View Full Version : The daily struggle to fight off depression


Fuzzy12
05-13-13, 07:36 AM
The meds are definitely helping. There is a world of difference between now and pre-2012. It's still a struggle. If anything, the struggle has increased. Earlier I had resigned myself to being depressed. I couldn't imagine feeling ever differently. I didn't like it but I had accepted. Now I know better. I know, I can feel at least a bit better, a bit healthier. I'm definitely not as depressed as I used to be.

It's still a struggle. It seems as if the depression is always lurking behind the next corner. I can feel myself sinking several times every day. I try to ward it off, to suppress it before I get lost in that big, black hole but nothing seems to work really. I feel powerless in controlling my moods. The only thing that helps is to wait it out and distract myself if I can. But somehow knowing that I'm going to feel a bit better again in a while isn't that encouraging either because I know it's just a matter of time before I feel worse.

I had accepted the depression, why can't I accept the mood swings? If the periods between deep depression, were good at least (as opposed to just being ok) it might not affect me so much. It seems as if my threshold for accepting depressive feelings has reduced.

Sorry, just venting. It's a never ending fight and I'm tired of it. Things are improving but I wonder if they'll ever be good enough.

Raye
05-13-13, 08:13 AM
I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but is there anything (s) you think about that bring you down, and then you start sinking?

What triggers mine most is rumination about changing the past and recently my ex. When I start thinking about either of them, it ruins a good part of my day.

Asylum
05-14-13, 12:11 AM
I agree with Raye, people with depression have to learn to manage their thinking. I say that like its easy, but its the hardest thing.

(((Hugs)))

sarahsweets
05-14-13, 06:35 AM
I forget fuzzy but are you on anything other than lamictal? (((hugs)))

Fraser_0762
05-14-13, 07:14 AM
It's important to try and recognize your own thought patterns and how these thoughts relate to your emotions.

The next time you feel a depressive episode coming on, jot down the thoughts in your mind on a piece of paper.

Do the same thing for each different emotion. Create a map of your mind.

With better understanding comes better control.

I know you can do it! :)

tudorose
05-14-13, 07:35 AM
(((hugs)))

I remember feeling like this for most of my life. My earliest memory of depression was when I was 3. I couldn't stop crying and no-one could help me. In the end I just said, "I like crying" coz I couldn't find a reason for feeling so miserable. As an adult I appeared so happy and confident on the outside but inside I felt like I was dying. I feel like I was never good enough no matter how hard I tried. I had no confidence, so self acceptance and I'd have to kick my own a*** just to get out of bed every morning. It took a huge amount of energy fighting being depressed every single day. Then I'd eat cr*p like a whole packet of chocolate biscuits or chips just to have a few moments of feeling happy. A lot of the time I wouldn't feel okay until the end of the night so then I wouldn't want to go to bed coz I didn't want to waste feeling okay by sleeping. It's only been in the last couple of years that it's lifted - strangely enough it happened once the rest of my life went to ****.

I went from being a very active person who would exercise for 3 hours a day and bounce around the office to someone who when walking would be overtaken by 60 year olds. Life changed so drastically, I lost a lot of my independence and my coping strategies (exercise). Plans I had for the future I could no longer achieve. In the end a couple of weeks ago I was dx with fibromyalgia. What's strange is that all those things would normally put someone into a depression rather than lifting one out of it.

What changed was that once I ended up in this state I no longer felt had to meet everyone else's unrealistic expectations of me. I finally got to stop pushing myself and running myself into the ground to please everyone else. And what I found was that I got a lot of support and discovered that people actually liked me for me rather than for what I could do. So that helped me to get some self acceptance. The other thing was that because I was in so much pain I cried and cried and cried. I'd put on a brave face and suffer it out at work and then go home and cry for hours. In some ways though I think this helped me work through a lot of grief that I had been repressing for most of my life. I had to start thinking through my problems because leaving my frustrations on the road (riding really hard to exhaustion) was no longer an option so I came here more and in the process of coming here I learned a lot more about how to communicate with others that then made things easier for me in the workplace. I also had to clean up my diet (no choice in that). Things I can't eat any more are dairy, cheese, chocolate, citrus, things too high in sugar, salt and things with trans fats and aspartame. I've found in the quest to feel better physically I've ended up feeling better mentally.

Perhaps when you're really depressed, try treating yourself as if you had a really bad cold. Eat all the things you would if you had a cold, rest, look after yourself, go easy on yourself. Tell everyone else to shove their expectations. This is what I would do if I had my time again.

Fuzzy12
05-14-13, 09:17 AM
I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but is there anything (s) you think about that bring you down, and then you start sinking?

What triggers mine most is rumination about changing the past and recently my ex. When I start thinking about either of them, it ruins a good part of my day.

It's important to try and recognize your own thought patterns and how these thoughts relate to your emotions.

The next time you feel a depressive episode coming on, jot down the thoughts in your mind on a piece of paper.

Do the same thing for each different emotion. Create a map of your mind.

With better understanding comes better control.

I know you can do it! :)

Sometimes it's stress, sometimes tiredness, sometimes a silly, trivial thought. Most often though there isn't any reason that I'm aware of that precedes the slump. Those times are even more frustrating because I just can't figure out why I'm feeling that way. It just feels as if suddenly the sun is shining a bit less bright and everything looks faded and dull.



I agree with Raye, people with depression have to learn to manage their thinking. I say that like its easy, but its the hardest thing.

(((Hugs)))

I try to manage my thinking but it appears as if my emotions are completely disconnected from my thoughts. Rationally, I know, that there isn't anything wrong but that knowledge doesn't seem to affect in the slightest how I feel. I just can't control my emotions. Maybe I haven't learnt how to control them. They seem to have an independent life of their own.


I forget fuzzy but are you on anything other than lamictal? (((hugs)))

100mg of Lamictal and 60mg of Duloxetine.


(((hugs)))

I remember feeling like this for most of my life. My earliest memory of depression was when I was 3. I couldn't stop crying and no-one could help me. In the end I just said, "I like crying" coz I couldn't find a reason for feeling so miserable. As an adult I appeared so happy and confident on the outside but inside I felt like I was dying. I feel like I was never good enough no matter how hard I tried. I had no confidence, so self acceptance and I'd have to kick my own a*** just to get out of bed every morning. It took a huge amount of energy fighting being depressed every single day. Then I'd eat cr*p like a whole packet of chocolate biscuits or chips just to have a few moments of feeling happy. A lot of the time I wouldn't feel okay until the end of the night so then I wouldn't want to go to bed coz I didn't want to waste feeling okay by sleeping. It's only been in the last couple of years that it's lifted - strangely enough it happened once the rest of my life went to ****.

I went from being a very active person who would exercise for 3 hours a day and bounce around the office to someone who when walking would be overtaken by 60 year olds. Life changed so drastically, I lost a lot of my independence and my coping strategies (exercise). Plans I had for the future I could no longer achieve. In the end a couple of weeks ago I was dx with fibromyalgia. What's strange is that all those things would normally put someone into a depression rather than lifting one out of it.

What changed was that once I ended up in this state I no longer felt had to meet everyone else's unrealistic expectations of me. I finally got to stop pushing myself and running myself into the ground to please everyone else. And what I found was that I got a lot of support and discovered that people actually liked me for me rather than for what I could do. So that helped me to get some self acceptance. The other thing was that because I was in so much pain I cried and cried and cried. I'd put on a brave face and suffer it out at work and then go home and cry for hours. In some ways though I think this helped me work through a lot of grief that I had been repressing for most of my life. I had to start thinking through my problems because leaving my frustrations on the road (riding really hard to exhaustion) was no longer an option so I came here more and in the process of coming here I learned a lot more about how to communicate with others that then made things easier for me in the workplace. I also had to clean up my diet (no choice in that). Things I can't eat any more are dairy, cheese, chocolate, citrus, things too high in sugar, salt and things with trans fats and aspartame. I've found in the quest to feel better physically I've ended up feeling better mentally.

Perhaps when you're really depressed, try treating yourself as if you had a really bad cold. Eat all the things you would if you had a cold, rest, look after yourself, go easy on yourself. Tell everyone else to shove their expectations. This is what I would do if I had my time again.

My husband used to tell me that I just like being sad. Thankfully he has stopped now though I'm not sure if he still doesn't think it. When I'm depressed I go easy on myself. Or rather I have to because I become incapable of doing anything productive. The only thing that invariably helps is to binge and purge. Binge eating is a distraction though I feel miserable before and after. Once I throw up though, I feel great. I know that that is an incredibly stupid and unhealthy coping mechanism but it's the only thing that seems to help.

I'm tempted to increase my dose of lamotrigine again and switching from duloxetine to sertraline. Duloxetine never really did much for me. Every time I increase the dose of lamotrigine (or previously Sertraline) I feel better for a couple of weeks and then I start sinking again. I stuck to Sertraline till I was on the highest recommended dose. I'm scared that the same thing will happen with lamotrigine.

Thanks, guys, for the input.

keliza
05-14-13, 11:58 AM
It's a real and persistent and probably life-long struggle, the whole mood thing. I'm going through a really rough patch myself right now, for no apparent reason whatsoever, so I understand that. I took a few weeks off work because I just wasn't getting out of bed, and I've been trying to use that time to my advantage - spending a lot of time out in the sun, socializing as much as possible, praying a lot and other spiritual disciplines, really just trying to do everything I can to fight back.

You have to treat a relapse of mood as seriously as you would treat a relapse of cancer. When you know a tumor has returned, you don't just keep going on with business as usual and hope it goes away instead of killing you. You fight back. You fight as hard as you can, with as many tools as you can, with as much support as you can get from those around you. And you keep up that fight for the rest of your life. This is no different. Make no apologies for it, because this is a life-threatening illness.

Fuzzy12
05-14-13, 12:43 PM
It's a real and persistent and probably life-long struggle, the whole mood thing. I'm going through a really rough patch myself right now, for no apparent reason whatsoever, so I understand that. I took a few weeks off work because I just wasn't getting out of bed, and I've been trying to use that time to my advantage - spending a lot of time out in the sun, socializing as much as possible, praying a lot and other spiritual disciplines, really just trying to do everything I can to fight back.

You have to treat a relapse of mood as seriously as you would treat a relapse of cancer. When you know a tumor has returned, you don't just keep going on with business as usual and hope it goes away instead of killing you. You fight back. You fight as hard as you can, with as many tools as you can, with as much support as you can get from those around you. And you keep up that fight for the rest of your life. This is no different. Make no apologies for it, because this is a life-threatening illness.

I don't want to do it anymore Keliza. I don't have the strength. I'm weak, stupid and a coward. I dread thinking of the future. How much longer am I supposed to be doing this? For my entire life?? I can't. I'm not even that depressed at the moment, I mean, compared to how depressed I can get, but I'm so fed up of even this. I'm burnt out. It's just not good enough. It's not fun and my brain is hurting. :(

tudorose
05-14-13, 01:00 PM
I understand this ^^^ on so many levels Fuzzy. Is there any chance of some good distraction anytime soon like maybe a holiday in the sun or somewhere really interesting with lots of things to see and do?

keliza
05-14-13, 10:49 PM
I don't want to do it anymore Keliza. I don't have the strength. I'm weak, stupid and a coward. I dread thinking of the future. How much longer am I supposed to be doing this? For my entire life?? I can't. I'm not even that depressed at the moment, I mean, compared to how depressed I can get, but I'm so fed up of even this. I'm burnt out. It's just not good enough. It's not fun and my brain is hurting. :(

You do have the strength, though, because you're still here. If you really didn't have the strength, you wouldn't be here anymore. You would have crumbled the first time. The hardest workout of your life is the first - after that, you're just building more muscle on top of what you already have. If you survived the first major depressive episode, you can survive any one after it. You're just getting more and more experienced with riding them out.

If you were weak, you wouldn't be here. If you were stupid, you wouldn't have made it this far. If you were cowardly, you wouldn't be reaching out for help and support - you would be hiding away by yourself, letting it eat you up. So you're none of those things, and I don't want to hear you call yourself those things ever again! We're only saying positive things about ourselves here. No put-downs, no smack talk, we only talk about ourselves the way we would talk about other people. You wouldn't call someone else weak, stupid, or cowardly, would you? You're a nice person, so I highly doubt it. So we're not going to talk about ourselves that way either. Right? Right. Glad that's settled. :) No more bashing yourself.

You might be doing this your entire life. I might be doing this my entire life. Or maybe not. My psychiatrist told me that some people hit a particular age and their mood episodes level off, for whatever reason. This can happen for men and women in their mid 20s when their frontal lobes fully develop, as well as for women in particular in their early 30s (something to do with hormones changing/evening out) and women in their late 40s/early 50s (menopause). He also said that sometimes women get pregnant and their mood episodes disappear and never come back, for no known reason. Some people get their episodes under control with medication, then stay level or wean off and they never come back. Nobody knows why. And yeah, some people deal with horrendous mood swings for the rest of their lives. There's absolutely no way of knowing which one you're going to be.

I don't know why this is happening to me, or to you. I really don't have a clue. Some people believe everything happens for a reason, others believe we are mostly a cosmic accident. Some people believe there is a higher power in charge, others believe man is the measure of all things. I know which one I am, I don't know which one you are, but ultimately I don't think it matters. Whatever the reason, and whoever we do or don't answer to, and whatever may or may not happen to us after we die... we're here now. We've got this life, for whatever reason. Why not make the most of it?

Even though it sucks right now. Even though it might suck a lot. This might be the only experience we get, so we might as well experience it, for all it is. And if it's not? Then we've probably stored up a lot of karma or saint points or whatever we get in the next life. But since we don't know, since we CAN'T know, we might as well just take what we have and do the best we can with it.

If we go nowhere after this, then it won't matter when we're dead, because we will cease to be. So keep living to make the life experience as good as it can be, both for yourself and for others.

If we go somewhere after this, then we should know that we did everything good we possibly could in this life, and who knows, maybe all of this really does mean something and has a purpose for the next one. So keep living to do the best you can now, and prepare for whatever comes next, whatever that means.

But either way, live. That's all I got so far. But I feel like even when it sucks and is really hard and awful and not fun at all, it's still the best working strategy.

sarahsweets
05-15-13, 04:36 AM
FUZZY: you are NOT defective,worthless,undeserving,unlovable,helpless ,weak,useless,stupid,dumb or unworthy of love.

Fuzzy12
05-15-13, 07:00 AM
You guys are my strength :grouphug:

:thankyou:

fracturedstory
05-15-13, 07:22 AM
I stopped thinking negatively about myself awhile ago and though when I go through depression I can start feeling that way again I don't vocalise those words. I tend to interpret those come down words literally and logic tells me no person can ever be those things.

My triggers all seem to be over the same things it's a wonder why I can't control my thoughts and avoid slipping into depression. But when it hits it hits like a tonne of bricks and like you said thoughts become disconnected from emotions.

The last time it hit I had to get myself out of it because I was supposed to see a band play that I hadn't seen in three years. I actually don't remember much of the day, just that I became hyper. I really wanted to be ok and not depressed or anxious. There were moments where I could feel it but I tried to ignore it. I think it could have ended badly, the gig I mean, but events went more in my favour. The night before the events went against me and I tried to make things go my own way which ended in disaster.

I don't know why it happens. When a rare gig comes up I hope that everything goes well, which means I don't get the attention of med staff, I don't become anxious or I don't leave the venue with the feeling of wanting to walk into the middle of the road.

I suppose it's like this once in a lifetime opportunity for me that I don't want to screw up. The next step is trying to hold that brick wall up during my usual day to day activities so it doesn't just crumble on my dreams.

I'm back into my writing now that keeps me out of the funk. I'm surprised with the level of my PMDD symptoms that I can write out this much. Just trying to work ways around my writer's block has been difficult.

I use distractions to fight off my depression too. My moods are very short lived, so a video game, a comedy, a book or anything else can really take me away from those moods. Now I'm starting to wonder whether I can think my way out of them, but I'm too nervous to try as I've been going strong for a couple of days. I don't want it to end.

Anyway Fuzzy, I'm really sorry you have to go through these moods. I wish you could enjoy the alleviation of depression without thinking about the next one. Also, I've found the higher my moods get then the lower I sink later. I know that isn't much of a consolation but I don't think either way will make you feel better.

Sorry, I'm kind of struggling to write tonight. I've written a lot today so I haven't got much mental energy left.

Fuzzy12
05-15-13, 12:39 PM
The mood swings are so bad again. I'm ok in the morning usually while I'm getting ready for work but then later I start sinking. Sometimes on my way to the office already but always latest by afternoon.

I increased my dose of lamotrigine about 2 weeks back to 100mg. I wonder if I a further increase would help. Or maybe I should change my anti depressant. Duloxetine never did anything for me. I've spoken with my GP about going back on Sertraline. Sertraline did help, but as it is with Lamotrigine, I used to feel better for a few weeks before I had to increase the dose again.

Suicidal ideation is bad at the moment. I'm not going to do anything but I can feel myself losing the will to live. I've got an appointment with a junior psychiatrist in about a month but I can't imagine that she can help me. I've never met her before and I'm tired of telling my story again and again.

keliza
05-15-13, 01:19 PM
The mood swings are so bad again. I'm ok in the morning usually while I'm getting ready for work but then later I start sinking. Sometimes on my way to the office already but always latest by afternoon.

I increased my dose of lamotrigine about 2 weeks back to 100mg. I wonder if I a further increase would help. Or maybe I should change my anti depressant. Duloxetine never did anything for me. I've spoken with my GP about going back on Sertraline. Sertraline did help, but as it is with Lamotrigine, I used to feel better for a few weeks before I had to increase the dose again.

Suicidal ideation is bad at the moment. I'm not going to do anything but I can feel myself losing the will to live. I've got an appointment with a junior psychiatrist in about a month but I can't imagine that she can help me. I've never met her before and I'm tired of telling my story again and again.

Fuzzy, have you ever gotten blood work done to rule out other medical issues as contributing to your mood? I'm just wondering because of the way your mood tends to slump throughout the day. For a lot of people, mornings are worse for depression, because of the way the brain converts serotonin into melatonin during the night phase of the sleep cycle... but your problem is the opposite. Of course not everyone who is depressed is worse in the morning, some people are worse at night, but given that I would want to know what your basic blood chemistry is doing.

I wonder about things like blood sugar spikes/dips, adrenal fatigue, cortisol levels, things like that. Depression can be an aspect of blood sugar being too low, adrenal fatigue, and high cortisol levels. It's just something to think about that could also be contributing to the slump in mood later in the day. I don't think the WHOLE issue is that, but it could be a contributing factor.

Or, alternatively, do you absolutely hate your job? That could make things worse throughout the day, if you hate being there and your whole job experience is a total lifesuck. Even if nothing "bad" is happening, being in a negative work environment can be really emotionally draining, especially for people who are sensitive. Again, I don't think the WHOLE issue is your job, but it can certainly make things a lot worse.

The key to really addressing mood issues isn't just finding one pill that works, or two pills that work, or alternating between pills that work and stop working. It's about finding all the little contributing factors in your life and neutralizing those issues as well. It's never going to be that you find the right pill and boom, problem solved. It's going to be a constant effort to find all of the contributing factors, be they small or large, hidden or in plain sight, and dealing with those things as they come.

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising every day? Are you writing about your feelings in a journal? Are you eating a properly balanced diet? Are you drinking enough water? Are you spending time with good people who enrich your life rather than detracting from you? Are there problems at home making things worse? Are you using drugs or alcohol that could destabilize your mood? Are you spending enough time in the sun? Are you doing something in your life (whether it's paid work or a volunteer job) that gives you purpose and brings you joy from helping others?

ALL of those things are vital to overall wellness. Every single one of them. If any of those is out of balance, you're going to feel it in some way, small or large. Taking your daily medication is just step one in a whole list of things you have to do for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally to achieve and maintain wellness. If it sounds exhausting, that's because it can be. But that's our deal in life, you know? That's what we have to do. Some people just get dealt difficult hands in life, that's the way it is. We are among those people.

Don't write off the junior psychiatrist just yet. Give her a chance. The best therapist I ever had was a grad student, she saved my life and changed the whole way I approach my mental health issues. If you go into it with a negative mindset, you've already eliminated the possibility of it being a positive experience for you. Give it a shot.

Big hugs. I know this is not easy; I know because I'm there, too. But we'll get through it. We always do.

Fuzzy12
05-15-13, 01:31 PM
Yes, I've had blood work done several times I think, I've had my thyroid checked and whole lot of other stuff is well. It's all fine. Physically, I'm a picture of health. :D

Or, alternatively, do you absolutely hate your job? That could make things worse throughout the day, if you hate being there and your whole job experience is a total lifesuck. Even if nothing "bad" is happening, being in a negative work environment can be really emotionally draining, especially for people who are sensitive. Again, I don't think the WHOLE issue is your job, but it can certainly make things a lot worse.

I love my job. I love every aspect of it except for the stress. I work in academia, which shouldn't be too stressful, but with my problems with focus, concentration, procrastination, etc. it becomes stressful. Stress definitely makes things worse. Not being able to do good work, makes things worse too. When I work well, I feel so much better about myself. But when I'm this depressed (or otherwise as well), I struggle to focus.It's a vicious cycle. I think, it's also one of the reasons why I feel so much better in the morning. When I wake up I look forward to going to work but as the day progresses and I don't get anything done, I get more and more frustrated.


Are you getting enough sleep?

Not really, at least not as much as I need.

Are you exercising every day?

Yes. I could do more but I've started doing at least 10-15 min of cardio in the morning.

Are you writing about your feelings in a journal?

I used to but I stopped doing that many years ago. I've tried since then but didn't find it helpful. Well, I write on here...

Are you eating a properly balanced diet?

Rarely. I either starve myself or binge eat. I try to eat healthy but right now I'm just not eating very much.

Are you drinking enough water?
I used to. Not anymore

Are you spending time with good people who enrich your life rather than detracting from you?

Nope

Are there problems at home making things worse?

Some, nothing serious but it's still stressful.

Are you using drugs or alcohol that could destabilize your mood?

No, at least not in excess.


Are you spending enough time in the sun?

I try, but it's difficult when it's grey and raining all the time. :D

Are you doing something in your life (whether it's paid work or a volunteer job) that gives you purpose and brings you joy from helping others?

I would love to. When I feel good, I keep making plans of doing this but once the depression hits I can't do anything anymore. If I could just feel ok for long enough to get started...

You are right Keliza. Apart from meds, there are many things I can work on.

keliza
05-15-13, 04:33 PM
Yes, I've had blood work done several times I think, I've had my thyroid checked and whole lot of other stuff is well. It's all fine. Physically, I'm a picture of health. :D

Well I'm glad to hear that anyway! Good to know those things aren't potential causes, at least you know you don't have to worry about those on top of everything else.

When I work well, I feel so much better about myself. But when I'm this depressed (or otherwise as well), I struggle to focus.It's a vicious cycle. I think, it's also one of the reasons why I feel so much better in the morning. When I wake up I look forward to going to work but as the day progresses and I don't get anything done, I get more and more frustrated.

I can definitely see how that would add to the depression, those feelings of frustration and inadequacy that stem from not being able to focus on your work and not performing as well as you believe you should be. Is there anyone you can talk to, someone in HR or a close friend at work, about ways you can improve? Things you can do to help with your focus, something like that? I don't know what all things are available to you, but through my work you can see a therapist for free 6 times for any sort of mental health thing. A lot of people here take advantage of that, I wonder if your job offers anything similar? They might be able to help "coach" you to work on organization and other ways in which you feel you aren't performing your best.

Not really, at least not as much as I need.

SLEEP. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Sleep is SO vital to the bipolar brain, I can't possibly underscore that enough. Sleep is one of the most unrealized triggers for BP mood episodes, and one of the few that you have a lot of control over. You HAVE to try to get enough sleep at night. 8+ hours for most adults. Save those late night shows on DVR, turn off the computer 2 hours before you need to go to sleep (the computer screen light tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime and messes up your circadian rhythms), take Benadryl the first couple of nights to help get you into the habit of falling asleep at a certain time. Sleep is my most fiercely guarded commodity, I don't sacrifice my sleep for ANYONE. You need it.

Yes. I could do more but I've started doing at least 10-15 min of cardio in the morning./

Good! I'm glad to hear you're doing the cardio in the morning, that is very good for you both physically and mentally. One easy way to get more exercise into your day is to do jumping jacks, run up and down the stairs, sprint down to the end of the driveway and back a few times, etc. during TV commercial breaks. Each hour of television is actually only 42 minutes of show, the other 18 minutes is commercials. If you ran around like a mad woman during the commercial breaks, you'd get almost 20 minutes of exercise in per hour of TV you watch. Or, if you have a stationary bike or treadmill, use them WHILE you're watching TV. I do that with my bike sometimes, it helps the time pass by quicker so you don't get so bored while exercising (a big problem for me).

Rarely. I either starve myself or binge eat. I try to eat healthy but right now I'm just not eating very much.

This is really important as well. Food is fuel, for your body and brain, and your brain cannot work properly without the right fuel. I understand that it's difficult to eat a balanced diet (or at all) while you're depressed. I've been struggling just to eat at all lately. My friend suggested taking a multivitamin every day, so that even if I'm eating like crap (or not at all), I'm still getting the vitamins my body needs. I'm taking her advice on that, maybe you should consider at least taking a multivitamin too, if you're struggling just to eat at all.

I used to. Not anymore

Hydraaaaate! Also necessary for proper brain and body functioning. These seem like little things but they really aren't, they are actually so very important to how your systems function. I have found that sometimes I can actually curb or eliminate a morning panic attack if I drink a glass of water with some lemon squeezed into it. If you don't like the taste of plain water, try putting a little lemon in it, or grapefruit juice. You can even get seltzer water and put a little fruit juice in it, it's almost like soda but much better for you.

I would love to. When I feel good, I keep making plans of doing this but once the depression hits I can't do anything anymore. If I could just feel ok for long enough to get started...

This really is so hard, I feel you here. When you barely have the motivation to get out of bed, eat, or bathe regularly, the idea of volunteering somewhere and doing that work is overwhelming. That's where the meds become very helpful, because often one of the first things to return when your meds are working properly is your sense of motivation. Motivation to get up, to shower, to go to work, to take on projects that mean something to you. When you are ready and able, I definitely recommend the volunteering as something positive and uplifting for you. But I understand that just basic self-care is an enormous burden right now, much less caring for others.