Depression…What You Can Do About It (plenty)

Jul 17, 10 Depression…What You Can Do About It (plenty)

Depression is a frustrating illness because it doesn’t always get better by itself. In fact, the symptoms that come with depression, such as low self esteem and lack of energy or motivation, are the very things that can make it both seem and get worse. And if you’re depressed, you’re not likely to be optimistic, so you may see taking any action as pointless. DO IT ANYWAY! YOU’LL FEEL BETTER FOR IT!

Get support
When you’re depressed, it’s really common to isolate yourself from friends and family — but this is the time when you need them most. It really helps to talk about what’s bothering you and spend time with those who care about you. Even if it’s the last thing in the world you feel like doing, get out and be social. And if you’re really unable to do that, get professional support so that you can. Talk to your doctor to see if you can benefit from medication, and see a therapist experienced in working with depression. Research shows that medication and therapy combined is the best treatment for depression.

Exercise is critical
One of the very best natural anti-depressants is exercise, especially regular aerobic exercise. It’s also great for your health in so many other ways, and boosts your energy levels and your self esteem. If you do nothing else to treat your depression, try to get out and get moving. Set up a regular exercise date with a friend; if you can afford it, hire a personal trainer; or sign up for a class and pay for it up front — use every trick you can think of to provide the motivation you need to get started. Make it sacred. Make it a regular habit. Like the Nike ad says, JUST DO IT!

Don’t believe your inner critic
Everyone has one: an inner critical voice that says we’re useless, lazy, stupid or whatever other nasty traits we might, at times, imagine we possess. If you’re depressed, the inner critic can be extremely harsh and unrelenting. Remember that this voice in your head is not the voice of truth or reason. It’s a symptom of depression. It’s your mind’s misguided attempt to motivate you to change, but it can have the opposite effect, making you feel worse. Don’t buy into it. Try to understand that if you’re depressed, everything in the world will seem to be colored grey — darker and gloomier than it really is.

Be kind to yourself
Depression can hit us for so many different reasons, including current life losses or problems, past trauma, hormonal or biological causes or for no apparent reason at all. Depression is common and so often goes untreated or undertreated. That’s because people often view depression as their fault or evidence of some deep character flaw, something they can’t change or fix. It’s not. It’s an illness like any other and it responds well to treatment. In the meantime, once you recognize you are in a depression, make allowances for it, and make sure you do the things you need to help you heal from it. Psychic illnesses are not visible on the surface like physical ones, but they are no less real, no less deserving of care and compassion.

If you’re depressed, you will not be as clear-headed, productive or outgoing as usual. You will have days when you feel hopeless, lethargic, completely unmotivated. You may feel like this is never going to change. That’s the depression talking. Maybe it’s there because you need to slow down, make a major life change, resolve difficult feelings or grieve a loss. Maybe you need a break or to put yourself first. Find out what you need to do for yourself, and then do it.

You can recover from depression. It may feel like there is nothing you can do, but there is a lot! Start being kind and compassionate to yourself. Get support and get moving.

If you have any questions about what else you can do to alleviate depression, or specific areas you would like to know more about, let me know! I’d love to hear from you.