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This is the sixth in a series of posts about depression and more importantly, how we can take steps to hopefully keep it under control.
After I was diagnosed with depression, I was convinced I could limit both the frequency of my ‘bad’ days, and also the severity of those days. I researched everything I could about how other sufferers deal with their condition, and listed all the advice I thought could work for me. This resulted in fifteen steps, which I’m covering over fifteen weeks, and this is number six.
Step 6 – The Feel-Good Myth
AKA – Stop Relying on Stimulants
In my latest book, High and Low, I relied heavily on stimulants to help me get through my bad days. At least I thought they were helping, in fact they weren’t, they just made matters worse. If you’ve read my story, you’ll know the importance of this step.
Stimulants provided me with relief from depressive feelings, but it was short-lived, and the fallout merely compounded the problem.
I drank a lot of alcohol, smoked too much weed and tobacco, and ate unhealthily. I felt great in the evening, when I usually indulged. My pain numbed, my comprehension of the world changed to somewhere I could relax. Then I had to face the morning hangover, the coughing, stomach aches, and, obviously, a deeper depression.
You’re already aware of the repercussions. I have the occasional drink still, but I’m proud to say that I’m now drinking just two bottles of wine a month instead of 40. Sure, I have days where I eat unhealthily, I’m not some sort of purist Yogi subsisting on lettuce leaves and water. However, in the main my diet is great, and I’ll cover what you can do when we discuss nutrition in the next post.
Quitting or drastically cutting down on stimulants was the single most effective step I took.
You can read about my hike across Scotland, while coming to terms with the fact I had depression, in my latest book – High and Low. Just click on the image for details.