I hope you can use this as a way to get across to people in your life how depression feels if they have never truly experienced it. You have probably heard them say “snap out of it” or some version of “I’m sure you can feel better if you really put your mind to it”. But that’s not how depression works. It has its own voice and weight that stops you from moving forward out of it. There is no “simple” way as others might believe.
When depression speaks the voice tells you messages like:
- You are not good enough (You may even hate yourself or some traits that define your character).
- You are not lovable.
- Nothing in your life matters.
- You will never feel joy again.
These thoughts are frightening and often paralyzing. They can make it hard get out of bed, go to work, take care of the important people in your life, etc..
I wish there was an easy answer for combatting depression. But, it usually comes with baby steps. Be kind to yourself during this time difficult time. Can you give 50% at your job if you can’t give 100%? What about at home? Can you feel okay about being easy on yourself because of your depression? Wouldn’t you do that if you had a physical illness like pneumonia? It takes time to heal.
The Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) concept of Opposite Action, asks you to do the opposite of what you feel like doing when you are depressed. With depression, one might feel like curling up in a ball under the covers and crying in bed or withdrawing and not interacting with others. Using Opposite Action, what small action steps could you take to break free from those depression voices?
- Go make yourself a cup of tea or coffee
- Shower and get dressed
- Go to the grocery store
- Go to the library and look at a magazine
- Call a friend/ or family member or send them an email
- Call to make an appointment/go to an appointment
- Write something in a journal
- Go to a therapist and/or for medication management
Try to pick things that you like to do. Start out with things that seem manageable like making tea and work up to more difficult things, like meeting up with friends and going to work or exercising. If you choose medication to help with your depression, these steps can still help in your recovery.
REMEMBER, depression sends you messages to try STOP you from taking these steps that are good for you. SLOWLY, take these small steps to act in ways that make you feel better.
Once people around you understand better what you are going through, you can ask them to help you with these small steps.