There is no catch-all way to help yourself or a friend who is dealing with depression. Each personality is different, as well as the situation they are living in. There are so many self-care methods and at-home remedies to supposedly make everything better — not to mention the idea that bath bombs will make us sustainably happy.
When I hit a low, it can be really hard to be motivated to do the simplest tasks like brushing my teeth, eating a meal, or writing an article that I'd typically enjoy writing. Sometimes hitting a low could mean I'm completely able to function, but I feel numb while doing the things that normally make me feel happy. Sometimes my social battery runs out two times as quickly. These lows are different for everyone so of course, it might not apply to anyone, but hopefully, it will help!
Over the years, I've taken a few moments of my time to really sit back and analyze my manic and depressive episodes, and try to figure out what helps and what hurts me.
One of the main problems I often run into is eating properly, or eating at all. It's not that I want to avoid eating, or that I want to starve myself, it's just that there's no appeal to food. It just doesn't sound good. Sometimes I find the idea of food unappealing, even if I'm physically hungry. While this is something I'm continuously working on, I've found certain foods or meals that are a happy neutral. These consist of grilled cheese and tomato soup, ramen noodles, and toast. Sometimes I put different flavors of cream cheese on my toast. Carbs (like bread!) can be super helpful because they are filling and won't often upset your stomach. The point is, no matter what food you have lying around or whatever you're craving, it's more important than anything to make sure you've eaten.
The second thing I've learned is simply to not overstep my own boundaries. I have a whole life to live, and it's not worth it to force myself to live it while I'm not OK mentally.
My job can wait, my education can wait, any appointment or obligation I have can wait, because I am a priority.
That being said, I have to understand when someone around me cancels plans simply because they are not able to live life right then. It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves and love ourselves, as well as allowing others to do the same when they need it.
The most valuable thing when I'm in a low period is being surrounded by people. This doesn't have to mean going to social events or even being around people physically, but it just means you must have people around at an arms reach. The people we love and trust might not ask us how we're doing consistently, but more often than not they will be there for us to talk about anything on our minds. People who care are always nearby, but we can't expect them to always know when we're not doing so hot. That being said, I am lucky to have a very small number of people who do try their best to reach out to me pretty frequently, which is something I'm sure I take for granted. Regardless, it's important that we don't become lonely because we simply didn't try.
There are plenty of other ways that could help each person deal with low spots in their life, but here are just a few. I have to constantly remind myself that there ARE people who care, there are people who will drop what they're doing to talk to me, and there are people who will do the same for you, including myself.
Depression and other mental disorders are typically taboo subjects to discuss, but that doesn't mean anything. Our value is not derived from anything other than what we decide. We are deserving of love regardless of what we've done, who we've been, and where we are now. Say it until it sticks.