How did you overcome depression?

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In this blog we will discuss some of the ways in which one can overcome depression. 

How did you overcome depression?

Some of the best ways one can overcome depression includes:

  • Educate yourself about your condition
  • Learn and apply coping skills
  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Sleep well
  • Connect with loved ones
  • Reduce stress
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Seek professional help

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a leading publication used for diagnosis of mental disorders by mental health professionals, Major depressive disorder or depression is a serious mood disorder.

Depression symptoms also include extremely low mood and fatigue and is often accompanied by thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness which can lead to suicidal ideation and even attempts. 

Depression related symptoms such as inability to focus, lack of energy, and hopelessness can impact a person’s ability to work and meet the demands of their daily lives. 

People with depression often struggle with low self esteem and self worth which can cause them to negatively assess themselves. They may fear rejection and abandonment from other people which may cause them to isolate themselves in a bid to protect themselves.

This social withdrawal can make it difficult for them to maintain social commitments and relationships as they might choose to push people away especially when they do not have the skills to communicate and manage their emotions and thoughts. 

While these are some of the ways depression impacts a person, the disorder itself can cause the quality of life of people who have it to drastically decrease and in extreme cases, if the disorder is left untreated, it can lead to suicide attempts and death. 

Due to the severity of depression, it is important that one learns how to cope and manage depression:

Educate yourself about your condition

It is very important that you educate yourself about your condition. Your doctor or psychiatrist might give you some materials however, it is also important that you do some independent study on your own too. 

You can consider reading materials online or talking to your therapist in more depth as well as joining seminars and group meetings to learn about the disorder as well as the various things that you can do to manage depression. 

Learn and apply coping skills

If you are depressed, you can learn coping skills and techniques and apply them at least once a day when experiencing depression. 

This can be learning how to tackle your anxieties and negative moods by regulating your breathing and engaging in deep breathing techniques. 

You can also try grounding techniques to help you cope with spiralling down a negative rumination. Make goals for each day and let your goals be small, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound, 

Make plans for your day that suit your pace- if today is especially difficult, make a step by step plan from your bed to the bathroom in the mornings. Reward yourself when you succeed and be kind when you slip up. Remind yourself that you are learning. 

Exercise

Engaging in exercise, even if it is only a 15 minute stretch can be a wonderful step towards loving yourself and caring for yourself. 

You can opt for joining the gym however, if this is too much you can consider yoga or pilates that you can start gradually; you can also go for walks or runs alone or with your loved ones. 

Getting out of your house and doing something that allows you to get your blood pumping in itself can be a great way of self care. 

Eat a healthy diet

Diet is an important aspect of overall health and is an important component of maintaining a positive state of mental health. 

There has been plenty of research studies that have been linked to what we eat and higher risks of depression. Research finds that well balanced meals with adequate intake of vegetables, fruits, grain, and healthy fats are related to lower risks of depression.

Sleep well

Take time to improve your sleep hygiene. Research has found that sleep disorders are also a core symptom of depression. Irregular sleep and not enough sleep can make your healing process difficult and can even heighten the risk of relapse. 

Some of the things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene are

  • Avoid substances that impact your sleep, this includes caffeine. 
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid heavy dinners
  • Change your sleeping environment to be more soothing and sleep inducing. 
  • Make changes in your pre-sleep routine such as taking relaxing baths before sleep, avoiding gadgets two hours before sleeping time.

Connect with loved ones

Reaching out to people who love you and letting them know that you are having a hard time now, can bring you closer to people who truly love and care for you.

These are positive relationships we want and need around you as you begin your journey to recovery. Positive relationships help you discover joys and meaning to your life. 

Make plans to meet them for lunch, or go for a walk with them. Make sure you make clear what you can and cannot do and agree on something that both you and them can enjoy. 

You can also take the step to connect with other people who are coping with depression through group therapy or support groups.

Oftentimes, listening to other people’s successes can instil hope, it also gives you the opportunity to learn new perspectives of living and life along with new techniques to cope. 

Reduce stress

If it’s a job that is causing you immense stress, maybe it is time to consider taking a leave of absence. Or it could be your own family environment that is causing your symptoms to flare up- consider moving out if your financial situation persists. 

The intent here is to reduce or remove the things in your life that add stress. If it is a certain relationship, taking the time to set boundaries or communicate that you are taking time out can be one way. 

By reducing stressors, the thought of waking up and facing your day may seem a little less daunting, you might even look forward to it. 

Practice mindfulness

If you’re feeling motivated enough to try, the act of doing yoga itself may help to reduce your stress and improve your mood. Overall, we know that exercise releases endorphins which leads to reductions in depression.

If you are interested in trying mindfulness meditation, then you will want to find a meditation that focuses on depression. Mindfulness is the practice and state of being in the present and being mindful of what you dwell on and how you react to it. 

Mindfulness is an excellent way to develop awareness and consciously take positive and healthy steps to cope. 

Seek professional help

If you have not been diagnosed, do not stick to self diagnosis based on your symptoms. Seek out professional consultations starting with your GP who can refer you to specialists in the field. 

Be patient and take the time to consult with different doctors and professionals who are able to understand what you are going through.

There may be different medications- some which might work for you while others that might not help you. 

Taking time to find a doctor who can help you with estimating the right dosage of medication and the right medical treatment can make the quality of your journey to recovery drastically different. 

It is also important to note that combining therapy and medication can be more effective than either methods alone. 

Psychotherapy itself has many facets to it. There are different practices which make use of different theories about mental health and illnesses. 

Each professional can differ in their way of working with their clients. Find one that suits your own pace.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed some of the ways in which one can overcome depression. 

FAQ related to how did you overcome depression

How do you overcome the impact of depression?

One of the best ways you can cope and deal with the impact of depression is to engage in self care. Some other ways include:

  • Get the Right kind of help
  • Be Kind to yourself
  • Reduce what stresses you out
  • Get good sleep
  • Care for your body
  • Do something fun
  • Connect with people
  • Set SMART goals

What is the most effective way to treat depression?

It is important to note that combining therapy and medication can be more effective than either methods alone. 

Taking time to find a doctor who can help you with estimating the right dosage of medication and the right medical treatment can make the quality of your journey to recovery drastically different. 

Psychotherapy itself has many facets to it. There are different practices which make use of different theories about mental health and illnesses. 

Is it possible to completely cure depression?

No, it is not possible to completely cure depression and there is no sure cure for depression. 

However, depression can be treated and one can work to cope with the impact of depression on an individual’s life. 

How long is too long to be depressed?

One cannot say how long is too long to be depressed because some people struggle with it for a few years whereas other struggle with it for years. Some people can also struggle with depression episodes that recur throughout their whole lives. 

Is depression a lifelong condition?

Yes for people who have Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia, depression can be life long marked with depressive episodes lasting for years. 

Does stress cause depression?

Yes, stress is a major cause of depression and reducing  the things in your life that add stress. If it is a certain relationship, taking the time to set boundaries or communicate that you are taking time out can be one way to cope with depression.

References

Bryan Bushman. 7 Ways to Overcome Depression Without Medication. Intermountain Healthcare. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2017/05/7-ways-to-overcome-depression-without-medication/

Holland.K. What You Need to Know If Your Depression Feels Debilitating. Healthline. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/crippling-depression#causes

Leonard.J. How to cope with a depressive episode. Medical news today.  Retrieved on 24th April 2022.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322495

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