Depression is one of those things that is, shall we say “mismanaged” in modern society. For the uninitiated, depression (and more specifically disordered depression) is a condition characterized by depressed mood, fluctuations in sleep and appetite, and reduced motivation to name the more common symptoms. There are others, of course. The most common course of treatment for depression is a daily regimen of antidepressants; medications that can act on either serotonine, norepinephrine, or dopamine receptors in the brain to counteract the symptoms.
But there’s a funny thing about depression, and by funny I mean not funny at all: It lies.
The Liar in Your Mind
What do I mean when I say depression lies? Well basically, I mean that it poisons your self-talk against you. Some of the most common non-medical treatments for depression are as follows:
- Healthy eating
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
- Consistent sleep hygiene
- Engaging in mentally stimulating activities
Depression tells you that these things aren’t worth doing. It tells you that you need to stay in bed and sleep, and that cooking is too much work. It tells you that the only thing that can help you escape is to get drunk or high. It tells you that no one wants to hear what’s going on in your mind. It tells you that antidepressants don’t work. All of these are lies. Depression wants to survive unimpeded in a sufficiently depressed mind.
Calling it Out
When I am working with clients for depression, I encourage them to call their depression out when it lies to them. When it says to stay in bed all day, say back “No, I need to stick to my schedule.” When it says you need to escape, say back “No, the only way out is through. I need to face this.” When it tell you that your meds don’t work, tell it that you will need to talk to your doctor before you take it’s advice.
Obviously this is a gross oversimplification. Just saying to yourself that you aren’t going to let your depression control you isn’t going to get rid of it. It can help to make it more manageable, however. I find that having these simple little tricks can be helpful in the thick of a depressive episode.
Of course, getting the benefits of this trick requires us to actually do it. And depression likes to tell us that it isn’t worth doing. Do it anyway. Remember that depression wants to preserve itself, and that its needs run counter to a healthy mind.
What are some of your tricks for managing depression? Leave a comment! And as always, like and share!
I have a feeling that I could write several articles about depression. I may just do it. Stay tuned and feel free to give me some feedback!