Depression- an ugly, dirty monster that rules its victims’ lives. Some people lose their battle with it, others are barely surviving. The stigma of depression keeps so many sufferers quiet about their struggles. Yet, talking openly about what depression does to you is the only way to stop it from ruining your life.
Some of my dear friends, loved ones, and myself, have battled depression. The state of depression feels like being trapped in a gray bubble, watching your life slide by you while shaming yourself for your inability to be a responsible, productive person.
It’s high time we ended the negative label of depression and replaced it with a label of bravery. We must encourage ourselves and those around us to speak up about depression. With this article, and the tips herein, I am hoping to get the conversation started and shed some light on how you can stop depression from ruining your life.
1. Look beyond the surface
To cure depression, and stop it from returning once it’s resolved, you must learn its causes. Depression can be caused by traumatic or stressful life events, faulty mood regulation within the brain, certain medications, medical problems and genetic vulnerability.
What is the cause of your depression? Can you pinpoint a recurring trigger? Is there a time of the year when your depression seems to worsen? These are all important questions to answer. You may need to peel back a few layers until you get to the root cause. But it’s imperative to discover what stands at the base of your depression and make peace with the cause(s). Then, you can begin addressing your depression as a side effect.
2. Connect the dots
What made you who you are today? Have you experienced any traumatic life events? Does depression run in your family? Understanding how your past is affecting you today is crucial to finding your way out of depression. Sometimes, there are things that are subtly contributing to your depression. So be ruthless in your search for inner answers. Focus on your pain points and dissect each one of them. Allow these pain points to lead the way to self-discovery.
For example, you may have had a difficult childhood that affected your ability to form close connections, which left you feeling lonely and depressed. Or, depression is so embedded in your family that you don’t know another way of living, so you become complacent and accept the status quo. But you should not give in to depression. And you should certainly not allow it to become a core value in your life.
3. Fight the battle
In an ideal world, what would put an end to your depression? When you suffer from depression it’s very difficult to see your strengths and attributes. But underneath the broken person you think you are there is a brilliant human. Each and every one of us has something special and unique to offer to the world. And before you scoff at this idea and call it a cliché, I’d like to share a brief story with you.
Six years ago I almost lost my battle with depression. I felt useless, worthless, unlovable and undeserving of any good. I thought I had nothing valuable to offer to anyone, including my children. Depression had left me broken into so many pieces it felt impossible to put myself together again. But with the help of loved ones, and through sheer willpower, I did. Today, I am a writer who has inspired thousands of people. I am a nurturing mother and wife, a budding business woman, and the happiest I have ever been. I can’t help but think how much I would’ve missed had I allowed depression to win the battle.
4. Live unapologetically
Do you know what the biggest setback in life is? Fear. We are so afraid of living an authentic life that we box ourselves in this persona we want the world to see. And we do our best to avoid showing too much vulnerability, or uniqueness. Because the simple thought of being anything other than “normal” terrifies us. Therefore, we stay put and we glide through life mindlessly.
A key factor that helped me overcome depression has been becoming less of a people-pleaser. Not too long ago, the idea of upsetting or disappointing someone would fill me with anxiety. But then I realized that trying to please others at the expense of my well-being was self-defeating. I was compromising my identity. And our identities are our guides in life. When we lose them, we become lost as well.
5. Find freedom
When you are depressed, it may seem like there is no escape. You feel like you are drowning in a sea of negative thoughts and painful memories. But I promise you that if you try, keep at it, and focus on the end result, you will defeat depression. So visualize beating depression everyday. Contemplate the things you’ll do and the places you’ll go. Feel the freedom and joy. It’s exhilarating.
If your depression is severe, or you have attempted suicide, please talk about it with loved ones and seek professional help. There are ways to stop depression. Below are a few helpful resources that can guide you through recovery.
Previously published on inspoplace.com and is republished here under permission.
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