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Facing the Reality of Depression: Treating Yourself Well When You Feel Unwell

Instead of trying to force yourself to heal or get better, start to focus on creating a supportive treatment plan

Instead of trying to force yourself to heal or get better, start to focus on creating a supportive treatment plan

Little things can make a huge difference when it comes to treating depression.

Living with clinical depression continues to have a profound effect on my daily life, impacting my ability to function "normally." There is this unspoken assumption that time heals all wounds. When I was finally diagnosed with major depressive disorder, I thought it would only be a matter of time before I'd be well again.

As Alluring as It Sounds, You Can't Think Your Way Out of Depression

It's been five years since being formally diagnosed, and I'm starting to realize there's no cure for depression. Sounds grim, I know, but coming to terms with the reality of this illness is confronting.

When you are facing the reality of depression, the most helpful way to respond is with kindness and compassion towards your self.

Recently, I've realized I've been on what seems like an endless quest to fix my depression. Not only has this been zapping precious energy, but it has been causing me to feel intensely frustrated with myself. I feel guilt and personal responsibility around a diagnosis that is not my fault.

Depression is not something you can think or will yourself out of; it is a serious, potentially life-threatening illness.

The best way to help yourself through depression is to be kind and gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can. Tune in with how your body is feeling so you can learn what works for your body and mind. Instead of putting all the focus on possibly finding a cure for depression, focus your energy on treating yourself well.

It's the Little Things!

Little things can make a huge difference when it comes to treating depression. Forcing yourself to think positively, when life is challenging you to the core, isn’t helpful. It's okay to give yourself some space. At the same time, it's crucial to ask for help, especially when you are struggling with the little things.

It's Okay to Not be Okay

It's okay to not be okay, and while it might seem heroic to try and tough out a depressive episode, that approach can be dangerous to your health

It's okay to not be okay, and while it might seem heroic to try and tough out a depressive episode, that approach can be dangerous to your health

Treatment Options for Depression

Timely medical treatment should be the first response to a depressive episode. Not only will treatment help alleviate the symptoms, but you will get support in formulating a treatment plan moving forward.

There is no blanket treatment for depression, everyone responds differently. Some people respond well to drug treatment, while others find therapy helpful. While these approaches aren't an actual cure for depression, they do address the triggers and underlying chemical changes in the brain.

Depression Is an Invisible Illness

As a child, I had a sunny disposition, naturally gravitating to the aliveness and beauty around me. But one day, the sunshine in my heart was dwarfed by a dark cloud so immense, I gave up on life—on me. I remember thinking, in order to survive, I need to lay low. I retreated into myself.

Maybe childhood trauma and neglect had a part to play in my depression. I don't know.

But I do know, depression is an invisible illness with far-reaching implications. Depression can cause feelings of hopelessness, frustration and overwhelm. The effects of depression can reach into and interfere with every aspect of your life - personal, relationships, work and family life.

Self-Care Is an Important Aspect of Treatment

It can be difficult when you have depression to care for yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help, self-care is an important and beneficial aspect of a depression treatment plan

It can be difficult when you have depression to care for yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help, self-care is an important and beneficial aspect of a depression treatment plan

Get to Know Your Depression So You Can Care More Deeply for Yourself

It sounds terrifying, but no matter what form your depression takes, the underlying vulnerability is always there. It can be helpful to get to know your depression so you can identify the triggers and have a plan in place for when things get bad.

Even though you have depression, you can learn to trust your body as you find new ways to care more deeply for yourself.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Willow Shire from Central Pennsylvania, USA on January 23, 2019:

Hi Kimberlee,

Excellent viewpoint! I agree with everything you said. Most notably,

"It's been five years since being formally diagnosed, and I'm starting to realize there's no cure for depression." - A hard truth to bear, but awareness is what helps us fight the beast and build an arsenal to keep it at bay.

"It's OK not to be OK" - There's an ignorance among people without mental illness that we're all broken, which leads to people who need care ignoring that need. I repeat the words you wrote all the time. It's OK not to be OK. We're all human and humanity means imperfection.

"depression is an invisible illness" - So true. I've been in counseling since 2012, if memory serves. For years, I didn't tell anyone but Kat, my partner. Only a few months ago, I began telling everyone as I work on a career change towards writing. I figured, if I'm going to write about it, everyone needs to know. They've all been surprised.

It's one reason I want to write about my depression. Sometimes you can't tell if a person is depressed. I think as depressed people ourselves, we have a sensitivity and can see the signs, but it goes ignored by the general public.

Hopefully we can reach into the ethers and help someone help themselves.

Keep up the good work! : )

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