Controlling Depression with Daily Practice
Posted by naomij20
2nd Jun 2016

One of the main characteristics of my depressive episodes is chaos; my schedule goes completely out of the window. I lose track of time - I might stay up for two or three days in a row without sleep, I'll eat dinner at 2am, I'll forget to call my friends. I enter into a time-warp where I can't grasp how long I've been sitting in bed staring at a screen, and I have no idea what day of the week it is; nor do I care.

I stumbled across the website Moodscope during one of my late night internet binges.Lonely, bored, and unable to sleep, I decided to find out if tracking my mood would make me feel better, or just worse because I'd be able to see how low I was.

I decided to devote myself to something, even if it was just one tiny thing; even if it was just noting how I felt each day. It gave me a responsibility, I guess and, if anything, it would help me keep track of what month we were in!

Seeing that graph go up and down as I tracked my mood made me more self aware. It made me proud of the peaks, and aware that the troughs would eventually pass. It also allowed me to figure out what made me feel better from the patterns I could see in the data. From just that one small act of recording, more habits grew. I started to get used to showering every day, then getting dressed, then eating three meals at normal times.

I also started an anonymous Tumblr, where I would write all my thoughts, and share pictures and quotes which spoke to me. This acted as a log which I could look back on. It gave me a sense of time and place; a sense of self. It allowed me to see how far I'd come, and to understand and articulate how I was feeling. Even looking back on bad days where I'd written negative things gave me a sense that I'd moved forward and overcome something. And keeping journals like this is fun!

I've come a long way, and now feel more able to keep some kind of schedule. I have a diary, and there are things I remember to do every day which I used to leave for weeks - I brush my teeth, I check my emails, I style my hair, I do the washing up. I still struggle with deadlines and remembering to text people back, but I can feel that I'm in the process of becoming more functional. And its all thanks to that daily practice.

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