A recent report from the World Health Organization indicates that depression directly affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide. It can be deeply debilitating, influencing everything from self-esteem and motivation to physical well-being and the capacity for enjoyment.
However, you don’t have to cope with depression alone or live with feeling misunderstood—read on for a little reassurance, empathy, and inspiration to help you cope with this difficult time in your life.
People who haven’t dealt with depression sometimes find it hard to understand what it’s actually like to be depressed on a daily basis. In truth, it can feel like being trapped inside a prison in your own mind, or like an endlessly dark day.
Unable to see that, some people in your life will view depression as fully defined by your symptoms—but often, your symptoms really won’t be that obvious. Depression often lurks in the background, causing long-term emotional and cognitive damage that can’t easily be detected unless you talk about it.
It’s likely that part of you yearns to talk to someone in that way because you want to be heard and understood.
However, it’s tough to find the right words, and tougher to feel safe enough to use them.
You may also just want to run away and avoid confronting anything about your depression head-on—anything to avoid this sinking, aching feeling in your chest.
Some days, you might not want to get out of bed ever again.
Try to remember that you don’t have to fight tooth and nail against your feelings every day—sometimes, you just need to give yourself a break for a few hours (or a couple days) in order to recharge.
Trust that you know what you need, and don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards of perfection.
If you’re suffering from depression right now or you’ve experienced the pain of depression in the past, please don’t give up.
There is someone out there who will open their heart to you, hear your sadness, understand your struggle and help to support you as you get back on your feet.
If you remind yourself that it’s possible to recover, then you can eventually start to feel better again. You have the commitment, dedication and resilience required—it’s just obscured by depression.
It’s helpful to think of depression as more of an unwelcome visitor than an intrinsic part of your identity—it’s not who you are.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to admit that you need help just now. It’s not an easy step, but it’s a vital one—and there’s no shame in being unable to deal with depression. We weren’t made to live a solitary existence, and all of us need the support of people willing to walk through life with us.
Try to forget about the expectations of others for a minute, and just focus on you—the person in the mirror. When depressing is causing endless negative thoughts, take a step inside your mind and the critical messages you can hear in your head.
While depression has many causes (some purely physical, some more emotional, and some a combination of both), it often develops because the connection to your true self has been lost in some way.
For example, perhaps you’ve lost touch with your inner voice—the playful, childlike part of you that fuels authentic self-expression. Society often asks us to wear masks to get by, but that pure and uninhibited voice inside your head is there to be listened to whenever you feel down. This is the voice that will help you tackle the monster of depression and empower you to succeed. A good place to start is to condition your mind with positivity using affirmations for success.
You can better tune into this aspect of yourself by doing things that help you connect with the present moment—breathe, notice what is beautiful around you, seek out things that stimulate the senses, and remind you that life is worth living.
Your true inner voice will be your ally when you try to live in the moment. All of the good things in the world are still there when you’re depressed—it’s just that much harder to see them.
There’s no doubt that depression can seem vast—even endless—and that it can make life feel lonely and bleak. However, if you can zoom out and see the whole picture more clearly, you’ll be more capable of reconnecting with your own value and the real nature of your story.
Depression isn’t your life, or your legacy—it’s just a part of what you’re experiencing during your time on this earth. It’s not all you are, it’s not all you offer, and it’s not the end of your development.
You are a beautiful, limitless work in progress, and you deserve to love yourself.
An array of medical approaches can treat depression, but there are also things that you can start doing to help yourself.
It may feel like nothing will help, but this is only a feeling. The truth is that there are ways to lift your mood.
But it's important to take action. Depression doesn't just go away on its own.
In addition to getting professional help, here are 10 ways to feel better when you are dealing with depression.
Depression often ruins the whole structure of normal life, so psychiatrists recommend that people who suffer from this illness set a gently daily routine to stay on track. You may find it easier to start with setting an evening routine. And then adding a morning one to it.
It is important to add physical activity to your daily routine. Research has shown that exercise produces endorphins that give our mood a boost. Even a 20-minute walk can make a difference.
People who are depressed usually feel like they can't and don't want to achieve anything. Obviously, that kind of attitude only makes things worse. So you need to push yourself a little bit every day by setting life goals. Just make sure that these goals are clear and achievable.
This will come easier once you've created a daily routine for yourself. For now, just try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends).
Although no single nutrient can cure depression, an overall healthy diet can lessen the symptoms and lower the risk of further physical health problems.
This can be so difficult when you are depressed. Start with adding positive affirmations and writing in a gratitude journal to your daily routine. For example, you can spend 2 minutes in the morning saying out loud that you are going to feel better today and have a good day, and then take 5 minutes before going to bed to write down a few things that went well today and what you are grateful for.
As well as forcing more positive thoughts into your mind, you need to notice and stop the negative ones. It takes practice, but you can take control of your own thoughts. If you find that you are struggling with this, at least try to not say them out loud. Yes, talking to someone about your problems can help, but make sure you aren't just repeating the same negative things over and over again unnecessarily.
Depression can feel like (or be caused by) being “stuck” in life. And although you may not want to get out of your comfort zone, you really need to push yourself to do new things to get out of the rut. Choose something small and easy. Like going to a new place for dinner or take up a new hobby.
Many people struggle to find time to take care of themselves. This makes depression even worse. You need to take care of yourself and do things that make you feel a little bit happier. And it's not a one-time deal, you need to implement tiny self-care habits into your daily routine. Regularly include a little bit of love and attention to your body and mind into your life.
Yes, the key word is try. Keep trying, don't give up. Even if something doesn't feel like fun, it doesn't mean that nothing ever will. You'll see, you will start enjoying life again.