How do you find your passion when you are depressed? (A 7 step guide)

In this brief blog, we are going to explore different ways an individual can find passion in his/ her life in respect to what they do even when battling with depression. 

how to find your passion when you are depressed?

People with depression are in a state of No Ambition and find it difficult to find motivation. It is possible to regain a sense of passion in what you do even when depression clouds your thoughts and overall energy. This can be achieved by:

  • Engaging in something that sparks your inner child
  • Engaging in something that gives you a sense of hope  and purpose
  • Engaging in something you can never get bored of
  • Engaging in something that you feel is connected to your legacy
  • Engaging in something that comes naturally to you
  • Engaging in something that makes you feel confident as well as happy.
  • Practising positive visualisation

How does passion and purpose add value in an individual’s life?

In simple terms purpose is what gives an individual meaning and value in life. A life with a purpose gives an individual something to work on every day and thus adds meaning to the person’s life.

When an individual finds passion in their life, it energises and motivates them. It drives them to be the best version of themselves and be better every day.

 passion and purpose are inter- connected. If an individual finds a higher purpose or a calling then that purpose gives them passion or if an individual finds something that they are passionate about, for instance, singing then the passion fuels the purpose in the person’s life. Some key aspects in which passion and purpose can help drive an individual include:

  • ABILITY TO OVERCOME OBSTACLES: If an individual is driven enough then he/she will find the strength within themselves to overcome any obstacles as they would be motivated enough not to stop until they have cleared the obstacle. 
  • ABILITY TO FIND SOLUTION TO ANY PROBLEMS: Passion and purpose fuels the individual to think of creative solutions to a problem, thus helping them to overcome them.
  • INCREASED RESILIENCE: Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges and obstacles and bounce back from any set -backs.

 A person who is driven by passion with a sense of purpose will have a higher sense of Resilience than most as they are motivated, love what they do and find meaning in what they do. This mentality doesn’t allow them to wallow in the setbacks or challenges for long.

  • ABILITY TO NOT DWELL ON FEELINGS OF ANGER, FRUSTRATION AND DISAPPOINTMENTS: A person who is driven by passion and purpose are usually motivated on what’s next or what can they do next. Given that they love what they do, they usually have a better ability to overcome feelings that don’t serve them like anger, frustration and disappointments.
  • ABILITY TO EXPLORE BEYOND OUR COMFORT ZONES AND TRY NEW THINGS: An individual driven by passion do not stick to their comfort zones and are open minded to find out more ways to approach a situation or problem. This gives them the courage to come out of their comfort zones.

Depression: how can we recognise depression from just sadness and boredom?

Depression or Major Depressive disorder is a mental health condition that impairs the psychological wellbeing in an individual’s life. There is a common misconception that depression is a condition of extreme sadness.  They are overburdened with feelings of extreme sadness or may be devoid of emotions and may just feel empty. 

While sadness is one of the traits of depression, it is not the only characteristics associated with the disorder, depression is also characterised by lack of emotion or numbness, lack of energy and an overall sense of defeat in life. Depression results in chemical changes in the brain due to lack of neuro-transmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine which results in lack of pleasure and energy. 

Depression DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria

The DSM-5(Diagnostic Statistical Manual) outlines the following criteria to make the diagnosis of disorder to be categorised as depression. The individual must be experiencing five or more the following symptoms for a period of two weeks or more with a sense of either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.

  • A sense of persistent depressed mood throughout the day, almost every day.
  • Drastic decline in pleasure in every or almost every activity most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Loss of appetite and Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • A sense of lathery or lack in energy marked by decline in physical movement (which may or may not necessarily be observable by others,).
  • Recurring Feelings or thoughts of worthlessness or uselessness 
  • A sense of excessive guilt nearly every day for no particular reason.
  • Lack of focus and decline in ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, almost every day.
  • Suicidal thoughts or recurring feelings of ‘It won’t matter’ or ‘everyone is better off without me’ even marked by failed attempts. What makes depression so difficult is that the individual has no will or drive left in him/her. They may face thoughts like ‘nothing matters anymore’ or ‘what is the point of it’.

Is it possible to find passion when you are depressed?

A person fighting depression lacks the energy to carry on with the usual activities. They experience recurring negative thoughts and  find themselves stuck in a loop of negative thoughts and feelings which involves questioning self worth and  questioning the point of anything that they do. 

In such instances, Is it really possible to find passion when you are battling with depression?.

The answer to that question is yes and this can be achieved by:

Engaging in something that sparks your inner child

One of the most crucial ways to find passion when you are depressed is engaging in something that sparks your inner child.

Engaging in something that sparks your inner child means doing something that is connected to something you loved doing as a child or doing something that sparks that childly wonder.

When we children, we only think about doing things that we would love to do or see ourselves doing. 

This changes overtime and by the time we are adults, we often compromise and find jobs that get us by in order to pay our bills, fulfill our responsibility, external pressure from other people or inability to chase after your actual dream as it seems far fetched.

For example, where i come from, it is predestined in the minds of most parents that their son/daughter will one day become an engineer and earn lots of money. This leads to many finishing an engineering degree while going to different career paths soon after.

If we are engaged in something that sparks our inner child, that means that we are committed to something simply for the sheer joy of it. For instance, if someone used to love puzzles growing up and retains that interest and later gets into code, he/ she would be doing something primarily  out of passion. 

Engaging in something that brings out your inner child pinches your curiosity, peaks your interests and makes you happy while doing it.

Even if you are fighting with depression, engaging in something that sparks your inner child can help you go back to a safer place and help you find a safe haven and find a temporary escape. 

This gives something to look forward to and gives the extra push to get up in the morning, knowing that there is some aspect in your life that you would still enjoy somewhere or at least still make sense.

Furthermore, it won’t take too long to find the passion for it because it was already there.

Engaging in something that gives you a sense of hope  and purpose

Another crucial way to find your passion when you are depressed is by engaging in something that gives you a sense of hope and purpose. When an individual is battling depression, two aspects that become difficult to find in his/her life are hope and purpose. 

Engaging in something that gives you a sense of hope in what you do means that you are engaged in something that is self-therapeutic in nature. Engaging in something that gives you a sense of hope will also in turn give a sense of purpose.

This in turn will drive the individual not  to give up, give a sense of direction and stay motivated to accomplish something instead of doing something for the sake of doing it. This in turn helps inculcate passion in the process.

Engaging in something that you can never get bored of

One of the most simple ways to find passion when you are depressed is to  be involved in something that you can never get bored of. 

 When an individual is depressed, he/she lacks the energy and interest to do anything. Even something as simple as eating lunch might seem tedious to him/her. 

When you are doing something that you can never get bored of, then even without your awareness, you are positively reaffirming yourself as you approach the task or job with interest.

  • Engaging in something that doesn’t feel like work

One way to accomplish never getting bored with your job is to find something that doesn’t feel like work in the first place.

 One example of this could be something as simple as running an animal shelter if you are a keen animal lover and prefer interacting with animals more than humans.

Engaging in something that you feel is connected to your legacy

 One of the most certain methods that will help you find passion even when you are depressed is to be involved with something that is connected to what you want your legacy to be.

This is one of the most difficult things to accomplish but is sure to help an individual battle through depression as the individual would feel connected to a higher purpose and mission. 

He/she may still face negative thoughts but would find resilience to get over them. An individual who knows what legacy he/she wants to leave behind is always driven towards accomplishing that. 

This need not be something extremely complicated or revolutionary. This can be as simple as imparting knowledge or being a youth mentor  or even being a successful parent to your child. 

Even if this may not seem like it, it can go a long way that leads to positive changes in both your own as well as others whom you may impact.

  • Engaging in something that makes you feel that it’s bigger than yourself

One way to accomplish finding your legacy is to ask yourself what is bigger than you. This also helps you find the passion you need when you are depressed.

 Let’s say you have had a difficult childhood growing up and you would want to help anyone who is currently in the situation you once were. 

Coming back to the examples mentioned earlier, you may feel passionate about being a youth mentor and help young teens or children in similar situations or be driven to be the best parent you can be to your own child.

Engaging in something that comes naturally to you

Another way to find passion when you are depressed is to engage in something that you feel comes naturally to you For instance, you may be very easily able to articulate yourself so jobs where you can articulate yourself such as being a lawyer, motivational speaker or writer may be very natural for you.

If something comes natural to you, then you are less likely to second guess yourself. 

Engaging in something that makes you feel confident as as well as happy

A very important way to find your passion even when you are depressed is to find your element. This means finding something you feel confident as well as happy doing it. 

For example, you may like expressing yourself through art and you know that you are a good artist. So being preoccupied with your art will serve a higher purpose than just being a hobby.

Practising Positive visualisation 

This is very helpful in retaining passion when you are depressed even if it doesn’t serve too big a role in finding it. 

Positive visualisation helps an individual visualise his/her life after they successfully come out of depression. It helps visualise how his/her life would look like, what he/she sees herself doing, how each aspect of life would be like. This in turn helps gain clarity as it separated the ‘depression’ from the ‘individual fighting with depression’.

Once an individual gains this clarity, he/she will be more motivated to find the hunger for the drive and passion in life.

How does passion and purpose help a person recover from depression?

  • It can help instill a sense of hope: when an individual is going through depression, they usually experience a sense of hopelessness and may question what matters. If they have a sense of passion towards something and have a sense of purpose, then they will have an answer to that question.
  • It helps them be mindful /stay in the present : A sense of passion and purpose reminds an individual why they should wake up in the morning. Passion retains a sense of interest in what he/she does, enabling an individual to stay in the present at least for a period of time. This in turn acts as a form of mindfulness.
  • Increased resilience helps an individual cope with  negative reoccurring thoughts: A resilient person is someone who can look beyond challenges and difficulties. If an individual who is going through depression is able to stay resilient, then they are able to acknowledge that there is a future beyond their depression. Their passion and purpose can help them reach that future. 
  • Staying passionate about a particular goal helps an individual stay positive and not dwell on negative recurring thoughts

CONCLUSION

 In this brief blog we explored seven ways to find passion when you are depressed. This blog was aimed to help the reader find useful suggestions especially if they suspect that they could be or have been depressed. 

In such cases, know that all is not lost and it is possible to find the more optimistic version of you with a little work. Please feel free to leave your feedback or share your experiences in the comment section.

FAQs: How to find your passion when you are depressed.

Can you help someone with depression?

Absolutely. With the right help under  trained professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists as well as support from other sources like support groups as well friends and family, one can easily recover from depression.

Is exercise good for depression?

Yes. Exercise is a natural form of releasing serotonin to the brain. If a person who is facing depression regularly exercises, then he/she may not require heavy doses of serotonin reuptake drugs. 

What does it mean to recover from depression?

It means that you are beginning to feel the symptoms and depressive episodes less and less until you don’t feel them anymore one day which is possible.

What is the difference between passion and purpose?

Passion is the driving fuel that makes an individual love what he/she does and energises them to keep at it while purpose is what gives meaning to an individual’s life and something to focus on.

How does passion lead to purpose?

If an individual loves what he or she does, is highly skilled at it and enjoys doing that, then he/she can make that passion a career or a goal which in turn becomes a purpose. 

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

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.

REFERENCES

https://www.psycom.net/depression-definition-dsm-5-diagnostic-criteria/

https://jessicadw.com/blog/find-your-passion

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