Helping Others Beat Depression
April 23, 2020
Tammie Terraciano has faced her share of obstacles in life – and survived them all.
Difficult circumstances such as childhood poverty, suicide of a close family member and an emotionally abusive relationship left her feeling severely depressed and took a toll on her mental health, personal life and ability to productively work as a senior internal clerk in Met-Ed’s Substation Services.
Despite these challenges, she has turned things around, and now encourages and supports others looking to do the same.
“Despite the darkness life sometimes presents, there’s always a positive – a reason to keep going,” said Tammie. “I know the COVID-19 crisis is a stressful time for everyone. Quarantine can make people feel alone and more agitated than usual, especially those struggling with mental health issues. My mission is to help anyone I can with the strategies I’ve learned for coping with stress and depression in my own life.”
Some suggestions that Tammie shares with others include:
- Reaching out to others for help. “When I was at my lowest, I reached out to my friends as well as my boss and trusted coworkers and let them know how I was feeling,” she recalls. “They did everything they could to help. From daily calls to check-ins, they were there to listen, to offer support and encouragement – and that made a huge difference for me. It’s hard to let others in, to admit our humanness, to ask for help. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to be there for you, once a need is expressed.”
- Incorporating movement into your day as much as possible. It might feel impossibly difficult, but just the smallest movements can make a world of difference in your physical and emotional health. Get yourself up and moving because depression can be debilitating. Tammy suggested, “Be silly. Dance around. Repeat any movement that involves a continuous back and forth motion to self-soothe, such as walking.”
- Making time for self-care and stress relief. Incorporate light stretching or breathing techniques into your daily routine. Listen to calming music or soothing nature sounds to help you fall asleep at night. Many free meditation and music resources exist on online that can help with relaxation.
It’s also important to turn to licensed professionals when needed. Tammie used FirstEnergy’s Life Resources Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to find counselors in her area who were able to offer guidance, support and help for her depression. “I have only good things to say about the program. It’s there anytime you need it and it definitely helped me in my recovery. I encourage anyone struggling to take advantage of the free services offered to employees and their household members.”
She added: “No matter what, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence. Things can and will get better. Talking to others when I’ve been down helped me immensely on my journey to health, and I want to pay it forward. If anyone needs a helping hand or words of encouragement, I’m here to help and listen.”