When you live with clinical depression, it can be difficult to know how to get out of the vicious cycle of apathy, listlessness, and feeling like you just “can’t.” Your brain is telling you that you can’t, and the most important thing to remember is that “you can.” I’m not indicating in any way shape or form that this is easy. However, it’s an excellent strategy or coping mechanism for managing depression. Notice I used the word “managing” in reference to depression. That’s because in some ways we have limited control over how depression impacts us on a personal level.
What we DO have control over are our actions once we start feeling depressed. This is what cognitive behavior therapy is all about. You are learning real coping skills to deal with the intrusive thoughts associated with feeling depressed. CBT encourages people living with depression (myself included) to question or reality test their thoughts.
For example here’s a common depression induced thought: nobody cares about me, and they would be better off if I didn’t exist.
This thought is a based on multiple cognitive distortions. Let’s start with “nobody cares about me.” This is assumption based on mind reading. You don’t actually know if nobody cares about you because you can’t read their minds. Additionally, another distortion that’s involved here is overgeneralization. In life there will be people who care about you deeply and there will be others whom you are not as close to. It’s important to focus on the people who care for you and show you that you’re valued.
Depression tries to trick you into believing you’re worthless and the truth is, underneath the blanket of depression: you know your worth. Depression isn’t WHO YOU ARE. Depression is an actual illness just like cancer or gastroenteritis. It should be treated with the same seriousness as a physical illness.
When you’re depressed it’s important to seek a community of people who can help you through a depressive episode. There are excellent online resources out there like depression chat room that can help you feel like you are a part of something outside yourself. This kind of online-based platform can be helpful because when you’re depressed you often don’t feel like interacting with people outside your home. It’s a great start to speak to people online who are dealing with the same symptoms.
In fact, starting with an online platform can give you the courage to leave your house and have more fulfilling in-person social interactions. It’s about furthering your self-confidence and empowering you to reach out to others. Depression wants you to hide; don’t listen to it. Depression wants you to isolate from friends; tell it to have a seat. Depression urges you to sleep the day away; remember that you CAN get out of bed if you take it one step at a time. You have the power to conquer your depressed mood.
Remember to be kind to yourself as well. Depression wants to convince you that you are worthless, when in reality your worth is about how you see yourself. You can fight this monster entitled “depression” if you believe in yourself whole heartedly. Your voice matters, your opinion is valid and your feelings deserve to be heard. Depression cannot and will not triumph over who you are.