feeling better. Pick something fun that you enjoy, even just a dance workout or yoga. You can find all kinds of great workouts for all fitness levels on YouTube. Explore a little and try something new.
So this might fly in the face of GreyRock a little, but I do think its still important. You don’t have to doll yourself up and get glam, but keeping clean, using lotions, taking baths, all of these will make you feel better and like your taking care of yourself even when your trying to be invisible.
Meditation/ Quiet/ Calming Music
When your stressed, quiet can be the most amazing thing on the planet. Find some time every day when the kids are in bed or get up early and just sit in the quiet. This would be a great time for reading something uplifting, or listening to calming music (Which itself can reduce depression up to 25%). Just take some time to breathe. The Headspace app is free and an amazing tool to help you
Its super important to get as much of the chemicals out of your diet as you can. Think of it as
eating simply. Stay away from too much sugar or alcohol, and also breads. Try and eat whole foods, and drink teas like Green Tea, Kava and Chamomile.
This could be an entire article in and of itself, but I have found that using Omega-3, magnesium, Vitamin B, and Potassium are especially effective for me. If the Omega-3 gives you an upset stomach, you can always try krill oil, which is a smaller pill, more concentrated, and not fishy like the Omega-3 pills tend to be. Every person is different though and you may find a different combination works better for you. More Information on supplements to fight the signs of depression in women and men HERE.
Do Something You’re Good At
This does not have to be huge, it could be as simple as arranging a vase of flowers or going grocery shopping and saving a bunch of money through coupons. Doing something that will make you feel accomplished is great for your soul and will help lift your mood.
Get hugs from your kids, your pets or yourself! A weighted blanket (Or just a lot of heavy blankets) can do wonders for calming your mood and making you feel safer and more secure.
Clean out your junk drawer, wash out the lint trap on your dryer, vacuums your baseboards or your car. Pick a fun small DIY project from Pinterest and go to town. 79% of people in a study felt better after accomplishing a small task than before.
Be in Nature/Sunshine
A Stanford study proved that walking in Nature has the capability to reduce the ruminating thoughts that can trap us in the whirlpool of depression and walking in a natural environment has a calming and restorative affect. I know that for me, being outside makes me feel SO much better. In winter its really tough to get that time outside, but its worth the effort on the nicer days. I also use an app called Relax to listen to nature sounds as Im falling asleep, which has been proven to help you recover from stress (something I can testify to firsthand). There are a multitude of apps like this, take your pick!
I have not tried this one, however it is on my list. I have read great things about Turmeric and its effects against signs of depression in women, so I’m pretty confidant it would work well. Here is a link to the recipe. Let me know if you’ve had this and how it worked for you!
This can be a double edged sword. I would say that using your journal to detail how awful your spouse is will not help you, although there is certainly a place for that.
Use your journal to talk about yourself, and try and keep it positive. Im not talking unrealistic “pie in the sky” stuff, but talk about your future and your hopes and dreams. Talk about your soul and your feelings, but don’t let yourself sink into the sadness too far. Let your emotions out and then let them go.
I have also found creating a gratitude journal is super helpful and writing in it in the morning starts my day off really well. Survivors have this perspective that we don’t really have it as bad as that person over there, so use this to your advantage. Take a look around and list ten things your tankful for every day and really think about it and feel thankful. This will help change your perspective and also open your eyes to the resources you may miss when your dwelling on all the things you don’t have that you need. (This is not to say your pain and needs aren not real, but only that focusing on your good will help your soul).
Watch cute animal videos
Okay so this one may seem silly, but watching funny cute animals will end up making you smile and forget for a while whats going on. You need a break from your stress. I don’t do thins daily by any means, but when I’m sad it does help lift my spirits to watch something cute be silly for a bit. 🙂
Clean Up Your Surroundings
When the room is a mess, your head is a mess and you can’t focus as well. Straightening up helps the air move better, your eye to move smoothly through the room, and yo won’t have that tiny vice in the back of your mind telling you you should be cleaning anymore. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment and pride to get it done. I am not a naturally tidy person, but when things are straightened up and my surfaces are clean (no backpacks and school books on the table, kids shoes are put away, blankets in the family room are folded, dishes are in the dishwasher, etc) I feel so much better about my day.
Create a Dream Board
You probably can’t make a bulletin board and hang it in your dining room, but Pinterest is MADE for this! Go through and go crazy, pick out fabulous vacations, cute outfits, houses, cars, furniture, whatever. Dream shop for awhile and believe your future will be better. You may not see how, you might think your being ridiculous, but how can you reach for something better if you have no idea what that might look like?
Establish a Morning Routine
Mine is pretty simple, I get up, make myself some tea (Im trying to replace my coffee, so sometimes I give in…) and sit in the early morning light and read whatever motivational/ psychological uplifting book I’m reading at the moment. Ill write in my gratitude journal if I can before my little gets up, which isn’t always possible since she’s an early bird. But this takes my day back for me. I’m setting the tone for my OWN day right out of the gate. Your day might look different, maybe you want to do some yoga or go for a run, but my point is, make it your time and do something for yourself.
Self Compassion/Eliminate Negative Self Talk
THIS IS THE HARDEST TIME OF OUR LIVES, God willing.
We are going through hell. And what makes it worse is the constant criticism form the narc about how we are useless and incompiant and can’t get anything done. The outside world can not understand and maybe we have started to think we actually are lazy. We’re not, we are overwhelmed. It is CRITICAL to remember to take it easy on ourselves. Rest when you can but primarily, do not believe how the narcissist defines you, and do not continue to beat yourself up inside using his/her words. Choose your own inner dialogue and remind yourself you are doing the best you can.
Even if you only manage to do one of these things, you’re doing a great job.
This in no way is to say that medication is not a good option. If you need it and you can get it, than by all means, do whatever is necessary to preserve your mental health. I’m only presenting these options because I believe I can’t possibly be the only on out there with no access to medical help (no insurance…) and still needing to feel better.
My point in all this is not to give you tools to continue to live under the narcissists thumb. What they are doing to us is not okay and no matter how many coping techniques you use, you cannot overcome all of the abuse and stay in the environment forever. There will still be damage, because we are not machines and we have feelings! Eventually, the plan does need to be leaving them, period. But until that day comes, rebuilding our strength and overcoming the darkness thats inside US is highly important.