Listen to Music
Of course, listening to music can be extremely therapeutic. Uplifting music…uplifts. Even depressing music can sometimes lift your spirits, because the sadness and despair it evokes is actually far greater than your own and it puts things into perspective. I’ve often though this about Leonard Cohen, for example; the way his lyrics describe heartbreak has the ability to make my own feelings seem juvenile and insignificant.
Unfortunately, one reaches a point where music loses its appeal. People who suffer from depression experience anhedonia, which is when you no longer enjoy what you formerly found pleasurable or enjoyable. One of the first things to go is music. When depressed, music can have many negative effects. At best, it’s inconsequential and has no effect, positive or otherwise. If you actually like the music, the realization that you’re not enjoying something you used to like will feel sad. If the music has lyrics that are even remotely romantic, this is also potentially depressing. Depression is often tied in with romantic longing or grief, and even the most inane pop song that speaks of love is going to make you feel shitty. Finally, if the music you hear has some personal meaning or is attached to a happy period in your life that is now irretrievable… forget about it. Tears are likely.
On the most basic level, movies simply ask for a type of attentiveness that is hard to muster if you’re depressed. Cerebral films tend to have a lot of silences and moments where the spectator is encouraged to reflect on the images. That’s fine, but when you’re depressed, the only reflecting you’ll be doing is on various sad thoughts and anxieties floating around in your head. Of course you could just watch some popcorn flick, but these are likely to to be just as bad for their simple psychology and Hollywood endings. And as with pop songs, any film that depicts intimacy in any form is unlikely to sit well. Oddly enough, TV is OK. TV doesn’t require the same kind of attention as cinema. It moves quickly and requires at most about 50 minutes of your time. Sometimes, TV is the only form of media that provides any true distraction.
Go On the Internet/Facebook
When you’re depressed, checking Facebook really loses its charm. Do you really give a shit about what your friends – who by the way all seem to be out doing fun things – are up to? And do you have anything to report – photos, status updates, links, etc.? Probably not.
When depressed, eating becomes problematic. Either it’s a chore that seems like too much effort and can’t be bothered with, or you do it excessively. Even the simplest of things, like boiling a pot of pasta, seem like an insurmountable task. Going out to eat is OK, because it doesn’t require any effort, but no pleasure is derived from eating even the best of meals. The goal, really, is just to fill your stomach.
When depressed, you don’t really have the resources and the motivation to find sex. If it’s already available to you because you’re in a relationship, it’s likely to be extremely disappointing; the anxiety and fatigue that are symptoms of depression will spoil the sex, if it even happens at all. If you’re not in a relationship and for whatever reason an opportunity to have sex presents itself, it is probably best avoided, because it will inevitably be unsatisfying, and you certainly recall better times when sex was enjoyable.
Cleaning takes a back seat when you’re depressed. Of course it’s a vicious cycle; the more disorder and fith that surrounds you, the worse you’re going to feel, and consequently the less likely you are to make the effort to clean.
Maintain Personal Hygiene
Depression usually involves questioning the point of a lot of things, and habits like shaving, bathing daily, and getting your hair cut starts to seem pretty senseless in face of the fact that you’re not even sure why you want to be alive. You begin to realize that the only reason you maintain your hygiene is to keep up appearances and not feel like a total slob; you don’t actually care about being clean, fresh, and good-looking.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Other potential things that you can’t do when depressed include: going to parties, going on dates, entertaining friends, seeing relatives you don’t like, seeing your grandparents, reading novels, going on walks, exercising, staying in touch with lost-distance friends, waking up, falling asleep, etc., etc.