Everyone has bad habits. Biting our nails, leaving the lid off the toothpaste, cracking our knuckles, to name a few.
However, there are some bad habits that tend to be consistent among those with depression. A lot of these bad habits are actually a symptom of the illness, so it’s not surprising that someone with depression would have at least a few of these bad habits.
I’ve done a lot of research on depression, and I obviously have first hand knowledge about how depression affects me. These are the bad habits I have come across the most, either in my life or from others who also have depression. Let me know in the comments how many of these habits you have?
This can be as simple as just staying in more than normal, or completely going off the grid and ignoring calls and texts.
Sometimes we need to disconnect from people for a little bit, but it can be very difficult for friends and family to deal with. They are sometimes left wondering if you’re mad at them, or worried about something happening to you.
People are exhausting. I definitely understand this habit, and have done this in the past. If you feel you need some time away from people, but don’t want to worry anyone, it would be a good idea to tell a few people that you’re going to take a few days to disconnect and recharge. I know, easier said than done, especially i the middle of a depressive episode.
That all being said, this is a habit that one should probably try to break a bit. Isolation can exacerbate depression and make it worse. So while it can be good to take a break from people now and then, try and get back with them as soon as you can.
If you know someone who has depression who has this habit, don’t stop trying to reach out. It may not feel like it, but they appreciate you checking in and showing them that you care. Don’t try to guilt or shame them for their scarceness. Just let them know that you’re there and that you care.
2. Not Eating Healthy
There are a couple of ways this habit can go. On one hand, you could just stop eating/drinking much altogether, or you can completely gouge yourself on unhealthy foods/drinks.
Sometimes when I am having really bad depression, my appetite will nose-dive. The sight, smell, or thought of food will make me feel nauseous. That, coupled with a lack of caring about myself can make it really hard to get all the nutrients I need, which then leads to getting very tired.
On the flip side, depression can make you want to eat all the things! Especially the unhealthy things.
Is it just me, or do healthy foods feel like a lot more extra work to prepare than unhealthy foods?
It’s so much easier to unwrap a chocolate bar than it is to slice up an apple. So when I am hungry, I’ll eat the easier thing.
The part that really sucks though is that while a person with depression is eating fast food, and other easy unhealthy snacks, the veggies in their fridge are sitting there. Then they go bad, and you feel bad for not eating it in time, which makes you more depressed. It’s a vicious cycle!
3. Doing Things That We Know Will Make It Worse
Why do we want to listen to sad “emo” music when we are feeling sad? We know listening to upbeat music would probably get us up and dancing and dancing, but we don’t want that. No, we want to listen to music about how much everything sucks. So logical right?
Then there is social media. We know looking at another person’s highlight reel (which is what their social media profile is. No one posts the mundane, boring and sad stuff) and we compare that to our full real life, we are bound to feel bad. But for some reason we keep looking at that influencer in their gorgeous mansion, the friend from highschool’s vacation pictures, and that co-workers perfectly clean corner of their kitchen (not even considering the fact that the rest of the kitchen might be a huge mess) and we feel like we are not living life right.
4. Personal Hygiene Goes Out The Window
Sometimes simple things like brushing my teeth, taking a shower, or washing my face can feel like it will take way too much time and effort.
Simply not caring about oneself, plus not wanting to put in any effort is a bad combination that will lead to neglecting your personal hygiene.
For me, when my self-care/hygiene starts to lack, I know I need to do something about my depression.
If someone you know is starting to have this habit form, I would recommend encouraging them to talk. Also, especially if you live with them, encouraging them to do the self care things they need to do, in a way that will make it seem more effortless. For example, if they are starting to clean up after dinner you could say “how about I load the dishwasher right now so you can have time to run and take a bath/shower.” If I was already about to put effort into loading the dishwasher, it would be hard for me to tell myself that having a shower is too much effort.
5. Neglecting Household Chores
This one is a bad habit for the same reasons as #4. Too much effort, not enough energy.
The longer it goes, the harder it is to start again. It’s a lot more overwhelming to start doing dishes when the sink and counter are full than it is when there are just a couple of dishes that need to be done. Same with laundry. I’ll do one load, but if there are 4 loads worth sitting there, I don’t even want to start!
I’m going to be honest with you guys right now. As I sit here at my dining table typing this, my kitchen is a disaster. I feel stressed every time I go in there because I know I need to clean it eventually. But not today, definitely not today!
5. Snapping at Loved Ones
Some people find themselves lashing out at people they care about. Depression can make a person more irritable, which can cause one to become easily annoyed with friends and family.
This is one reason that some will isolate themselves, they don’t want to snap at their loved ones. Especially the ones that genuinely want to help. Sometimes we don’t feel like we deserve to be helped, and we do not want to accept it. So, when a friend or family member is persistent in trying to help, it can be annoying for the person in a depressive crisis. Which can cause them to lash out.
Despite what I just said, however, please don’t give up on your loved one with depression. Please be there for them and let them know you want to help. Please understand that we appreciate that you care about us, even when our illness won’t let us show it.
6. Sleeping Too Much
Sleep is an escape. It’s a way to “turn off” your brain, and is sometimes all a person feels like doing when their depression is taking over.
Depression can take away all of your energy making you not want to do anything. But sitting around doing nothing just causes you to spend more time in your head. That’s not where I want to be when I’m in the middle of a depressive episode, so sleep is a good way to turn that off and rest.
Sometimes, it’s also just boring when you want to be alone and do nothing. Sleeping helps pass the time.
Which of these bad habits do you have? Leave it in the comments below to show others that they aren’t alone.