Here's what helps:
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Peanut butter and honey on a thick slice of toast.NA
when i get really really depressed, i like to re-read naive. super, by erlend loe. it's about a 20 something who really get bored with everything and has to learn how to live and feel again and hits things with a toy hammer. it's beautiful.
It's a three step process. Step 1: Watch or read something that'll make you cry. I recommend Call the Midwife. Really empty yourself out. Step 2: Dedicate a full evening to self-care of the non-interactive kind. For me, it's first listening to podcasts while taking a bath, and then going to bed really early and read for at least a solid hour. Step 3: Do something that'll make you feel useful/productive/competent. This varies, obviously, but one of the more succesful ones for me was trying on every single piece of clothing in my closet and throwing out what didn't fit any more. Rinse and repeat if necessary. HJ
Fanfic. No, really. I can't always concentrate enough to read Important Novels, but I can read creative, sometimes preposterous stories and feel connected to their worlds at a time when I feel disconnected from the real one.TT
The Gwendolyn Brooks poem "To the Young Who Want to Die," especially the line about seeing what the news is going to be tomorrow.
It's a terrible cliche, but lying on the floor and listening to music usually comes closest. What music depends on what sort of sad, but it tends to be an opera or a Broadway cast album in its entirety.
Convincing my body it would rather not be dead by pushing it ever so slightly via running, weights, climbing, cycling, or what have you. jps
This poem:
Doing something that feels healthy, even if it's super small, helps me out. Whether it's working out, cooking a healthy meal, or, most recently, diffusing essential oils instead of popping a pill. (Although I'm all for popping a pill if that's what works). They make my apartment smell amazing, can cost less than the scented candles that I was blowing through, feel like a natural sedative in moments of stress, and give you some creativity to mix things up.
Often my sadness is just caused by the fact that my head is so full of things that are worrying me. So the solution revolves around clearing my head. What works includes: going to the sea, playing with a cat, hanging out with my niece, walking in a forest, running through the streets, or connecting with a piece of great art. All of these things bring perspective back when it's been lost.MC
this poem ( helps me in almost every moment of need -- remembering that we are all someone's catfish friend, even if we (or they) don't recognize it in this particular moment. mlp
Madonna concerts on YouTube up to and including 2006's "Confessions Tour" but absolutely nothing after. JS
A dear friend once gave me advice during a particularly sad time in my life to "find the things that make you feel grounded." These are the things that make you feel like YOU, whatever they are. Sometimes, the answers for people are easy—yoga, meditation, running, etc. I had to take some time to figure this out, but now I have my little things: eating breakfast at the diner across the street from my apartment with my favorite magazine; taking the time to walk to work instead of taking the subway; blasting the Tchaikovsky violin concerto until my ears ring; having coffee or a drink with certain people who I know make me feel good. Once you have these tools—whatever they are for you—in your arsenal, pulling any of them out during a time of sadness or general lost-ness both helps with the emotions and makes you feel strong and self-aware and resourceful. Those feelings can be very powerful, especially during a hard time.BW
Watching this and related videos
I've had depression and anxiety since I was in middle school, but was only diagnosed about ten years ago, when I was 24. Very luckily, when medication hasn't done the trick and the edge seems closer than ever, there have been simple sensory joys routinely available right when I've need them, including: crunchy baby carrots, a cat settling into my lap, Velveeta Shells and Cheese, Billie Holiday (always the best), ice cream and cheap beer, free yoga with a friend, the Impressionist rooms at the Met Museum, Allen Ginsberg's "Who Be Kind To," walking in Central Park on an early fall evening, and cruising in my late mom's 1992 LeBaron convertible while blasting her CD of The Drifters, among many other everyday, minor miracles that engage the senses and remind me that being alive is a good thing.KB
I reread my favorite parts of books — almost always the mushy parts of romantic books — and rewatch my favorite mushy clips from tv (mostly "Grey's Anatomy") and movies (again, rom coms and Jane Austen, really). Or, I just watch a bunch of episodes of "The Office" or "Parks and Rec." just remembering that there's happiness in the world and your sad emotions don't last, I get. VE
When I feel depressed I often have the feeling of being trapped in my head and within the walls of my home. If I can't shake the feeling of being trapped then I have to go outside for a walk or run. I've found that going for a walk or running outside gets my blood flowing, increases the endorphins in my brain parts, and helps me feel free from my temporary imprisonment. Take a deep breath, keep your head up and look at what's around you.

Most importantly, get offline. Put the phone down. You'll never get out of your head if you're staring at a screen waiting for it to change your mood or improve your life. Fuck the selfie taking phonies. Go outside and appreciate living in the real world.
Letting my friends know how I feel. It takes a huge weight off, and their advice and understanding is a great support.
I usually put on a movie that makes me feel really vulnerable and inevitably, I sob uncontrollably. Unashamedly, Click (yes, with Adam Sandler) makes me cry the hardest I can recall crying during a movie, because of the depiction loss of his father in the movie. I'm pretty emotionally numbed in terms of expressing things, so if I can channel it out that way, I usually feel better. Oh, and Jeff Buckley singing "I Know It's Over" by The Smiths does wonders, too.TBE
Miniature Reese's cups; whiskey; sitting silently in a breeze; Neko Case. Baking bread. It's an opportunity to shift my mind and obsess over ingredient quantities and technique -- and kneading allows the opportunity for some publicly-acceptable really aggressively cathartic behavior.
When I was a kid, it was The Hobbit. As a teenager, the Les Miserables Complete Symphonic Recording. In college, John Donne's Holy Sonnets. CS
Sex and the City - Season 3, Episode 15: "Hot Child in the City" (The one where Carrie throws fried chicken off a rich guys roof.)JCS
Zoloft and psychotherapy! The best thing I've ever done for my (chronic, relentless) depression is admit that I need interventions beyond what I can administer myself. Also: allowing myself to lean in to bad feelings, acknowledge and ride them out, rather than trying to pretend that they don't exist. A useful metaphor for me is a long-haul flight: I hate long-haul flights, I'm terrified of them, but I've learned to tolerate them by focusing on the knowledge that in 12 hours (or whatever) the plane will either crash or land. So I just have to wait it out. And (touch wood, so far) it's always landed. So, too, bad feelings: I've been through enough cycles of depression now that I know that in time, with the aid of those interventions, the plane will land.JHE
Walking. Whenever I'm feeling down, going out on a directionless walk for more than an hour with no headphones and no phone to just let my mind wander is very calming. I think it's the forced sense of space, having to force myself to listen to myself and not the thoughts or art of anyone else. BMD
I used to cry on the train home from work a lot when I was going through a rough time in my life. I'd listen to Dr. Dog's "Heavy Light" over and over again, it was the only thing that settled my breathing and kept me from spiraling in my thoughts. Years later I discovered therapy, which works even better. But when I'm not going to therapy, poetry helps a lot. My aunt recently died, but before she died, we were mourning another death, and she shared with me Wendell Berry's "The Peace of Wild Things." This year I had two deaths in my family and a break-up, and this poem saw me through it all. KH
Forcing myself to find humor in shitty situations. Or riding my bike.
Listening to the same song on repeat for hours and hours on end always makes me feel a little more sane somehow. Sometimes they're songs about how I want to feel (Beyonce "Love on Top"), sometimes they're about how I actually feel (Lake Street Dive, "Rental Love"), but most of the time they're just randomly wonderful (Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton, "Islands in the Stream").
When I was a Junior in high school, my brother was in his first year of college. He was doing a paper on Carver and mentioned his stories. I read them, then his poetry. The works has been a touchstone ever since. In tough times, this is the one I go back to.

by Raymond Carver.

No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.”
Inititals: NC
spiritual jazz à la Pharoah Sanders + vaping + Super Smash Bros. Project Melee mod on mute—there's an odd sort of out-of-body meditativeness to it, to the point where, after a short time, it's almost easy to forget it's you sitting thereJHM
A late-night bike ride on quiet streets with some good music.CB
I'm not gonna lie, I have a secret tumblr (since personal tumblrs are now public, thx Internet) where I post the things that I really want, where I rant, and where, honestly all the cool posts are. Who has time for writing out diaries anymore?ES
In grad school I would cry dramatically in the shower a lot and then make elaborate meals from scratch--that's how I learned to make a good cream sauce. Now, I lift weights and buy Korean sheet masks. How far we've come!SKD
I love diving back into my Shel Silverstein poetry books that I got when I was a kid. Silly and encouraging stuff is usually enough to snap me out of it. I'm almost done with my law degree, so I'm a basket-case lately. Last month, this poem helped a lot. I photocopied it and it's on the wall above my desk now:
I ask my partner to lie on top of me. Having him just lie there, allowing me to feel that heavy weight compress my whole body, immediately calms me.
Whenever I feel sad or lethargic or unmotivated and I need TO JUST GO and get shit done I usually think of this, written by Sebastien Grainger
I consciously cuddle and play with my two cats for 30 minutes--works like a charm. Also, I listen to "Groove Is in The Heart" by Dee-Lite!TV
Rothko, in person, for as long as I need. The room at the Tate Modern if I can get it, but others work. The soothing sense of possibility as the edges of perception fade away into his swathes of color. The emotion unrestrained by language. The deep sorrow of him. A feeling like I can stow my pain and emptiness inside his pain and emptiness, then walk away lighter.

They've always looked like doors to me -- doors I watch and never step through.
Puppies. Specifically, watching Jimmy Fallon's "puppy predictor" skits can get me out of some deep, dark holes. It's hard to feel without light when Jimmy yell-whispers to the camera, "Release the puppies!"

And, honest to god: I took a screenshot of a tweet you sent out, of a puppy wearing a flower crown. When I'm feeling down, I pull up that photo. Coachella-esque puppies have power over me.
Frightened Rabbit's album "The Winter of Mixed Drinks." It's calmed many a panic attack and depressive episode. I don't know how I existed before it came out in 2010.j.s.
The poem If by Rudyard Kipling -
groaning and moaning like a cave wolf
What helped me was the decision to actually make decisions instead of just letting everything happen to me. The first important decision was to not drown in self-pity and instead take the necessary steps to make myself happy. From then on forward I think my happiness is based on me deciding to be happy.DJ
"Whenever I feel I can’t go on, I — seriously — just take a shower." — Cat Marnell, Elle U.K. (December 2012)BMW
Sad songs. But do the sad songs pacify or prolong the depression? I'm not sure. Nick Hornby sums it up quite perfectly in High Fidelity: "What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" was a favorite of mine in college... And that one Dido album. And countless other somber songs and terrible pop punk ballads. I regularly tracked my listening trends on and, looking back, I wish I had understood my depression better (at all) and had been able to recognize that sad songs = sadness in my life.

Maybe someone can create a notification in Spotify that will recognize when someone is listening to an abundance of sad songs, then "ask" if they're okay? Provide a quick mental health quiz or something. Because knowing is half the battle (thank you, G.I. Joe). And if you don't know you're depressed, you certainly can't begin to get help.
One thing that helps me when I'm far enough gone is digging through information on mental health with a sort of anthropological eye, not looking for or expecting useful advice but somehow putting some distance between myself and my brain-state. I'll get lost in webmd articles, wikipedia, fluffy self-help clickbait, "depression diets", suicide statistics, and especially mental health forums. The information is never useful, but objectifying the disease is.
Listening to "The Morning of Our Lives" by Jonathan Richman. When I'm sad, it feels like he is singing it straight to me:
Sometimes my brain gets stuck on what's going wrong, what I don't have, what I'm not doing and who I'm not with. In those moments, I force myself to write down 3 things I'm grateful for and why. It reminds me of the good.
I buy flowers when I feel sad. It reminds me that I have the power to make my life beautiful. AF
There is the hashtag #talkingaboutit on Twitter--posts about mental health expereinces
I watch BBC nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough. They are both beautiful and soothing. It helps me relax and, when I have insomnia, helps me go to sleep.LL
Counting Crows songsAH
Nina Simone's cover of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" It's ok to be unhappy. And no matter what time it is, there is an action you can take. TM
55 I listen to this song on repeat on my headphones while walking around the city. I might even attempt some public dancing. It means it's working.educoffee
Kurosawa movies, or Johnny DangerouslyKS
I have saved this essay by Paul Ford called How to Be Polite. It reminds me that sometimes one of the best things you can do when you're sad is to bring a tiny bit of joy to someone else. When I'm super depressed, I almost never want to be around others because I'm scared it will somehow leak onto them. Ford reminds me that the majority of people just want to be made to feel like they're interesting and worthy of love, and it's fairly easy to do that. You can read the essay here:
What helps me? Having a pet, a friend or a mate/partner I can give to. Someone I can help, in any minute way. Not that they need me, but that I add to their lives in some small fashion. A bit of joy, peace, refuge, hope, that wouldn't be there if I didn't exist. If my existence is to be justified at all, it's that I am here to support other living things. I go through hard times to prepare myself to assist others who follow me into hard times. I get over things in order to learn to help others get over things. I take care of myself to be strong that I may have the strength tp make each life I touch a microscopic bit better. Every day. It's hard work. It's worth it. FG
I go to a yoga class, or go for a run, and then I always text the one friend I know will understand what it feels like to just feel shitty for a little bit and we compare problems and it helps.TJC
I listen to 'Leaving Las Vegas' by Sheryl Crow and think about how the same woman who wrote so many dark, bittersweet like that (see also: 'If It Makes You Happy' and a lot of Tuesday Night Music Club) also churned out stuff like 'Soak Up The Sun' and 'All I Wanna Do.' I guess it reminds me that people are complicated and always in flux and have little control over so much of our lives. And Sheryl Crow just has a soothing voice. CF
Two things:
1. Blasting "I Wanna Get Better" by Bleachers on repeat
2. Understanding the difference between feeling willing and being willing. I don't feel like getting out of my bed but I AM willing to do it. It makes me feel distinct from the depression and like I still have agency in my own life. (I'll admit, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't)
PS I can't thank you enough for this week's newsletter. I have felt so alone in this particular struggle and it's so helpful for me to hear that I'm really not. Thank you for being willing (lawl) to talk about it
I have this playlist called "getting all sentimental." I started it three or four years ago, and it's just sappy songs like Cat Powers' "Sea of Love" and James Blake's "A Case of You" cover. I would categorize it as questionable, mostly because it also includes the cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" that was used in an Extra Gum commercial. I listen to it every time I'm feeling sad or lonely or super besotted.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver ( - such a beautiful and important poem - one to live byAPG
Dancing through the living room to Fela Kuti. KM
Making a delicious meal for one, all from scratch.E.G.
Volunteering. No better cure for spiraling self-obsession than helping others. If that doesn't work, reading early modern philosophers like Descartes, Spinoza and Kant helps to ground your thinking when feeling adrift. Last resort, smoke a shitload of pot, relax with a foot spa and listen to beach sounds.AK
Sometimes letting all the stressful things flood my brain for a few minutes actually helps. Then a deep breath, and move along.JE
Vigorous exercise.
My three dogs. No matter what, they're always happy to see me, feeding/walking them is a constant "normal" that helps, and they are the best cuddlers. I don't have to explain myself to them...I can just be.
Going for a run. I get to stay inside my head and get out of it simultaneously.MS
"A Color of the Sky" by Tony Hoagland--"What I thought was an injustice /
turned out to be a color of the sky."
Khalil Gibran's passage "On Joy and Sorrow" in The Prophet; gets me through the hard times, but also reminds me to appreciate and truly live in my happy moments.
Reading Good Omens and vintage Achewood
video games - current calmer is alto's adventure or I draw something simple like lots of circlesJRLS
I listen to Nicki Minaj's Beam Me Up Scotty, in full, at least once a month, especially whenever I'm feeling down about myself or undervalued. It works every time. LS
What helps is all the things I don't do and haven't done in roughly the last year since things have been bad. I know it sounds obvious when I put it like that, but it is hard to take the time to take care of yourself when Life being particularly persistent.

Writing. Yoga. Meditation. Spending quality time with my other half. Listening to music. Seeing friends (real, close friends) one-on-one or in very small groups. Reading. Having a day or a week to myself for all those things.

Basically, now that I look at it, being an introvert.
Reading (and re-reading) Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half comics about depression (Part One: and Part Two: It's the most accurate description of my depression I've ever found! Just knowing that someone else knows what it's like to feel nothing makes me smile, if only while reading it. RS
This quote has helped me time and time again:

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Also this poem by Khalil Gibran has gotten me through a break-up or two:

On Pain

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
Rilo Kiley's "A Better Son/Daughter." I saw Jenny Lewis play this live at a concert a few years ago and I (and the girl next to me, and probably so on and so on) just stood there and cried. So many memories of so many teenage nights under the covers blasting this, feeling my feelings. "You'll be honest, you'll be brave, you'll be handsome, you'll be beautiful." CG
I'm 25 and have PTSD.

Things that I already knew helped pre-trauma:

Family, Friends, my cat, introspection.

Additional things that I learned about post-trauma:

Knowing my limits - it's okay to stay in bed sometimes if it means not getting a migraine or having a panic attack, grounding methods!, parables to describe what it's like to live through trauma to make it easy for people you care about understand what you're going through if they're also having a hard time connecting, something in the short term to look forward to - for me this ended up being volunteering at a therapeutic riding program where you take care of horses and disabled riders. It made me think, "Who knew there could be this much good in the world?" which was a huge step that took months to get to. Also, connecting with a counselor that can listen and/or a support group that can relate. One of the best moments with my counselor was screaming "This SUCKS!" at the ceiling and just letting a shitty time in life be what it is. Bright spots will ensue.
Going for a solo hike in the mountainsKF
Shooting a basketball. Preferably in a light rain. It's meditative and calming. Being in the world, physically, helps tether me to the world in ways that help. Maybe it also helps that I know I can't make every shot -- sometimes an attitude I should carry over from the court to life.hsh
The poem "Wait" by Galway Kinnell. Also, poetry in general. attribution please
My Irish grandmother's favorite quote, in the face of everything, good, bad, and sideways: "THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS." You must sigh deeply when you say it, and shrug your shoulders in a worldly-wise way. :-) I just fractured my knee a few days ago so I've been saying it a lot. In fact, I'm getting it tattooed. SJP
Running. When you're walking and blinking back a lot of tears and stifling panic attacks it's easy to stumble and fall, but with running the forward momentum helps keep you on your feet. And it distills all your various intersecting impossible jobs down to simple task: keep moving forward. Just one foot in front of the other until that hill 400 yards away. Then when you get there, you aim for the next hill. Then the next one. Until you're done running and the breathing is a little easier.CB
Crying, having a glass of wine, and blasting Gin Blossoms' New Miserable Experience. Maybe just because it's hard to take yourself too seriously while yelling Gin Blossoms lyrics.
Volunteering at a children's hospital once a week helps me. Even though they have serious illnesses, they are still so totally kids--they laugh, they sing, they play games with gusto, they compare their favorite poo emojis, they read, they do math--they're still being kids. Spending a couple of hours with them always sends me out feeling better.dh
Watching "The Last Waltz" with the volume all the way upCL
I made a poster titled "ARE YOU SAD AGAIN? TRY THIS!" and I wrote things that made me happy, like sunshine on my feet, walking by the lake, dogs, reading in the park, etc. I noticed dogs kept appearing in my favorite activities that seemingly had nothing to do with dogs, like going to the farmers market (and petting peoples' dogs). So I started volunteering as a dog walker at my local humane society. You know what distracts from existential panic? Taking care of something other than yourself. Its free therapy. Face kisses, snuggles, tails that wag so fast they look like helicopters. I do it for me as much as I do it for them. I get good feels and exercise, they get love and attention. KP
Going on a run. Or reading a book. JP
Details in the Fabric, by Jason Mraz. Sure, fine, embarrassing, but the quiet pep-talk of it does it for me. It's not a burn-the-house-down, "Go fight win!" pump-up. It's just a message from a friend when you've hit the age where your mom's not always the one you call when things go bad. "Get yourself dressed—everything will be fine."
prompt email is such a great place to read people being open and honest "on the internet". It's really in my inbox, just like everything changes, but it's a real throwback to anonymous internet communities of the past. I am a grade A lurker, never submitted but read all the prompts and sooooo many responses.
Eating a pint of chocolate Haagen DazsKDH
Aggressively upbeat pop music. Especially this unreleased Lady Gaga/Cher duet:
Silence in NatureTertta
Thinking about compassion: what it'd feel like to be heard by someone compassionate, how much empathy could I expect from the person I'm thinking about (sometimes none, and it's freeing to know that), how much of what I'm feeling comes down to longing for empathy. Just focusing on the idea of compassion is something that gives me a sense of being cared for in the moment.
Spending time with the people who make space for me. Mental space, emotional space, a safe physical space. The space to be myself, but also the space to change and grow and not be judged. The space to make healthy decisions—but also the space to make bad decisions, if that's what I need to do.AG