*Pre warning, this is a very personal post*

My most recent bout of depression left me feeling so mentally exhausted that it was difficult to remember when I was last truly happy. But now that it has passed, I think it might help for me to explain my relationship with depression and how I cope. And if this post helps just one other person then it's done what it was supposed to and I'm happy.

In the height of my depression, all I wanted was to sit in my room by myself and cry myself to sleep every night. This particular bout was long and I thought it would never end, I couldn't see the light at the end which made me more depressed because I didn't want to feel like this any more, it was just a vicious circle that I couldn't escape from. I had my normal days, my bad days, and my very bad days. Sometimes on my very bad days I'd lose control and not be able to hold back the tears when I was out with Tom. And then trying to explain what was wrong was like hitting my head against a brick wall. There's never just one thing that's wrong and that's really difficult to explain, it's lots of little things that most people would find insignificant, but to me they were overwhelming and I couldn't handle it. Knowing that Tom felt helpless in these situations was upsetting as well because the last thing I wanted was to upset him and make him uncomfortable. So once again, that vicious circle kicks in and I'm crying because I don't want to upset Tom, but he's upset because I am. It's never ending and exhausting. I decided that I needed a routine, something I could do if I ever felt myself slipping again. These are the things that help me when I'm really struggling to keep my head above water.

1. Find that rock - First things first, find that one person that you know will be there for you. I'm lucky that I have someone that is so supportive of me and my mental state. You need to stop thinking that you're bothering them when you talk to them about your problems and understand that they are there for you and care about how you're feeling.
2. Don't hold anything back when talking - Once you've found that rock, it's important for you to explain and articulate your emotions. I know that getting them into words isn't always easy but once you do, you can feel a weight lift off your shoulders. Even if you have to talk for hours, make sure that you've left no stone unturned in terms of your problems - even the trivial things like someone using all of the toilet paper!
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help - Be that professional help, a friend, or a family member. Asking for help is proof that you want to improve the situation that you're in. Sometimes help can just come in the form of a hug.
4. Do things that you know make you happy - Right, think back to that time where you were laughing so hard that you almost wet yourself, or when you thought "this is the life", or you just thought "this is fun". Now go out and do it. It's that simple. If for some reason you can't, then compromise, do something similar or just try new things. Even if it's just reading a book that makes you happy - do it.
5. Make plans and make sure you stick to them - One thing that helps me is having something to look forward to, be that in a days time, a weeks, or even a years time. It gives you something to do and takes your mind off other things. For example, during my depression, I contacted my sister to see if she wanted to go for a run at the end of the week. This meant that I was looking forward to seeing my sister AND I had someone to talk to about things.
6. Avoid your triggers when you know they will affect you most - If you've had depression before, you know what can trigger your emotions and make situations worse. Avoid these at all costs, especially if you can feel the depression coming on. This is the optimum time to distract yourself and surround yourself with positivity. Don't go looking for reasons to be upset ( I know that I'm guilty of this).
7. Try not to over think - I know it's easier said than done, believe me, but over thinking is so debilitating and mentally draining. Not to mention that it destroys relationships. If you latch onto a thought, the worst thing you can do when you're depressed is try to analyse that thought more because it just becomes a downwards spiral that's very difficult to recover from unless you confront it. I know that everybody is guilty of over thinking things, but during a depression it's almost like signing your own death warrant. It's better to write your thoughts down and perhaps come back to them later when you're feeling better. Keep a rational mind.
8. Go for a run - I could go on and on about the benefits of running, but I'll keep it short and to the point. Running has been scientifically proven to increase your levels of endorphins (aka happy hormones) and so is a natural mood booster. Not to mention that it's great for your health and keeps your mind sharp. Also, I know that a lot of peoples weight is a contributing factor to depression so going for a run means that you're actively trying to change that.
9. Eat healthier - Everyone deals with depression differently. Some people lose their appetites when they're depressed and stop eating, whilst others find comfort in food and tend to over eat. Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet is important whilst your battling to keep your brain and body healthy. Here is website with a list of the foods, vitamins, and nutrients that you should make sure you're getting enough of. And don't forget to drink enough water!
10. Don't be afraid to cry - This one is pretty plain and simple. Don't be ashamed to cry, it doesn't mean that you're weak nor does it make you annoying. It purely means that you are struggling with some things that other people may not necessarily understand. And personally, I feel a lot better after I've had a good cry.

This is just my personal way of dealing with depression. Some may disagree, and that's fine, but it's important to remember that everyone is different and we all have different coping mechanisms. What works for me may not work for others, and what works for others may not work for me. That does not mean that one person is right and the other is wrong, it just means that you have to listen to what is being asked and not give what you think is needed.