Question of the Week: Depression-Proofing Your Home

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Our home is where depression starts - and ends. After 11 years researching and writing on my illness, I finally figured that out. I'm in the process of putting together an article for my site and I need your help. Here's where I'm coming from:


    Think of your home as "treatment," as important, if not more so, than any med you may be on or any recovery tool in your arsenal. For instance, is the lighting - both natural and artificial - right? What about the air you are inhaling right now?


    Take a look around you. Are your eyes lighting on a view that can boot you up? How about calm you down? Or is everywhere you look frankly - depressing?

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    What about your bedroom? Is it set up to optimize sleeping and waking up?


    What about your special personal place? Inner sanctum or prison cell? If you wanted to enjoy your favorite hobby right now, could you? Or would getting set up take too much trouble? What is the most convenient button in the place to turn on? The button to the TV or radio, which is only likely to make you anxious or depressed or angry or encourage you to waste time? Or the button to the kind of music that can boot you out of a bad mood and enhance your good mood?


    How about the kitchen? Optimized for good eating?


    What about the bathroom? Optimized for good personal hygiene?


    What about the public areas of the house? Would you feel comfortable having a guest over? Would your guest feel comfortable?


    If you share your place with others, are the various areas set up to minimize conflict? (Respecting boundaries, encouraging sharing, etc.) Or are you walking on eggshells?


    Are you on top of the situation in your home, or has your home run away from you? Feeling comfy or overwhelmed by clutter?


    And, perhaps most important, is your home a true reflection of you?


    Question: Depression-proofing your home - tell us all about it.


    This is your chance to bring out your inner Martha Stewart. Here's my little contribution: When I moved into a new apartment last year, I was smart enough to consult my women friends. One of them introduced me to the concept of throw pillows for my living room sofas. A guy would never think of such a thing. Not any old throw pillows, mind you. Special bright World Market throw pillows from all corners of the globe (does a globe have corners?). I filled up a whole shopping basket full of the things to throw on my sofas. Sure enough, they lit up the room.


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Published On: February 18, 2011