Hello again! I’m back… for now!
Today I was answering some MDD discussion questions for the benefit of a research organization that is trying to come up with a new treatment option for major depressive disorder. I thought my fellow depressed people of the internet might be interested in my response — I know I would be if I were less experienced in my illness, so to speak, and in what works for me. So the following is my list of apps (in no particular order) that I use to help manage my depression and depression treatment. They’re probably not quite what you would expect, but that goes to show that depression is very complex and many factors contribute to both its presence and one’s recovery. Let me know if this list helps you in any way! Enjoy!
1. Inner Balance by HeartMath (free to download). I just downloaded this today and I look forward to trying it and hopefully making it a part of my daily routine. I learned about it from my bf’s friend who is a hypnotist (not in the traditional sense of the word, but more cognitive-behavioral) and gave me a free therapy session and had me try it out. You attach a pulse sensor to your earlobe and breathe in sync to a sort of pulsating mandala, trying to enhance coherence between your mind and heart rhythm. Termed HRV (heart rate variability) coherence training. It’s a biofeedback therapy which is great because you can actually see whether you’re doing it right and measure your progress. It’s like meditation, but more awesome, and you don’t have to continually pay someone in order to do it. I don’t have the sensor ($120+) yet but it’s on my Christmas wishlist.
2. Day One Journal by Bloom Built Inc (was $3 to download). The best journaling app out there. If you want, you can have multiple journals for different purposes in the same app. With premium (which I don’t have yet but might eventually have – $25-35 yearly) you get unlimited cloud storage and can sync across all devices. The designers have thought of pretty much everything. I have my main journal plus one titled Gratitude Journal, another called CBT for making myself aware of my thought patterns, one called Law of Attraction for visualizing what I want in life (difficult when depressed), “Dear Nikita” which is just me writing to my past, present, or future self, and a couple others for fun. I’ve journaled all my life but because I live with my boyfriend now and everything is more phone-centric these days I find it more convenient to have this app to get my reflective thoughts down and remove the possibility of anyone else being able to read through it (it’s password-protected).
3. Instagram (free). Sort of like a public journal. I can say as little or as much as I want, portray myself in whatever way makes me feel good, share my progress/recovery/inner thoughts with friends and anyone who happens to care, rant to whoever will listen, make an impact however small. I like that it acts as a record of myself, like “Nikita was here”. And as long as I remain honest, I can direct any new acquaintance to my account to get a better idea of who I am and what I uniquely (or not so uniquely) struggle with as a chronic depressive. That way I don’t have to tire myself out explaining everything. And the thought of being able to do this if I ever need to helps relieve my anxiety of being unknown, lonely, and useless.
4. Insight Timer (free): I learned about this from my bf who learned about it through a friend. Huge community of meditators. Free to use. You can rack up hours and get stars for progress. You can ‘friend’ others and also access guided meditations. My bf uses this multiple times a day but I fell off the wagon quite early. But I still think it’s cool. Some of the guided meditations are specific to depression and anxiety.
5. Shopping apps (Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, Depop, Amazon) (free to download): One of the ways I cope with depression lately is with shopping. Gives me a little high especially when I get a good deal. It’s like in that show “Extreme Couponing”. Been doing this for the last 4 years, or since the start of my current depressive episode. When I run out of money, I sell my old stuff. The cycle repeats!
6. Nike+ Run Club by Nike (free). I prefer this app over Under Armour’s MapMyRun because it’s more aesthetically pleasing to me and has less of a crowded feel. It also does everything I want it to, which is to map my run, record my time, distance, and pace, and log the miles run in any pairs of Nikes I own. You can also link with Spotify and have a customized playlist that (closely) matches your run tempo. I’ve always hated running but this app makes me want to improve my running. I can compete against myself or a friend who also has the app. I can share my results to social networks. This app is important to me because exercise, especially running, helps clear my head and relieve my depression symptoms. With it I successfully trained for and ran a 10k a year ago.
7. CVS Pharmacy (free). I use it to refill prescriptions. I love it for the convenience, and it also acts as a log of all the medications and dosages I’ve taken in the past.
8. Healthgrades (free). I use this when I’m looking for a new doctor. Because I’ve had bad experiences in the past, I make sure to only go with a clinician who has an average of at least 4 stars. This has worked out well for me so far and helped me avoid huge disappointments.
I’ve tried looking for a CBT app that can work as a digital workbook for self-therapy, but none of the free ones were helpful and I didn’t feel like paying. In the end my sister bought me a paperback workbook and I’ve been using that. Works for me.
Are there any apps that you love that work well for you? Help someone out; leave a comment.