Today’s blog post focuses on ‘accepting your depression’. We begin the discussion with a brief understanding of depression. This is then followed by understanding whether it is possible to make depression do away. We next talk about acceptance as a way to control depression. We then take into account the ways in which accepting your depression can be helpful which is accompanied by ways to cultivate acceptance. Lastly we briefly talk about the role of acceptance and commitment therapy in dealing with depression.
Accepting Your Depression:
The logic of acceptance is also applicable to depression. When a person is depressed, everything may seem exhausting, even the most easiest chores. Even eating and sleeping may seem like big tasks. In such a situation, the person has a choice to either fight with the situation and blame oneself or to accept the situation and find a solution. Acceptance of depression does not mean the person accepts that he has depression and does nothing about it. Accepting your depression means understanding what the mind and the body are going through and actively trying to find a solution.
Here are a few ways accepting your depression will be helpful in coping with it:
- Acceptance can be brought about by being aware of the present experiences
- Allow yourself to feel the negative emotions
- Appreciating the impact of depression
- Paying attention to the warning signs
- Have a routine
Depression, sadly, is now called the common cold of mental disorders as it is one of the most common, yet debilitating mental health issues that people face. Many people face depression directly, while some experience it indirectly when it affects a family member or a friend.
There are a number of symptoms associated with depression such as persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, empty mood, feeling of hopelessness and pessimism. It is also accompanied by feelings of guilt, rumination and worrying along with feelings of worthlessness.
The person can no longer enjoy their day to day activities that they once enjoyed, they have difficulty in maintaining personal hygiene, they tend to withdraw themselves socially and may also lose their drive for sex. Sleep and appetite disturbances are also common.
Does depression ‘go away?’
People who experience depression often say that depression never really ‘goes away’. They believe it is one of those conditions, which may go into a submission for a few years, but it is always there.
This might sound like a very hard truth, and it indeed may be that way. But most of our pain comes from the fact that we fight the depressive symptoms and feelings every time they strike and instead of making it better, we make it worse.
It’s not the fault of the person though as depression is a severe condition and anyone would take as much effort as possible to make it go away so that they can be happy again. But according to journalist Andrew Solomon, “the opposite of depression is not happiness, but rather it is vitality”.
In order to achieve vitality against depression, it is important for us to be able to accept the fact that one is depressed and is experiencing certain kinds of symptoms. As we saw, resisting the symptoms only makes them stronger and we tend to lose control over our condition and let the condition control us.
How can you gain control over depression?
Gaining control over your depression is not to take efforts at stopping the symptoms. Gaining control over depression is rather facilitated by accepting your depression.
Accepting your depression would actually help in moving ahead with life as you won’t be stuck at one place with your condition. Once you are able to accept your depression, you have a better control over your life.
Acceptance if very different from apathy or resignation to your condition. Acceptance, rather, is completely understanding your strengths as well your weaknesses and reminding yourself that you are a complete person because of both these elements. It is accepting that you have a condition, like any other physical condition which has its symptoms that need treatment. Acceptance is the first step towards making a commitment towards bringing about a change in self.
Another reason why acceptance is not resignation is because when you accept the situation, you tend to see it as it is, while resignation means giving in to one’s symptoms.
Why will accepting your depression be helpful?
There are a number of reasons that will explain why accepting your depression be helpful:
- Acceptance will help calm the agitated mind:
Just in the way an electric circuit with less resistance consumes less power, having a lower resistance and greater acceptance consumes less energy of our mind. It helps in calming the mind. When you engage in accepting your depression, you just let the thought come to your mind and let it pass, without reacting to it and this results in the mind consuming less energy and keeping you calm.
- Acceptance is liberating:
Accepting the condition frees the mind from the social restrictions. By accepting your depression, you tend to develop a new perspective and start seeing it just like any other illness, without exaggerating it. When the condition loses its power to become big, it becomes liberating to the person. This leads to the mind opening up and this accelerates the process of change. This also makes one realise that it is just a thought and feeling.
- Acceptance makes you kinder towards oneself:
When we love someone, we completely accept that person, with their strengths and weaknesses. This acceptance makes us kinder towards them. Same applies to the self. When you are able to engage in accepting your depression, you are likely to be more kinder to yourself as you are likely to see the self as someone who is capable of having vulnerabilities.
- Acceptance is empowering:
Accepting your depression can be empowering as it helps you to face the world without being ashamed of your condition. You realise that you are no longer answerable to anyone but your own self and that you are okay with having developed a disorder which you are confident of now overcoming the condition.
- Acceptance brings more insight:
Accepting your depression will help you understand and have insight about the ways in which the symptoms are manifested along with the intensity. Once the ways in which symptoms are manifested is understood, you are likely to me more careful about not giving in to your rumination, worrying, self-sabotaging thinking pattern and behavioural pattern such as not eating, not getting out of bed, isolating oneself etc.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
How to practice acceptance?
Accepting your depression is a lengthy process. One has to be mindful that it is not a change that will happen overnight. But one has to take constant and consistent efforts to accept the condition. This can be done in the following ways:
- Acceptance can be brought about by being aware of the present experiences:
When you feel a depressive episode is building up, make a note and write down the thoughts, emotions and behaviours associated with it. Do not filter out anything and write just the way it is being experienced. Filtering may be a form of resisting the emotion,thought or behaviour, which can make things worse.
- Allow yourself to feel the negative emotions:
One way of accepting your depression is allowing oneself to feel the negative emotions just that way they want to be felt. Altering the expression of those emotions can be another way in which one may be resisting acceptance.
- Appreciating the impact of depression:
This involves putting things in perspective. Depression disrupts almost every aspect of a person’s life. By putting it into another perspective, one can say that the disruption has given them a chance to be diligent about taking care of the different aspects of one’s life that they initially were not paying attention to.
- Paying attention to the warning signs:
Being cognizant to the warning signs and symptoms can be helpful and this will happen only when the person is able to accept the condition and the symptoms. Greater the insight and understanding a person has about his or her condition, they will be able to track and pay attention to the warning signs in a much better manner.
- Have a routine:
Having a routine helps in accepting the condition in a better way. Having set timings for sleeping, having meals, exercising, medications and seeking support can facilitate the understanding of the condition in a better way and can help the person sail through even the most severe episodes.
Role of acceptance and commitment therapy:
Acceptance and commitment therapy can also be helpful in helping in the process of accepting your condition. It has been seen that acceptance and commitment therapy has worked as well in treating depression as the CBT. CBT helps a depressed person catch their self- sabotaging thoughts, ACT on the other hand helps them accept the occurrence of the thoughts by saying it loud or in the mind and accepting that the thoughts are there. It helps in reducing the shame when the person realises that the symptom is very much there.
Frequently Asked Questions:Accepting Your Depression
Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?
It is not possible to diagnose yourself with depression, as only a trained professional can do so. But certain screening tools and self-assessment tools can be used for analysing oneself.
Does depression affect your intelligence?
Depression can interrupt your ability to think. It can hamper your attention, memory and decision-making abilities. It may lead to executive functions operating in a limited manner, because of which a person can have trouble seeing their way through issues.
Does depression age the brain?
Research shows your brain physically ages faster when you’re depressed. New research of Yale University shows depression can physically change a person’s brain which means that an aging effect can leave a person more susceptible to illnesses associated with old age.
What does it mean to be prone to depression?
The stress caused by a death, major loss, or another life stressor can trigger an episode of depression in someone who already possesses the tendency towards this condition.
Can u inherit depression?
Depression is known to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to the development of this disease. However, research into the genetics of depression is in its early stages therefore very little is known about the exact proportion of genetic basis of the disease.
Today’s blog post focused on ‘accepting your depression’. We began the discussion with a brief understanding of depression. This was then followed by understanding whether it is possible to make depression do away. We next talked about acceptance as a way to control depression. We then took into account the ways in which accepting your depression can be helpful which was accompanied by ways to cultivate acceptance. Lastly we briefly talked about the role of acceptance and commitment therapy in dealing with depression.
I hope the blog post was able to provide an insight into the importance of accepting your depression. Please feel free to drop in your comments and queries below.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.