I worked out a system with a good friend that whenever I start to disappear, he is to assume that I am feeling hopeless or depressed. His job is to come over to my house tell me a story about something I did that was great.

I am a loner type and when I get depressed it is really bad because there is no one but me to figure out how to get out of the hole. I made an agreement with myself that if I am not eating or getting out of bed for anything longer than two days I will call the crisis line and tell someone. It may not seem like much but it has helped.

I struggled with depression for a long time. One day I had an inspiration. I went to the animal shelter and found the ugliest cat that no one would ever want and adopted it. I love that cat and she needs me because no one else would ever love her the way I do. Having something else to care about has helped me pull myself out of some bad places.

When I feel hopeless, I think about whether I’ve been triggered and just need to come back to the present by focusing on the here and now and reflecting on something I am grateful for.

Be authentic – don’t pretend you’re ok if you’re not. I have to make myself reach out to others when what I want to do is hide myself away. Sharing when you feel low helps others to be authentic too.

I put positive affirmations on post-it notes all around my apartment. It helps to remind me that other perspectives exist.