I’ve had several bouts of depression, anxiety, panic attacks in my teenage years, when I was in school and even in early years in the university. Nowadays (I am 26 now) I can say that most days I am feeling good, sometimes even great, I think I can safely say that I am not depressed anymore. Bad days when I am feeling down happens quite rarely now. My anxiety levels are way down too, and really is manageable, social anxiety still exists, but too much lesser degree and I have learned a lot of social skills to deal with people over the years. I needed some time to recognize that I am a different person now and 10 years before. I decided to share what helped me to deal with these mental health issues. Maybe it will be useful or interesting to someone else.
So the things that helped me personally:
1. Exercise – you will find it in every health article, but it really is true. I used to lift weights, was boxing for a couple of months, now I am riding a bike in the summer, going for a walks or sometimes even lift some weights, that I have in my home or do some pushups. Whatever you like, just do it, it will improve your overall health and you will feel happier.
2. Vitamin D, Magnesium, Fish oil – vitamin D was really a game changer for me, because for me it was really depleted and on the critical side, when tested. Low vitamin D can cause many problems including depression, anxiety, poor sleep. Once restored back to normal I have gained confidence, my anxiety levels went down, my mood improved and I seem to be just stable now most of the time.
I am living in Lithuania, where there is not a lot of sun, even in summer, so that might be the reason that my levels were very low. Also, I wasn’t going out a lot and was staying indoors most of my teenage years. And when the fall and winter comes there is no chance to make pretty much any of it from the sun, so the supplements are needed. In Lithuania ( and I suppose other northern countries) 9 out of 10 people lack vitamin D (use translator if you speak English).
Lithuanian vitamin D status article
Magnesium – really good at calming me down, helps sleep too and can cause depression, anxiety, panic if depleted.
Fish oil – it is proven that it helps depression and really it should be a supplement you take from time to time, because we don’t eat that much fat fish anyway, which has fish oil in it.
3. Having goals – for me having life goals really helped me, because I see myself doing something and moving forward. That really makes me feel good and gives some life purpose.
4. Sleep schedule is important – Jordan Peterson – a psychology professor, which I admire, said in one of his videos that having a consistent sleep schedule is very important, even if you are not depressed, because it regulates circadian rhythms and our neurotransmitters, which in turn our mood and energy levels. You can watch his video here:
5. Healthy foods – that’s a big one. Try to eat kebab, potato chips, sweets, cakes and overall processed foods, drink sugary drinks… for a year and see what happens. No wonder that these actions make you feel sick, it depletes your nutrients and just poison you, while providing very little nutritional value. Now change these things with real foods like eggs, fish, meat, bread, vegetables, buckwheat, fruits, nuts and so on… and you will see an improvement in your physical and mental health. Maybe you will lose some weight too or even gain some weight if you need to.
6. Being honest with myself – trying to not lie to myself, embracing that I am an introvert and need different ways to recharge and like different kind of fun helped me big time too. I don’t need to pretend, I can just be the way I am and that is a liberating feeling.
7. Heavy metal music – it really is a great way express your anger or frustration or other built up emotions by moshing or just headbanging to the music. Study finds that metal music helps fight depression:
Link to the study
8. Having hobbies – for example, playing electric guitar or computer games, makes me relax and express myself, just have fun without any commitment to someone else.
If you would want to ask or share something just let me know in the comments!