Tony's Story of Living Well With Depression
LiveWell Peer Tony shares what he does on a daily basis to live well, offers some wisdom about goal setting and building self-compassion, and describes how participating in LiveWell peer support groups has benefitted his mental health.
"I reached out to a LiveWell peer for support... I felt relieved, validated, and accepted."
What is one thing you MUST do on a DAILY basis to reduce depression symptoms, manage your mental health, or live well? And why?
Talking or communicating with someone daily helps me reduce depression symptoms. Although I enjoy spending time by myself often, if I spend too much time alone then I can feel lonely, disconnected, and sad and can spiral downward.
I feel supported when I talk about mental health with peers and safe people.
What is one LiveWell Strategy you use on a daily basis to manage your moods? And why?
My favorite strategy is Do What You Can When You Can: Accept the ups and downs of managing your moods. Go at your own pace. Trust yourself through your unique process of change and growth.
It's my default strategy when I'm having a rough moment. When I feel angry, sad, and hopeless from failing, I can always succeed at doing what I can when I can. It is a way that helps me practice self-compassion.
How has participating in LiveWell peer-support groups positively impacted your mental health?
For me, it helps to talk about mental health challenges in a safe and nonjudgmental space with peers who can relate and understand.
I was in a situation recently where I voiced my opinion when I usually keep thoughts to myself. My thought was met with an opposing view. I felt anxious and upset because I thought I might be criticized. I reached out to a LiveWell peer for support. During that conversation I realized that I'm not wrong for having an opinion, thought or preference. I felt relieved, validated, and accepted.
If you were to share one piece of wisdom or inspiration with a peer starting out on their own depression treatment or wellness journey, what would it be? And why?
Break up what you want into small steps. Set very small goals and celebrate the victories when you accomplish them. Give yourself credit. They all matter and they all add up. This was particularly helpful to me when I felt stuck. The small successes gave me some forward progress and after a while I built some momentum.