Coping with depression
Depression can really be a very lonely place to be. It can make us feel unmotivated, lose interest in things that we used to enjoy and struggle to cope with day to day tasks. Sometimes the very thoughts of doing things we once found to be the simplest of tasks can leave us feeling overwhelmed. People who are depressed often struggle to get out of bed in the day and to get to sleep at night. Most of the time we are left feeling like not doing anything because we just don’t have the energy. We often have feelings of sadness, stress, anxiety and it can be a dark and lonely place to be.
Having suffered with both depression and anxiety myself in the past can I remember that feeling that no one could understand how I was feeling. This can lead to us isolating ourselves from those around us. Taking the first steps can feel like a struggle because we are feeling so unmotivated. The very thoughts of being around family and friends can seem exhausting. Depression is a condition which affects our thinking, feelings and behavior. It also affects our energy. So how do we take the first steps to helping ourselves?
Taking the first steps can be hard because it means we have to take action. While we may feel like we don’t feel motivated to take the first step it doesn’t mean we can’t take that first step.
As a Psychotherapist I have worked with clients with both Depression and Anxiety and I would like to to share some tips which clients have said they found helpful between therapy sessions in their feedback. Things which everyone can begin to try even before they come to therapy.
6 Tips to coping with depression:
• Thoughts Patterns: We need to become more aware of our our thought patterns when we are depressed. We can tell ourselves negative things which impact our moods. We also may be thinking things which may not be accurate. When we are depressed we can tend to relate more to sad music and notice things which sad or negative on the news, TV, Facebook etc. This is known as cognitive biases. The world can feel like a truly hopeless place when we feel this way. When you feel this way I would suggest seeking the help and support of a Counsellor as this is something which can be worked with.
• Mindfulness Meditations: are particularly useful in helping to prevent a relapse into depression. Regular meditation can help us to calm our minds and steady our thoughts.
• Stay connected to others: Even if you feel like you don’t want to be around others it is good to try to stay touch with someone you trust who you can pick up the phone to.
• Exercise: Whilst we can really struggle to get out of bed when we are feeling depressed it can really help to draw on all our resources and make ourselves take a 30min brisk walk a day. Studies on the affect of exercise on depression have revealed that it has a positive effect on our mood as it releases good endorphin’s in our brains. These chemicals help to lift our mood.
• Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can make your depression worse having a negative impact on our mood this can feed into the cycle of depression. Drinking alcohol whilst on mediation for depression can be dangerous due to the fact that the medication and alcohol together can make if difficult to regulate our emotions. This can mean our brains are receiving conflicting messages. Always pay attention to warnings on medication.
• Eating a healthy balanced diet: We have all heard the expression that we are what we eat. If we are feeling depressed and reach for the chocolate or takeaway menu it only gives us that temporary feeling of having that void filled. Some of us have experienced that feeling of having the takeaways and junk food and then feeling worse afterwards. Then we can begin to beat ourselves up with our thoughts about having eaten that large pizza on our own. This can literally “feed” into how we think and feel about ourselves and leave us feeling worse. We might then notice a pattern emerging. Eating a healthy balanced diet has an impact on our bodies and mind and in turn this can help us to begin to feel a little better in ourselves. Instead try to eat regularly throughout the day and try to choose food which has less refined sugars.
Remember if you try something like exercising and don’t continue it then watch the negative thoughts that come into your mind and remember we can always try again. Take the dog for a walk, join a spin class or why not do something which use to be a pass time that you enjoyed. Let someone close to you that you trust know that you are struggling it is always good to have some support. If you feel your mood is getting worse contact a Therapist with experience in working with people with depression. Depression can lift far quicker with the support of therapy.
Counselling offers a safe space and uses strategies which research has shown to be effective in lifting depression. When we begin to explore and identify the role that our thoughts play on increasing our levels of depression then we can begin to work with techniques to help to change our prospective and thoughts. Taking the first step can be difficult but it is not impossible. We are always happy to help if you would like to pick up the phone and give me a call. Sometimes having the safe therapeutic space were you can connect and feel heard is enough to begin to bring about change.
People begin to heal when they feel heard.
Phone: 085 106 9066