6 Ways to Help Beat Depression

Taming the Black Dog, A Practical Manual for Sufferers by Patrick Ellverton

In my younger years, depression was my constant companion, waking up with me in the morning, accompanying me as I did my paper round, walking beside me through the halls of my school, and growing ever more present as the day made its way into the night. The depression caused low self-esteem, emptiness, inappropriate guilt, negative thoughts, sadness, a lack of purpose, no motivation or energy, recurring thoughts of death and suicide, social isolation and fear about everything. Fear of the future, fear of not being able to deal with everyday life, fear that this will never go away, fear that I will forever feel unloved.

My family did not understand, but in my 20s my mum bought me a book called Taming the Black Dog by Patrick Elleverton and apologized for what I had gone through. For the first time in my life, I felt understood and had the words to express myself, together with the tools that I had desperately been looking for. Therefore, this month we will be looking at depression and ways that you can tame your own black dog.

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II suffered from depression and identified his depression as The Black Dog. According to Patrick Elleverton, before Winston Churchill would make a speech he would sink into depression and would resort to the Whisky or Port Decanter. Many people who suffer from depression use drugs or alcohol as a way of coping together with a host of other negative ways that cause nothing but pain in the end.

There are many reasons why people suffer from depression, such as bereveament or grief, post-partum depression, trauma, or stressors in our life that can cause us to lack self-esteem and confidence such as divorce, being fired from a job, or health issues. Life changes can also cause depression such as going off to college, getting a job, becoming empty nesters and retiring. Many other people are just predisposed to depression.

So what can you do right now? The book suggests some ideas that can help your depression.

Tip #1

Firstly, purchase a page-a-day journal and record the times and circumstances you experienced each depressive episode during the day and night and note what you were doing or not doing during that time. This way you can look for patterns that can be eliminated in the future.

Tip #2

For some immediate relief, get outside and walk for about 40 minutes. I always tell my clients, does it totally get rid of your depression? No, but it certainly does not make you feel any worse!

Tip #3

Want to make a difference and feel better, then go out of your way to do something nice for someone else each day. It can be a helping hand for a neighbor, or a loving gesture for your partner or children. It does not need to cost any money, just your time and energy.

Tip #4

Negative thoughts are just a part of depression, so instead of focusing on the negative, look for the good in things. Say something nice to some, congratulate someone or just give a smile that can always make someone’s day.

Tip #5

Plan to minimize your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a known depressant and even though it may feel good for a while, eventually those negative thoughts will come back and you will either cry or be that angry drunk. Then you have to wake up in the morning with a hangover, not a great feeling.

Tip #6

Eat nourishing food and carefully plan your eating regime. Stop eating junk food, and reduce your simple carbohydrates such as sugar and processed food, and switch to complex carbohydrates such as grains, beans, vegetables and fruit.