My Number One Way to Conquer Depression
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Let's talk about mental illness.
WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?
It's a hard subject and one many people are just now starting to understand as a valid form of illness. Mental Illness can be a variety of conditions that affect your mood, thinking and/or behavior. These can include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addictions.
Just like any illness, there are symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Long-lasting sadness or irritability; extreme mood swings; excessive anxiety or worry; social withdrawal; changes in eating habits and/or sleeping patterns.
Something to keep in mind is that mental illness is not always visible. This picture is me, in the height of 'Rona.
I have always known I suffer from an eating disorder. It's something I tackled about 10 years ago and still have to battle daily. But, I also learned a few years ago that I am prone to bouts of depression. Of course, everyone has moments of sadness or lethargy, but I hit a hard wall. I lost friends. I probably should have lost my job, but thankfully did not. Since then, I have learned to identify when that darkness begins to creep back in, I know what my triggers are (for both the depression and the eating) and I have learned what I need to do to shoo it away.
STEP 1: KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS
For me, I grow depressed when life grows stagnant. When I am subject to the same schedule every single day with nothing to look forward to.
Go to work.
So, as you might imagine, the 'Rona got me real good - I imagine it got a lot of people. Our trips were cancelled time and time again. And I quickly stopped having anything to look forward to.
I recognized the darkness and I searched for a [socially distant] solution. I needed to go outside and explore. It sounds boujie, but I need vacations, no matter how small or how quick.
STEP 2: FIND A FIX
I found the South Carolina Ultimate Outsider Challenge. This challenge is to visit all 47 state parks in the state of South Carolina. They provide a booklet that has a page for each state park. At each park, you get your book stamped to prove you visited. This gave me purpose. It gave me a specific goal to attain that required me to plan trips, leave my house, and get outside and moving.
Going to state parks is an easy way to go exploring and create a vacation that really can't be cancelled.
DISCLAIMER: I'M NO DOCTOR
I definitely want to add to this post by saying that I'm not a doctor, I'm not a psychologist, and if you do suffer from mental illness, you should speak to a professional. I also know that I am privileged to be able to have a mild form of depression that can be quelled with sunshine and exercise. Not everyone has this ability - hence, talk to a professional. I do think sunshine, exercise, and a healthy diet do contribute to a stable mind, but I know it's not everything.
I'll be exploring South Carolina's 47 state parks along with some bonus locations. I'll share my experiences at each one, so stay with me.