How to Overcome Depression
Not many people know how to overcome depression, but depression can affect just about anyone. You can't sleep, or you sleep too much. You can't eat, or you eat too much. You're tired all the time, and your mind asks, "what's the point? It's all hopeless anyway." When you feel you've got more than just a normal case of the blues, it's hard to know how to overcome depression, but depression is a highly treatable condition. Here are some tips to show you how to overcome depression:
- Look at the cause. If you've just lost your job, said goodbye to a loved one or been forced to let go of a lifelong dream, you may feel disheartened for days or even weeks. Feeling sad isn't a bad thing; it's an appropriate reaction to sad circumstances. Don't wallow in it, but don't demand of yourself that you feel better immediately either. Talk to a friend, sort out your feelings in a journal and give yourself a little time to adjust and grieve.
- Do the next thing. Your view of your life can change dramatically from day to day, even though your life circumstances stay virtually the same. When you feel weighed down by the prospect of another day, sometimes it's enough just to do the next thing. For example, if you can't face another eight hours at your repetitive, boring job, just do the first thing you need to do—check your email or thumb through your inbox. Decide on the first task you need to complete, and do it. And then do the next thing. Chances are that you will begin to overcome your depression as you check off accomplishments on your list, but even if you still feel down for a while, you'll have met your obligations and kept functioning while you wait for things to improve.
- Take care of yourself. If you're struggling with depression, you may not feel inspired to keep up with the basics—housework, exercise or even personal hygiene. To overcome short-term depression, don't indulge this feeling. Even if you don't feel like it, get out of bed, get cleaned up and tidy up around you. Go through the motions. You will only feel worse if you gain weight, hate what you see in the mirror or are surrounded by disorder.
- Change your circumstances. If you find yourself depressed after being with a certain group of people or in a certain situation (like your job or romantic relationship), change your circumstances. Depression is deceptive—it will convince you that you can't change things, that trying will only make things worse. Depression drags against action, too. Even if you convince yourself that it's worth trying, you'll feel the drag of your depression sapping your energy and pulling you back. But you can change your life; people do it all the time. They quit using street drugs, end toxic relationships, find new friends, go back to school, or move to a better neighborhood. It's hard to do, and feels downright impossible when you're depressed. Decide to do it anyway, and you'll find that you've discovered how to overcome depression in the process.
Everyone goes through times when they're feeling depressed, whether they can point to a logical reason or not. But if your depression is keeping you from performing basic life tasks, lasts for more than a couple of months or is giving you feelings of wanting to harm or kill yourself, you need to ask for help. Your feelings are important, but you can't trust them to define your value as a person or your prospects for a better future. Your depression could stem from a simple, treatable medical problem like a virus or thyroid disorder, or you may have a chemical imbalance. Medications have dramatically improved or saved the lives of many people, but many people don't need medications; it's enough talk to professionals who can teach you how to overcome depression. Whether you can overcome depression on your own or you need to turn to professionals for help, don't give up until you succeed in turning your life into the full, joyful experience it was meant to be.