Changing your environment can help fight your depression
I lived in a self-created cave. As I slipped further into my depression my room followed willingly. The colors around me became more drab and sallow. I bought blackout curtains to ensure light stayed out where it belonged. The furniture was covered in dust as it lurked in the corners. Yes I lived in the castle from Beauty and the Beast. This darkness fed into my lack of energy and any motivation to get up and do what people do. I laid in bed and ignored the tv. I continued mulling over my negative thoughts in silence. And I smelled. Yep, I had no desire to continue my personal hygiene. I often slept in my clothes. Now to be clear this was my most recent major depressive episode but I do still struggle with some of these issues on a regular basis. They do exist during my day to day depression. Some days it is hard to get up and brush my teeth or take a shower or change my clothes. This had become my new normal and as much as I was learning at therapy I was unable to apply it once I walked out the door. My shiny new feelings of hope wore off as soon as I walked into my room. To get better I needed to live in an environment that promoted wellness. I was sick and I lived in a room that was keeping me sick. Now I know a new room a happy, healthy person does not make. But why not give it a try? So what can you do to find healing in your home?
- Slap some paint on the walls. I decided to paint the walls a crisp white. If you are renting there are many easy to apply wallpaper options (walls need love). Having a task to do with a payoff at the end gave me more motivation to get up a couple of hours each day to paint.
- Change the curtains. This was by far the biggest change. I let light in with thin curtains. You of course don’t have to go that far but you can get thinner curtains or schedule a time each day that you have the curtains open.
- Switch the artwork in your room. No need to break the bank to do this either. I downloaded pictures of the internet and framed them.
- Make sure you aren’t the only living thing in your room. NASA has made a list
of the best plants for your bedroom which include Aloe Vera and the Spider Plant. Aloe Vera is fairly hardy and has managed to thrive in my bedroom. It works to take toxins out of the air and can make a nice friend as well. I have named mine Reggie.
- Display items that bring you joy. I have some Elvis records and a high school picture of my Grandma. Both out of left field, but when I was redoing my room that is what made me smile. And on the flip slide if there are items that are not doing it for you anymore donate or sell them.
- Let others in. This is a big step but you can take a whole bunch of mini steps to get there. Take pictures of your progress and text it to friends and family. This will keep you engaged with others and hold you accountable to maintain that wellness change.
I have many elements in my life that come together to help me learn to live as someone who is diagnosed as Bipolar, with depression and anxiety. While I know that my flowy curtains were not a miracle cure, I am sure that they become another element to add to my coping skills. I say grab yourself your own Reggie and a can of paint and see what can happen.
I’ve been there. I am there.