4 Ways to Show Depression Who’s Boss
Depression is an extremely common mental illness – in fact, it’s said that 1 in 10 people will experience depression at some point during their life. With that said, it’s important to help each other cope with what can often be an exhausting thing to deal with, as well as find ways for you to pull through and keep moving forward. Even though it’s incredibly difficult, it’s essential to not let your depression define you – we’ve put together a list of ways in which you can gain back control and show depression who’s boss.
Seek Out Medical Treatments
Depression isn’t just feeling sad; it’s a medical condition and needs medical attention. That may sound scary but addressing the issue in this way is important to make sure you’re getting the help you need. Talk to a GP, who can give you advice on your options. The two most common options are medication and talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, also known as CBT. CBT is based around challenging negative thoughts and helping you gain control over your mind, especially when you feel overwhelmed.
You shouldn’t feel forced to take up either of these – many people feel reluctant to take medication, and that’s okay. Think about how important it is to you, or if there are any alternatives if you’re unsure. It’s a big decision and one which you should never make without wanting to.
A benefit of seeking out medical support is that it’s a good way to start to build up a support network around you. This can be great, especially if you feel lonely and aren’t sure where to go to talk – medical staff will talk about how you’re feeling in complete confidentiality unless you express the intention to harm yourself or someone else, and this is purely for your safety. This means you have someone to go to who is non-judgemental and will keep things just between you, giving you a safe place to express your thoughts and feelings without fearing the reaction. Plus, medical staff deal with this problem a lot, and have a good knowledge of support you can access and tips to help make things easier for you, both in the short term and the long term.
Build Up a Support Network
One of the main feelings people can feel when suffering from depression is loneliness and isolation. Not only does depression affect the way you think, and can make you feel as if your loved ones have turned away from you or don’t love you, but it can also make you shut people out as a means of protecting them, hiding your illness, or even out of fear, meaning depression can isolate you even more.
This is why it’s so important to build up a support network around you. Although it can be incredibly difficult, talking to people can really make a difference when trying to fight depression. This doesn’t mean telling everyone if you don’t want to – in fact, if you know someone who you don’t think will listen to you, or someone who would dismiss you, it’s best to avoid talking to them. However, finding people who you trust and love to talk to can be life-changing and the way to combat your isolation, as well as giving you the space to let those thoughts and feelings that have been locked away out into the open.
You’ll find once they’re out in the open, more often than not, they’re a lot easier to deal with. Some people like to use a metaphor – think of your depression as a giant monster, terrorising your mind. Do you want to fight that monster on your own, or with an army of loved ones?
Make Some Changes
Often, depression can be triggered by something in our life – that might be a more obvious event, like the death of a loved one, or something more subtle. It’s helpful to come to terms with what triggered the depression and finding ways to cope or overcome the situation and the thoughts and feelings around it.
If this is a life event, counselling is the best way to deal with the thoughts and emotions you’ve been feeling, as it gives you space to openly discuss it and find ways to help you move forward with those thoughts. Sometimes, it can be harder to realise what is responsible for our depression or what might be contributing to it, even if it wasn’t the cause.
Lifestyle is a big factor in the way we feel – although changing your lifestyle isn’t going to fix your depression, it can help you gain more control in other areas of your life and make you feel more in control and stronger.
Exercising is a great thing to do – it’s good for your health, and it also releases endorphins, as well as giving you goals or aims to work towards. Particular exercises and sports like martial arts also show you mental tips, too, and can give you a feeling of power which can spark your motivation to make a change and give you more control.
Making times for hobbies is also a great idea – with the way society is so fast-paced nowadays, it can be hard to stop and get out of the endless cycle of rush, rush, rush, so making time for yourself is a good way to centre things back and help you relax.
You might want to make even bigger changes – perhaps your job is one of the reasons you’re depressed, in which case you might want to think about some online courses developed for professionals in the UK. Follow your passion or prepare for a dream job rather than stay stuck in a harmful environment. Sometimes, bigger life changes can be a great way to get a fresh start and change things, both literally and emotionally.
Take Up Mindfulness
Mindfulness is something more and more people are becoming aware of, and for good reason. Mindfulness is about aiming to be aware of where you are, what you’re doing, and how you feel at a certain point in time, focusing purely on the present. Some of us practise mindfulness without even realising – that first sip of tea when you get home from work, the feeling of a hot shower on a cold day, getting into fresh sheets when you just made your bed – all of these are examples of times when we’re being mindful.
Taking it one step further and creating this moment can help improve your mood and outlook on the world; in fact, studies have shown that mindfulness even alters the physical structure of your brain. The beauty of mindfulness is that you can’t do it wrong – it’s hard to stay focused on the present without our mind wandering, but mindfulness accounts for this and is also about drawing our mind away from that wandering and back to the present as soon as we realise it’s happening. You can go for meditation (Headspace is a great app for starting mindfulness), or opt for mindful activities such as colouring.
With these four options, you can start to regain control over your life again, and over time, you’ll be able to soothe yourself and say goodbye to depression. Be patient and expect fallbacks, but keep going, and you’ll get to where you want to be.