When a depressive mood bout comes around, it can be challenging to maintain professional or social accountability. Time warps deadlines, every task sounds impossible, and control seems to slip through the cracks.
After being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II, I had to learn how to live with depressive moods. I chanced upon Jessica Gimeno’s Tedx Talk about getting stuff done during bouts of depression soonafter and started heeding her advice.
I am talking about the everyday challenge of being a ‘high-functioning person in recovery’. Gimeno observes that there is a cyclical pattern when depressed people fall behind in school or work. It makes you feel worse about your work and your mental state and yourself, then you avoid it.
So, Gimeno’s advice is to have a good offence for the defence. Being proactive in preventing the onset of a depressive episode once early signs and symptoms start to appear can make a big difference.
Everyone’s method of combatting their specific set of symptoms is different. I tend to skip gym days during depressive episodes, or when I feel overwhelmed by work due to a low mood. When I notice that I have not exercised in a full week, I make up for it. This could be an extra gym session in the following week or walking to school rather than taking the bus.
Exercise regulates my mood with the release of endorphins. It is also a big part of my routine, so I feel an overall greater sense of stability and work-life balance when I exercise. By knowing and remembering what helps me, I effectively prioritise my well-being, and that indirectly enhances my ability to stay on top of work and school.
For more targeted practices, self-help resources, and peer support, check out SG Support Group on Discord.