“I got the right diagnosis”
Not all depression is the same, and there are many mental health diagnoses that are often lumped together under the umbrella of depression. Getting an accurate diagnosis was the key to finding effective treatment for Rachel Larson. For nearly a decade, she’s gone through periods of being really down, but it got very bad during her first pregnancy – and it was then that she finally got an answer to her extreme mood swings. “It turns out I suffer from bipolar depression, which has aspects of both depression and bipolar disorder, and using medications for bipolar disorder, rather than regular antidepressants, has made all the difference,” she says. “Now I go to counselling and take medication and I am so much happier!”
“I make sleep my #1 priority”
As a mum of four kids under six – including a one-month-old infant – Janette Kudin knows all about sleep deprivation. Thanks to postpartum depression, she also understands the mental fog and dark mood of the mental illness and the toll it takes. It was only recently, however, that she discovered the connection between sleep and depression. “I get postpartum anxiety and depression and have found one of the best things I can do is to get enough sleep,” she says. “I force myself to sleep whenever I can, even if that means putting off household chores or other duties. Right now, having a newborn means I have to let my bigger kids watch a show so I can nap while the baby does. Those are things I don’t necessarily love to do, but if I get over-tired, I’m a mess and it’s worse for everyone.”
Here are some relaxation techniques to help you wind down for sleep.
“I do yoga twice a week”
Monica Haines has been on medication for depression for 14 years; while the meds definitely help, she found greater relief when she started yoga, she says. “What is so helpful is how it teaches you to just be present wherever you are and to be gentle with yourself,” she says. “Depression feels so intolerable that just having someone coach self-acceptance, one moment at a time is extremely helpful for me.” Another benefit is that her yoga classes get her out of the house and with her friends, two other things that help her depression.
Don’t miss these surprising things that could happen when you start doing yoga.