For those who have become clinically depressed it can be a horrendous experience. Your own sense of self-worth can be shattered. You can mistakenly perceive yourself to be weak and of low moral fibre and you can simply feel worthless.
These are just a few of the emotions you might feel if you are battling depression but there are many more besides and everyone who is suffering from depression can feel very differently about themselves and the world around them.
As well as often distorting your reality of the world, depression and its symptoms can completely take over your life and drain your energy entirely. There is no timescale by which depression should be overcome. Its severity and the effects of that, both physically and mentally, alongside your own determination to beat it and your inner strength and character can make the journey from depression to recovery a very long one or a relatively short one.
Sufferers of depression will often see the world in a totally negative and unrealistic light and they often find it difficult to maintain a rational and realistic perspective on things, which is why going to a trained counsellor or attending a group which specialises in this area is often an extremely valuable resource in the recuperation from a depressive condition, as they can often help the sufferer to regain a sense of reality and can explain why a sufferer feels the way they do and how to go about changing their perceptions of themselves, the world around them and about rationalising their problems.
Let Go of the Past
Whilst it’s important to understand and rationalise events that have happened in the past, which have led to your depression and equally important to learn from those experiences, those who tend to suffer with depression the longest are people who refuse to let go of the past. This is because overcoming depression requires a present and future focus. Overcoming it will often challenge your beliefs and will require you to learn new skills and to undertake new experiences.
As you recover, either through the combination of medication and therapy or through therapy alone (medication on its own can help lift your mood but it can never resolve depression), you’ll learn how to monitor your moods and to identify trigger points which could steer you back towards the ‘dark abyss’. However, you’ll be taught coping mechanisms that will enable you to recognise the trigger points and what to do about them.
Make a Change
The one common denominator with everyone who suffers with depression in their eventual defeat of this debilitating condition is that they will all have made some kind of major alteration to their lives in order to overcome it. This will vary tremendously and will be specific to each individual but it can include finding and pursuing a new hobby, changing or modifying your circle of friends, voluntary work, joining a club or learning a new skill etc.
In doing something new or different that you enjoy, it leaves no room for the depressive feelings to return to simply go round and round like a never ending loop of repetitive negative thoughts in your mind.
Taking up or restarting regular physical exercise, combined with a healthy eating plan also helps you combat depression as does taking up meditation or yoga.
It is important to make sure that you stay connected to other people. However, if your depression is linked to people you socialised with previously, it’s important that you don’t return to the same social circle as people who are negative, angry or depressed themselves will sap you of energy and draw you back in towards your own depression. By making the right positive social connections, you’ll ultimately increase your self confidence and regain your self belief that you have a worthwhile contribution to make to society.
Also, make time for yourself – some quiet time in solitude – but be wary of the way you use this time. Too much time alone can start the depressive thoughts re-emerging so use the time to challenge some of your previous held assumptions and be determined to replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. If you have finished counselling but still need help, why not begin reading some self-help books? You might not always agree with every word in each book but you’ll often find that you’ll connect with certain beliefs and coping strategies over a few different books so pick out those which you agree with that might be of help and try to incorporate them into your daily life and simply discard those which have no meaning or value to you.
Remember that life after depression is still going to see you faced with challenges and obstacles from time to time but you should view your victory of the battle with depression as a significant step to you obtaining the strength of character you now have to enable you to face any future challenges and meet them head on.
Staying positive and doing positive things which make you happy is the key to retaining your health after you’ve got over depression. When you’re in the midst of a depressive illness, it can have a vice like grip causing you to think things like “things will never get any better” or “people would be better off without me” and other negative and irrational beliefs but that’s simply part of the illness. Nothing is permanent in our lives and our lives and the world around us evolves all of the time. The key to beating depression is to remember that fact and the sooner you confront your depression and adopt an attitude that it’s simply one of life’s hurdles just waiting to be conquered, the quicker you will be able to conquer it. However, it is a very confusing and debilitating illness and it’s not simply a case of being able to ‘snap out of it’. It just takes time, courage and a steely determination on the part of the sufferer to overcome it.
Once you have done, however, you’ll face life with a renewed sense of purpose and vigour and an increased sense of self worth.