Steps for coping with depression
My heart truly aches for anyone who experiences depression, I think it even skips a beat when I think about someone encountering such an insidious and isolating disorder.
Anyone who experiences depression and lives daily with the heavy black cloud following their every move really is a hero in my eyes.
I really don’t believe that there is one fix for anybody’s depression but I have put some thoughts below on areas that may help...
Exercise - I honestly know it is probably the last thing somebody wants to do, especially when they don't feel like getting up in the morning … but even a 5 minute walk around the block is fantastic :) it's so true that exercise really can make such a positive difference to our mood.
Planning to do a small walk and letting someone know you’re going to do it can sometimes help, as psychologically when we tell somebody we are doing something, we are more likely to try it.
Seeing a GP - If you are thinking about going to speak to a GP then that really is an amazing step!!!
Talking about our emotions is one of the toughest things in the world, especially when it’s to a stranger or medical practitioners (who we are looking for some type of answers from).
How can you help me? How can I get this pain to go away? Will I ever stop suffering? These are just some of the many things that can go through somebody’s mind.
I always think it’s good to write down symptoms/ feelings being experienced which can be taken in note-form to the GP. This can be passed to the GP so that those emotions don’t have to always be necessarily raked up in the appointment. Some GP's are fantastic but some are not so much and it is evident that their experience around mental health and psychiatric disorders is not on par with physical illnesses and sadly the same level of compassion is not always displayed.
The GP will generally prescribe antidepressants which aren’t for everyone but may help to reduce symptoms of emotional distress. I personally think medication is more likely to work when combined with some type of talking therapy…which I’ll mention more about below.
A support service on offer in the UK is the outstanding Health in Mind which offer a range of amazing talking therapies.
Individuals can be referred through the GP or a self-referral can be made at this link https://www.healthinmind.org.uk/
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - One of those therapies is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which is usually a 10-12 week course (1 session a week) and is AMAZING for re-evaluating thought processes and challenging the negative thoughts that we encounter.
Counselling – I am a massive advocate for counselling for everyone. I think being able to speak to someone who is not part of your immediate-world and is detached from everything you are expressing is fantastic! Sessions on the NHS are usually a 12 week wait or thereabouts. There are also private counsellors available and some offer lower rates. Here is the counselling directory http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk
Re-framing is sometimes used as part of counselling and it basically re-frames our ideologies from how we perceive things to be, which usually if we are distressed is in a very negative way.
Ted Talks - There are a few about depression which are amazing and really demonstrate that others have experienced really really low times and honestly get better :) although I know it doesn't feel like that when you're in the grips of depression.
Samaritans - Understandably a lot of people don't wish to call the Samaritans but they are amazingly-equipped to talk about anything and everything and also offer an email service email@example.com - which sometimes can feel easier to do.
Things to avoid -
- Alcohol / Drugs - As we know these heighten depression and our emotions in general.
- Being alone - Our minds are scary anyway, more so when we are on our own.
- Anyone who says "it could be worse" - right now it's most likely the worse thing ever :(
- “Should” – Life changes as soon as this word is removed from our internal dictionary. Life is not about shoulds, it is about what makes us happy :)
The main message is ... it really does get better :) and happiness WILL be felt again.
x Rebecca x