Depression. How To Overcome It Quickly?
First, let’s look at depression. And before we begin, let me stipulate that I am referring to the type of depression that’s nonmedical. Depression should always be evaluated by a mental health professional, since when it is medical in nature it may not respond to the type of strategies I present in this chapter, which speaks to reactive depression. This is the type of depression that’s triggered by external events and/or your view of them as well as your own self-perception.
It’s been said that anger and depression are bookends, that is, different expressions of the same emotion. Anger is expressed differently, of course, because its focus is generally outward when things aren’t going right or when someone doesn’t treat you well. With anger, you focus the blame outward, toward the other person or thing, or the world in general. Depression, on the other hand, is expressed inwardly. When you’re depressed, you often down yourself by saying, “I should have done better than I did,” or “I must succeed in order to be worthwhile.”
Anger is an overreaction to frustration, annoyance, or inconvenience caused by something outside of yourself. Depression is generally an overreaction to sadness, grief, regret, or disappointment, and it is accompanied by a self-demand that your performance in a certain area of your life far exceed what it has been. Sadness may be appropriate for people who have experienced loss, but depression usually concerns your inability to bring the lost person or job, for instance, back.
Anger and depression both have one very important thing in common: they are either caused by or greatly enhanced by your own tendency to demand what you do not or cannot have, either from yourself or from others. Depression is often a feeling of hopelessness—feeling stuck in a situation that you tell yourself you would not choose and cannot change. Doesn’t this sound like a trap? Well, it certainly is quite common. In fact, all of us at one time or another, to one degree or another, have experienced it.
Depression is often connected with isolation. Many people who are in transition, such as those who are getting out of a relationship, feel depressed and hopeless while going through the grieving process. Perhaps you have built walls to prevent others from getting close to you as a result of being depressed. If that’s the case, the good news is that you can tear those walls down.
Depression can manifest itself in many ways. While there are frequently complaints of sadness, a low mood, or melancholia, these are not inevitable. For some people, depression is merely a loss of energy, motivation, or drive, or an inability to derive pleasure from those things that are normally satisfying.
Fatigue, loneliness, the inability to relax, poor concentration, difficulties with work, disturbances of appetite, and the loss of sexual desire are frequently signs of depression. Sleep disturbances are particularly common. For some people, the symptoms of depression are merely physical. Headaches and related symptoms may be masking an underlying depression, and indeed the causes can be either physical or psychological.
Internally caused depression is called endogenous depression, and it is primarily due to a chemical imbalance. As previously noted, endogenous depression generally does not respond solely to psychotherapy or to changing your attitude; it needs to be evaluated and treated medically, with antidepressants. This cannot be overstated! Once the chemical balance is restored, the antidepressants can often be discontinued.
The success rate for treating endogenous depression is quite high, and I urge you to get an immediate evaluation if you think this might be the case for you. However, the kind of depression that I’m going to emphasize here is depression that is reactive, or related to life events. That is, you’re reacting or overreacting to something that’s occurred outside of you, or you’re reacting to your own thinking about yourself or external events.
Just as anger has been correlated to ulcers and heart disease, depression has been correlated to cancer as well as to many other illnesses. Another reason it’s appropriate to talk about anger and depression together is that depression is often anger turned inward. This can both result in and be a result of a great deal of self-downing. The first step in changing your attitudes that underlie depression is to identify the demands that you’re making on yourself that you cannot possibly fulfill.
Are you down on yourself because you think you should have accomplished more? Are you blaming yourself over a loss, either a recent one or one that took place long ago? Have you somehow found yourself becoming isolated, with few people or no one to rely on for support? Sometimes you simply need to let go of a disappointment and/or stop defining yourself as incompetent. This attitude turns your depression into a vicious circle.
Many people find that when they’re depressed, they reach out to others for support. But well-meaning friends and relatives tend to give them that lethal thing we call sympathy instead of much-needed empathy. Except during the most acute stages of grieving, sympathy usually does more harm than good, because when people sympathize, they can be unwittingly telling you that it’s right for you to be defining the situation as awful. This can add fuel to the fire.
Empathy, on the other hand, is where the other person will help you to reason the situation out and talk it through without negating your feelings. This kind of empathy can also be extremely important with anger. Reasoning the situation out and expressing your emotions in a safe way is a good way to get relief.
Remember, it’s depression that makes sadness, grief, regret, and disappointment last, because depression has a much more lasting quality about it than do other moods. In fact it’s worth mentioning that moods are transient. Think about the last time you felt intense joy. Although you would have loved it to, it certainly didn’t last. Well, the same is true with negative emotions. If you let them go—something we’ll discuss a little later on—they will.
Strategies to Defeat Depression
Another way to get relief from depression includes getting exercise. The opposite of depression is expression. Often your depression makes you feel unmotivated to do the very things that will help you to break out of it, but at those times, it’s essential to push hard against that lack of motivation. Your attitude here can make or break you.
If possible, try to see some humor in the situation that you’re depressed about. If you can do that, then you’re 90 percent of the way there. There’s a light aspect of practically any situation, no matter how dire it is. Remember, this is done in the privacy of your own mind. Don’t burden yourself with how others would feel about your effort to look for humor. Do something nice for yourself.
Maybe treat yourself to something you enjoy, a positive diversion, whatever turns you on, whether that means going shopping or listening to some of your favorite music. Some people find relief by accomplishing chores they would rather not do when they’re feeling good. As someone recently told me, “When I’m feeling good, that’s the time when I want to go fishing, not pay the bills. When I’m feeling down, then I’m not really open to enjoying fun things.”
When you’re in a rotten mood, reach out to that person who always seems to talk to you when he or she is in a bad mood. See if you can express your feelings with the help of someone who makes the atmosphere safe for you. Understand that you’re merely ventilating, and when you ventilate safely, you’re just letting out some steam. This canhelp to break up a negative mood, and again, it’s your attitude that will give you permission to do this.
Taking a walk or a ride or just changing your environment for a short period of time can often help. Do something to restore order in your life. Clean up; rearrange some furniture, your office drawers, or your wallet. Sometimes creating order out of chaos is what you need to change a negative mood. The fact is you know what you enjoy: you know what helps you to lift your mood.
Make a list of those things and keep it handy as an emergency checklist. Refer to it whenever you need to. The most important thing about turning depression around is to give up on demands that you put on yourself but can’t possibly live up to. Depression is often a reaction to hindsight. If you catch yourself telling yourself what you should have done, remember, that’s not an option, and the faster you give it up, the faster that depression will dissipate.
Positive Attitude Training
How to Be an Unshakable Optimist
Michael S. Broder, Ph.D.
Read more hereA Four-Inch-Long Penis Is More Than Adequate