Diagnosed with Depression – What Happens Next?

October 31, 2019
People diagnosed with depression can feel devastated and powerless over their future. In today's article, we're going to focus on using the disorder itself for personal empowerment and growth.

According to the WHO, more and more people are diagnosed with depression every day. Thus, it isn’t surprising that you know at least one person who’s currently dealing with this condition. When a person begins to feel blue, not only are their depressive symptoms relevant but also the distress they feel after learning that their sadness has a name.

Furthermore, people with or without an official diagnosis who begin to have symptoms of depression are often scared of their behavior, cognition, and reactions. In today’s article, we’re going to give you some tips to help you fight your depression.

Diagnosed with depression

Depression is neither a disease nor incurable

A woman biting on her nails.

The most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with a depressive disorder is to know that you to want to get it over with. Thus, your discipline must be greater than just taking one pill after another and hoping for it to go away on its own.

In certain cases, psychopharmaceuticals can be very useful in conjunction with psychological therapy. But therapy is the key here. It’ll be the most powerful tool you have to start feeling better and away from despair, sadness, or apathy. Therapy works because it’s sort of a message of hope for those afflicted with depression.

There are many proposed options that have scientifical validity after testing and experimenting. For that reason, researchers postulate them as effective in the treatment of depression:

Thus, even if you don’t feel like you can do it, it’s important to know that you can get out of your depression cycle. Mainly, that you don’t have to do deal with it on your own because your therapist knows what to do and will be on your team.

Desire doesn’t come out of thin air

One of the most notable symptoms of depression is the abandonment of intrinsically motivated activities. Those you used to like before you put them aside without substituting them. This is precisely how a depressed person gradually loses all sources of positive emotions.

The absence of motivation or desire is important: it anesthetizes any initiative on your part and tests your willpower. A person with depression feels weak and, therefore, tries to save as much energy and strength as they can. However, this is just the school of thought most of us grew up with and the truth is that we can all create our own desires. They’re not just there for you to grab them. Just because something hasn’t been done doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do it.

For instance, a person may no longer derive pleasure out of walking their dog every morning. Thus, it’s important for them to know that they should continue with their many activities even if they don’t feel like it. This is precisely how they’ll get back their “joy”. Surely, they’ll feel better after that walk and that state of mind will extend to their next activity. It’ll become easier as they continue to do so.

Don’t believe everything you think

People with depression may notice how their way of thinking changes. Thoughts become harder, sadder, or just hopeless. Humans can certainly be mean and hurtful to ourselves.

Without a treatment – such as cognitive restructuring, for instance – it’s difficult to identify these thoughts. But, above all, it’s harder to dismantle them and cross them off. Thus, that would be something to accomplish through therapy – strongly recommended from the very start. As you can see, nobody expects a person with depression to know how to get out of it on their own. In fact, they don’t have to.

While you get there, it’s very important to keep bad thoughts at bay. You mustn’t believe everything you think, even if you believe it’s true. Thoughts such as “Nobody cares”, “I’m worthless”, and “I can’t go on” are quite irrational and only undermine your self-worth.

Understandably, they’re hard to avoid at times. Thus, it’s vital to develop some strategies and use them when you need help ignoring such thoughts. In this regard, the best distracting strategies are those that involve an activity.

Helping without knowing how to help

One of the most important factors for the treatment of depression is having a wide and valuable social network you can rely on for support. The only bad part, however, is that depression is what often erodes human connections. Thus, the more depressed someone is, the smaller their circle of friends.

Generally, well-meaning people want to help. They really try for a while but then abandon all attempts when they don’t see a positive result. At this point, they no longer seek the company of a depressed person. People mainly withdraw because they feel helpless and incompetent to help someone.

This is why it’s so important that you stick around if you’re part of a depressed person’s life. If you wish to help, then keep in mind that your intervention, the same as your evaluation, must be directed by a therapist.

Psychological therapy as the initial and main option

A woman offering comfort to a sad man.

Even if you were diagnosed with depression, sometimes there’s a lack of desire or one does not “believe in psychology” and perhaps it’s just due to laziness or fear. In any case, know that depression is a general and persistent mood that anyone can get out of.

Although there are times when it goes into spontaneous remission, many people stay in a state of depression for many years. For some, it lasts forever. But this doesn’t mean that a person can’t get out of their depression. Only that, perhaps, they’ve never confronted it via a targeted, adapted, and specialized intervention.

You can’t expect to cure leukemia by not seeking medical help. Or you can fail to see a dermatologist when that mystery freckle continues to grow. But you’re just wasting precious time and it’ll turn against you. The same goes for psychological disorders.

Thus, although you might think that you can do without therapy, it’s neither worth it nor conducive to a full recovery. It’s always better to prevent in a timely fashion than to cure it when it’s too late.

If your personal resources allow it, then therapy will be the first step to overcoming your depression. You can begin the process of recovery with the help of trained people who know how to handle these cases. It’s all about directing the strategies you’re yet to take. Were you diagnosed with depression? Don’t worry! You can regain full control over yourself and your well-being.

  • Ayuso Mateos JL. [Depression: a priority in public health]. Med Clin (Barc) 2004; 123, 5:181-6.