It can be difficult to come to terms with the problem when you finally realize you are struggling with depression. It may start out as feelings of sadness that you think will pass but when the emotions become deeper and more persistent you have to accept that you are dealing with something more complicated than a bad day or a bad week. Depression can be a painful reality but the more you understand about the illness, the better you will be able to cope with your symptoms.
1. Depression is Not a Temporary Mood – What many people don’t understand, especially well-meaning friends and relatives is that depression is a long term problem. It can be a problem that comes and goes throughout your life but it needs to be managed on a regular basis. People who suffer from depression can’t just try to feel better, they need professional help to cope with their illness.
People with depression often have chemical imbalances that can be eased with antidepressants and they can also uncover many of their life problems that contribute to depression with the use of psychotherapy. At the root of depression is often destructive thinking that the individual has trouble controlling and certain behaviors that increase negative feelings. This is why the “bad mood” doesn’t pass naturally but continues until they learn to change their thinking and behavior.
2. Anger is an Underlying Symptom – People with depression may not even realize that underneath their sad feelings there is actually deep rooted anger. Feelings of anger can be difficult to deal with because you may not want to face them if you are afraid you might lash out or drive people away. People who don’t want to deal with anger directly often turn that anger on themselves and start developing depression.
Part of recovering from depression can mean learning how to deal with anger in a healthy way and release it without causing conflict. Instead of avoiding anger and turning it inward, the person can fully experience anger without acting out or hurting others.
3. Just Talking about Depression is Not Enough – Sometimes people believe that since they are able to talk about their feelings with friends and family then it should be enough for them to work through what they are going through. Talking to friends and loved ones can be a great way to cope with the ups and downs of life but depression is too complex a problem to be resolved just by talking. You might find that talking about your depression can help you feel better in the short term but it doesn’t address the underlying issues that are causing those feelings.
Psychotherapy is necessary in order to identify what’s causing the depression and develop specific strategies that can address those issues directly. Of course talking to a therapist will help but they will also provide you with healthy coping mechanisms to make lasting changes.
4. Your Inner Critic Can Fuel Depression – Everyone can have an inner critic from time to time but people with depression can have a very strong one that they find it hard to ignore. Their inner critic can have a very destructive influence and a powerfully negative effect on their state of mind. Their critical voice can ruin their self-esteem and even change their behavior to act self-destructively.
To reduce symptoms of depression it is helpful to learn where this inner critic came from and become more aware of how it affects your actions. A therapist can help you develop strategies to combat your inner voice and produce more positive beliefs to counteract the negative ones. Challenging your inner critic can be a long process but eventually it will help significantly reduce feelings of depression.
5. You Need to Manage Recurrent Depression – People that have depression don’t always just resolve their issues and then never experience them again. Depression is a problem that can come up again in the future depending on life circumstances and triggers. Even treatment cannot prevent depression from recurring at different periods of a person’s life.
Strategies like mindfulness can be useful in helping to prevent relapse and allowing the individual to maintain better mental health. Studies have shown that mindfulness skills can reduce a person’s chances of having another depressive episode. Learning about mindfulness in recovery can help ensure that they have the skills necessary to manage depression in the long term.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression then finding professional help is critical to their mental health. Depression does not go away on its own and therapy is necessary to resolve the root causes. Contact a treatment center or therapist who specializes in depression to start getting the help you need to recover and feel well again.