If you’ve never had to deal with depression in your life, consider yourself lucky.
You’re sad, exhausted, and something as small as taking a shower or eating a meal seems like climbing a mountain.
But the key is figuring out how to get out of that terrible state. And accomplishing that is different for everyone.
Folks on AskReddit talked about how they were able to get out of deep depressive states. Let’s take a look.
Jigsaw puzzles have brought me out of some dark pits. Gives me something to hyper focus on.
I don’t need to think about it too much or put effort into it, but I can sit there for hours doing one. It’s helped me feel productive again.”
2. Get things done.
“Cleaning up often helps me.
There’s something about staring at a messy room that always brings me down.
Just getting the dirty dishes clean feels like I accomplished something.”
3. Books and music.
“Books can be a great way to get out of your own head, music was able to somewhat help me.
As I got worse myself I had more and more time with nothing to do and being alone with my thoughts was pulling me deeper into the spiral of depression.”
4. Good tip.
“Try to only use your bed for sleeping.
Even if you spend the whole day on the couch instead, it will help your sleep and its a first step to potentially getting other things done.”
5. Start small.
I’ll do 5 push ups and if I don’t feel like more, thats okay.
Or set a 5 minute walk as the target.
Keep going if you can.”
6. Take care of yourself.
“Eat and take vitamins.
You likely dont feel like eating anything. But you need to. Getting your daily vitamins can go a long way to healing and get easy to make food so you dont have to cook.
Canned soups were my best friend.”
7. No more al**hol.
“Mine was when my al**holism was at its worst.
As you can guess, the solution was getting sober. At this point I was just drinking all day every day waiting for death to come on its own.
In the state I was in the only thing that meant anything to me was my mom’s dog, Ginger. I don’t really follow any religion, but I truly believe that Ginger is my guardian angel.
I was watching that sweet girl while mom was on vacation. I think it was day two, 8/11/2017, when I decided I had had enough. I needed to get better by any means, or else I wouldn’t be around to watch Ginger the next time mom took a vacation.
So I texted a friend who I knew was in AA, and gave him full decision making power over my life for the time being. After a 3 day hospital stay, I started going to AA meetings and learning how to exist without al**hol. I don’t go much anymore, but have never felt any threat to my sobriety. I know I am one of the lucky ones to have staying sober be so easy.
If you had asked me on 8/10/2017 (the day before I sought help) what I’d be doing today, I would have told you, “I’m not gonna live to see 2018.” But here I am in 2021, telling my story to anyone who cares to hear it and happier than I’ve ever been.”
8. Hobbies are good.
“Really diving deep into my creative hobbies. I had always dabbled in writing and music. Just jumping in with no real plans or expectations and seeing what happens.
I’ve suffered from panic attacks my entire adult life and depression alongside with it. When they reached their worst point most people gave up on me.
I spent a lot of time after that learning more about music. I’d always played bass but I decided I wanted to be able to make music all on my own. I learned how to make mashups, then I learned how to make remixes, then I started composing originals.
I’d previously written two articles on the SCP wiki and then just sort of stopped. I decided to really expand my submissions and wrote a bunch of new articles. I even rewrote one of my old articles because it was kind of weak.
The funny thing is, that became a good measuring stick for me. I always told myself I was awful at everything, but I was basically compiling evidence I was good at something.
Having songs that get praised by people and added to someone’s personal playlists makes you feel validated.
Looking next to a story and see hundreds of upvotes mattered to me.
I realized that when I was depressed it wasn’t that I didn’t want to do anything, it’s that I kept convincing myself that I couldn’t. That I would fail. That I would just waste my time. That I didn’t even deserve success anyways.
And I was wrong.
I have ideas worth sharing, and I’m going to share them.”
9. A combination.
“For me it was a combination of things..
Music – learned to play guitar on youtube
Books – found out about stoicism
Myself – I was listening to a Pink Floyd song (echoes) and theres a part where they say “I am you and what I see is me” and I realized that we are all going through something, and if I helped someone else then in return I was helping myself.
Lo and behold, I started to feel better about myself after helping others.”
10. You’re in charge.
“My dog. It forces me to get up and do something.
Feed him, take him outside multiple times a day. If I didn’t have him I would spend all my time off work in bed.”
11. Set your goals.
“Setting a schedule for myself.
Setting VERY small and attainable goals (read 1 page of a book, draw for 10 minutes, do a 5 minute exercise warm up, etc).
Making myself reach out to friends when I’m struggling, and getting proper meds.”
12. Get yourself going.
Honestly, I lost my job due to COVID and was going through a bunch of other stuff and would lay in the floor and sleep the day away.
Once I figured why not try it?
Oh man, that woke me up and got me just enough energy to start cleaning the house that id been putting off and that would feed into more motivation. Didn’t cure it completely but it helped get me jump started.”
13. That helped.
“I dragged myself out of bed and went for a walk with my little cousin.
Having him hand me flowers and point out planes was the most hopeful thing I’ve ever experienced.
It was if I was seeing the world from his joyful perspective.”
14. Gotta start somewhere.
“I commit myself to brushing my teeth every morning.
I tell myself I don’t have to do literally anything else all day, but this one tiny, easy thing I have to do.
So I brush my teeth, with full permission to go back to bed and wish I was dead right after. But usually once I’ve done it, I feel like maybe I can do one more thing today.
But that’s all! I don’t have to anything else at all today, but I can probably manage to brush my hair. So I do that.
And I just keep doing tiny, easy things, and when I can’t do anymore, I already gave myself full sincere permission to call it a day, so I lay on the couch and wish I was dead, and sometimes while I’m doing that, I’ll think of one more tiny, easy thing I can do, and I’ll do that, and maybe a couple other things.
I want to be clear that it’s not about tricking myself into being productive; it’s about being accepting of my bad days and giving myself permission to do the absolute minimum until the next day, when I will reevaluate where I’m at and what I can do.”
“At first: my son. I HAD to get out of bed, he couldn’t take care of himself as he was way too young. (2,5/3 years old).
But it got worse and worse and worse. I realized it was very bad when he came up to me with his toy car and I had absolutely no energy or desire to even say “oooh yes! Car!”
What eventually helped was being dragged to therapy by my aunt. I have had therapy for 2 years. After the first session I went home with one specific idea from my therapist and it helped me most: I put a journal next to my bed and forced myself to write ONE good thing about/for the day.
It started with 30 pages of one line: “Made breakfast for me and son”
Gradually there were 2 things: “Made breakfast for me and son” “Got dressed”
Two notebooks later I could write things as “Thought of a morning routine” And eventually “completed full morning routine”
I have recovered but still have setbacks as I have recurring depression episodes. My son is now 9 years old and he kind of knows what is going on when I have one of the episodes and he knows about the notebooks. To this day I still use them. It has never gotten back to just one line a day. Most beautiful thing? If I can’t think of something……….. my son can think of something.
I have even come across some things HE wrote down for me without me knowing. They’re like secret little surprises to find at night. Those are the BEST motivators!”
16. Give yourself permission.
“I gave myself permission to do nothing. This permission removed feelings of guilt & anxiety about the inactivity.
Then, once I had given myself permission, I relaxed and rested. My body and mind needed that.
Eventually, I got better and felt like doing something again.”
17. You gotta do it.
“Forced myself to see a doctor and get on meds.
Nothing in my life and relationships with people changed, no trigger.
After months I just picked one of those rare “motivated enough to go make myself a sandwich” moments and dragged my *ss to the hospital instead.”
18. Big improvement.
“I had a bad bout of depression the end of last year. I wasn’t going to end it, I don’t think, but I didn’t care if I died.
Just straight apathy for living and everything.
On my absolute worst night, after an entire day of sitting on the side of the bed and staring at the floor, I called my mother. It was late and though we are close, I don’t often call her out of the blue. She knew something was wrong when she answered.
The next day I made an appointment with a doctor and a therapist. I got on medication to fix my non-existent seratonin and started opening up about my feelings with professionals, friends, and family. I realized how much people cared about me.
As the meds started to build up, I found myself exercising everyday, just like pushups and planks and stuff. I started buying more fruits. I eat a lot of berries. All this made me feel physically better.
After a few weeks I got passed up for a job that I had interviewed twice for, thought I had, really wanted, and kind of needed. It didn’t put me into a crashing depression. I was disappointed but it was just a problem to overcome.
Depression is a sickness just like anything else. I totally understand that many of the Americans reading this don’t have insurance but a month supply of lexapro using the Good Rx app is dirt cheap.
I hope the people reading this can find a purpose and a happiness. Life is neat. I know it sucks for you right now though.”
19. Man’s best friend.
“My dog has helped so much with my anxiety and depression.
I would see him just living in the moment and started making attempts at savoring the moment when I felt good. A nice breeze on a hot day, baby animals, a sunset. And then I discovered mindfulness, which led to practicing gratitude and loving-kindness.
I wanted to have more energy to play with my dog so I paid better attention to my diet. The way I used to before I developed a chronic illness. My dog is one of my biggest motivators.”
20. Support system.
“Honestly, my friends and family.
I’ve been so deep into depression that I spent 2 days trying to take my own life. Repeatedly. I remember that I texted my best friend how I was feeling but she didn’t answer so I immediately thought she hated me and wanted me dead. I climbed up on my balcony and almost threw myself off it. But my neighbor came home and I didn’t want to traumatize them.
I ended up in hospital hours later but I was released. My friend texted back and her message was “I wish I texted you back sooner.” But what really sealed the deal was that I was in the psych ward following another suicide attempt. My entire family (unknown to me) was cleaning and refurbishing my apartment. I called my sister to check on my cat when I heard my other little sister.
She didn’t know where I was exactly, she just knew I wasn’t feeling right in my head so she kept repeating “I love you, I love you” Over and over to make sure I heard her. Sometimes I still want to die but then I remember her repeating “I love you” And suddenly I can either find the strength to continue or check myself into a mental ward.”
21. It’s a big world.
Something about realizing how huge the universe is & still I was born. For what? Maybe just to be. For so long my depression came from not living up to the expectations I thought I should’ve been. So many people live searching for a purpose, but you ARE the purpose.
Out of all the planets in all of the systems in the WHOLE universe, we found ourselves in the one planet we know of that can sustain life.
Also changing the way I see religion as a result. I was taught (catholic) that we must live good lives to please this man in the sky. But with astronomy I started seeing everything different. To me, God is the universe. It created itself, & created us.
Not for a greater purpose, but just to live. We don’t have to strive to be a perfect human because we are already living in this heaven that as far as we know is the only one. I don’t want to live my whole life for this after life & miss the one Im in.
22. Time to eat.
Doesn’t matter if you want to do it or not, your body needs it so badly. It takes a lot of work to get to the kitchen and scavenge some leftovers or a big snack, but it pays off wonderfully.
It might not make you happy, but it helps give you a little boost of energy to take care of yourself through the day.”
23. Time to move on.
“Quit my job.
On week 3 now of unemployment and never been happier. Turns out my soul sucking job of 6+ years as an accountant has been slowly killing me inside to the point of being suicidal. I’d been doing the job of 3 people for 2+ years (sh*tty company=high turnover issue – shocker) and I fully intended on sticking it out at least 1 more tax season before quitting.
But the first ~2 weeks of January were so bad, workload wise, the worst ever in my entire 6 years working there, that I put my notice in for the end of Jan.
Taking a few months off to work on myself and re-discover my hobbies and interests again before looking for another job, hopefully less soul sucking. I realize most people don’t have this luxury but quitting that sh*thole has given me life back.”
Have you ever been able to snap out of a deep depression?
If so, how did you do it?
Please tell us your stories in the comments. Thanks!