Keeping Your Senses Alive When You’re Depressed


When you’re clinically depressed, you may lose touch with a lot of things. Your relationships, the feeling of being present in the world that most people take for granted, and even your sense of self. Losing touch with your senses is is an almost universal experience among people with depression.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep your senses alive. Below is a less than exhaustive list of possible ways to keep in touch with your senses, and all of them can be done from home (with a little shopping).

Find inspiration in A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, a biological and cultural history of the five senses. I first read this book when it came out, and it greatly enhanced my appreciation and understanding of our senses and how important they are.

Dabble with aromatherapy (with real essential oils, not candles or perfume). Rose, bergamot, lemon and ylang ylang are essential oils that might lift your mood, and lavender and rosewood can combat anxiety. Note: Aromatherapy is not meant to replace your depression treatment.

You can virtually tour the National Gallery of Art, the British Museum and theMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others.

On Youtube you can find videos and audio of the Amazon rainforestrain, the ocean and a mini waterfall (it’s described as a babbling, but it’s more rushing than babbling.)

Digital Blasphemy has gorgeous desktop wallpaper, really breathtaking photos and computer generated art.

One of the best, most memorable meals I ever had was incredibly simple, but very good. I was wandering around in Paris, somewhere around the Place de la Concorde, when I realized that I was very hungry. I went into a shop and got a humble sandwich – butter and ham on a fresh baguette. It was simple, but the excellent quality of the bread was what made it so delicious. I still think that nothing beats fresh bread and butter for pure taste heaven.

Gardening activates almost all of your senses. If you have some earth to plant in, great. If not, you can create a garden in a container. Gardenweb.com is particularly helpful, with a great resource section and active forums.

I know that being depressed tends to re-prioritize everything, so that basic needs tend to be the only ones that are addressed. All these suggestions may seem like luxuries that you don’t have the energy for. But they, or activities like them, will help to keep your spirit alive when depression is trying to stifle it.

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