When it comes to an increasingly common problem like depression, it’s important to see a therapist to help us out of the hole we’re in. Why?
Because contrary to what one might think from the outside, beating depression takes more than willpower and clenched teeth. It takes tools.
Therapists have many roles here. In the first place, they confirm if someone does have the depression that they think they do.
Second, although they cannot prescribe medication, they can refer the patient to someone who can recommend medicine. And medication can be very positive, especially in the first stages of therapy.
Third, they can create an action plan or appropriate treatment plan for the patient and help them follow it, making adjustments and doing follow-up even after depression has gone away.
However, we all know that depression is not exactly a state in which we are especially proactive and excited about getting into new habits. Or keeping them up until they take effect. So, willpower is important, but also intelligence and a plan of action.
Depression goes away when we draw strength from where we do not have it to take small steps in the right direction, but there is so much resistance.
Isolation may be necessary, but it is not the solution
People with depression often feel especially tempted to get into new habits that actually feed their depression. One of them is to isolate ourselves from others.
We don’t want to see anyone, we’re sad all the time. And the gym, painting classes, music … everything that we used to like and got inspired by now makes us feel indifferent.
Perhaps a break and distance is good in some cases and for short periods of time. Especially when depression has come as a result of a prolonged period of stress.
However, in the long term, cutting out this type of “melancholic” habits is essential to beating depression.
Beating depression is possible when we start doing the opposite of what it urges us to do. Don’t want to go out? Let’s do something with our friends.
Don’t want exercise? Let’s get up really early and without stopping to think grab our bag and go to the gym or for a run in the fresh air.
When we take the first step, we’ll see that afterwards it’s not as difficult and even enjoyable maybe. Perhaps not at the same level as before, sure, but that makes it even more worth it.
The important thing is to get out of the cycle that these habits draw us into. We’ve already seen that it doesn’t make sense to continue like this. We’ve seen that nothing changes, everything stays the same if we continue in the same direction.
Learning to meditate, putting problems in perspective, managing our emotions, and seeking reinforcement are tools that a therapist can provide if we want to get out of depression.
So, one of the keys to beating depression is to start introducing different habits into our lives. We could also go back to those that we once enjoyed but gave up.
For example, some of us used to play music but we stopped enjoying it. If you don’t like it maybe you shouldn’t take it up again. However, surely there are many other things we continue to enjoy but we can’t sum up the energy for.
Going to the gym and talking to strangers or acquaintances, going out with friends we always cancel on, starting to eat healthier (practice what is known as mindful eating) and doing some moderate exercise will be important steps to saying “goodbye” to depression.
Why? Simply because they will create moments in which we feel better.
Beating depression by keeping an emotional diary
Great. We already know that depression may go away when we return to or look for activities that make us feel good. Going back to activities that we liked or incorporating some new ones that we may like. But … what else?
Earlier we said that one of the characteristics of depression is that it usually encourages introspection. It tells us, “Hey, you’re in a crisis!” And it puts us in a state where it seems to be easier to think.
Well, we can use it to try to get to know ourselves better and put our emotions in order. Yes, our internal order isn’t working, so let’s analyze how it is and look for a new one.
In this sense, writing can be a very positive way to vent emotionally and also keep track of our mood swings. Likewise, it allows us to go back over our words to see where we continue to fall and be more aware of the situation we’re in.
Many professionals consider writing therapeutic, and with good reason. Sometimes we cannot or do not want to tell anyone what’s happening to us. But we still have a need to communicate it in some way.
Keeping an emotional diary is very important, and not just when we suffer from depression or another problem. Doing it as a way of life can be very healing.
It’s natural for it to be hard at first to look over the pages where we’ve expressed all our pain. However, over time it will help you feel, revive and heal.
Then the time will come when we can browse the pages like someone reading a book, recalling memories of a situation we experienced that already belongs to the past.
At this point we already know that beating depression is possible when we change certain habits. However, the road will be long and hard. Many times we will stop moving and even take steps backwards.
But if we try again and again, swimming against the current, following the advice of a therapist, the depression will come to an end. Just like that. Depression dies when we cut off its fuel source.