The first step in overcoming depression is recognizing that you are depressed. Some of the signs and symptoms of depression are insomnia, irritability, fatigue, decreased interest, a sense of hopelessness and despair. Depression can last a few weeks or several years. Depression can come and go and strike out of the blue, with no clear reason why. When depression strikes, there are some things you can do to limit the impact it has on your life.
Once you have identified that you are depressed, it is important to not feel ashamed. Most people experience at least one episode of depression in their lifetime. Experiencing depression doesn’t mean you are weak: it simply means you are human. Talking about what you are going through with a trusted friend or family member is important. Reducing the pressure to be “okay,” even though you are not, will free up valuable energy. Also, by talking with someone you can begin to explore what it is you need for support.
Having a least one ally in the work to overcome depression helps a great deal. Having a go-to person will allow you to explore your needs and symptoms. Examining symptoms is an important aspect of healing. Unpacking symptoms provides insights into what skills and tools will help you improve ability to function. When coping with depression, making good choices about how to spend precious energy is vital.
One of the more challenging aspects of overcoming depression is overcoming the combination of fatigue and hopelessness. Overcoming hopelessness requires energy, and overcoming fatigue requires hope. To help build hope and motivation, smalls victories are a must. When coping with depression, each day spent out of bed and moving through the world is a victory. Finding ways to chip away at the heaviness and pain caused by depression starts with owning the victory: you are still here and still fighting.
The decision to fight depression and take back your life starts the healing process. Small incremental changes accumulate to create big improvements. Doing what you can today to improve tomorrow helps to reaffirm that you are in charge of your life. Efficacy and agency are two very important tools to have when striving to overcome depression. Knowing that you can create positive changes in your life will help reignite the flames of hope. Knowing that today can be better than tomorrow is a vital part of creating motivation.
Overcoming depression is a lot like eating an elephant, but, instead of one bite at a time, it is one small improvement at a time. You can overcome big obstacles with small changes. By recognizing and acknowledging that you are depressed, you can start the process of getting your life back. You can have more good days than bad. You can be happy.
Kisstopher is an American psychologist who has been helping individuals, couples, and families have more good days than bad for over 20 years. In 2009, Kisstopher opened Adjustment Guidance, a mental health and wellbeing therapy practice located in Nagoya city, just 5 minutes from Ozone station. Kisstopher sees clients Tuesday through Saturday between 9am and 8pm.
All communications are confidential and your first appointment is free.
Memberships: American Psychological Association, Japanese Psychological Association, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan