The first thing to go when I am getting overwhelmed with the stresses of life is my personal hygiene. You would be surprised how common this is. I know everybody has this belief that any responsible adult showers everyday, if not multiple times a day. Along with believing that girls do not shit or fart, this is a misconception that you need to abandon.
If I could break a depressive episode down into stages, I would have to say the first stage is me not showering regularly or brushing my teeth. As soon and I stop showering on a regular basis, this throws a red flag (and a stench) up for my girlfriend and she asks me when I showered last. Having an accountability partner is very important. Make sure you have somebody that you live with or someone that checks on you that asks if you have showered recently.
I do not find this as an insult that I am irresponsible or something other than it is. The person asking you this question sincerely cares about you and wants to see you well. Sometimes these things happen and I am so consumed with my stress and the current moment that I have not given myself time to notice that my office has a mountain of clothes piling up, and I have not showered in several days.
Are you going to feel like showering? Most likely not. If you are starting to slip into a depressive episode, almost all of your energy goes into simply surviving which is exhausting in itself. I have to be reminded several times before I finally do the deed. Once I finish showering, I start to notice other things that I have been neglecting that I would like to get done. Sometimes this helps me get back in my groove and sometimes it lets me know that I am depressed and I need to be aware of what I’m feeling before I let it get any worse.
Do not let anyone fool you into thinking that you can somehow control your mood with positive thinking or praying. You were made this way for a reason, and in some ways it makes you stronger. The routines, herbal supplements, and medications are simply tools to help prevent another depressive episode or at least lighten the depth of the next one you have. Try not to make any rash decisions when faced with the reality that this might be a life long struggle for you. It is hard, but if you try your best to surround yourself with a circle of support and make healthy life choices as often as possible, you can make life enjoyable.