Self-Care for Depression

Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.

-Dodie Smith

Oh dear, another quote I feel the need to argue with. Self-care and good deeds are in fact an important part of being a human and combating depression, but that alone cannot cure a severe case. Good deeds will change your view of yourself as the helpless receiver of care to someone who has something to provide to others.

When I was at a women’s homeless shelter, I started volunteering at a domestic abuse shelter as a cleaning lady. It really changed my perspective of myself, and I felt empowered to be an aide to women in a similiar situation as myself. Super-ironically, I showed up with a black eye poorly hidden with makeup. I got some tips on covering it better (use ice for swelling, and they make yellow tinged concealer for purple/blue bruises-wear that under your normal concealer) and got some “Come to Jesus”talks out of it, and cemented friendships with a few women there. No one can feel your pain like someone who’s been through the same situation… It was a while until I left the guy who gave me the black eye – I left that job to move somewhere with him. It was as wonderful as you’d expect, and against the advice of some of my friends, some of them I met through my volunteer gig.

The point of my diatribe is that you can be in quite a poor position in life, and can still add to the lives of others, and they can add to your life in unexpected ways.Don’t think that you have nothing to give – if you have nothing else, give your time – it can be the most valuable gift another person recieves today. However, that isn’t enough to treat depression on its own most of the time – I’d consider it a necessary part of treatment, but not the end all and be all in medicine for depression.

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