You might have already looked at lots of web pages to see if you can figure out what you can do to help relieve your depression. It’s likely that by now, you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the possibilities. Certainly, you’re skeptical about some of the suggestions and generally unclear as to your way forward.
There are a couple of things that I’ve found useful. There are a variety of options, and it helps to know how some people navigate through these possibilities. It also helps to look at some of the latest developments that could benefit you.
Two Core Understandings
Not every remedy works for everyone. There is no surefire or certain cure for depression. Some things work for a group of people, and are ineffective for another. This means you’re probably going to have a go at a few things to reach the aim of getting rid of your depression.
Generally, it takes a combination of treatments to produce the desired results. We all have this thought that there must be one fantastic solution that is just right for us, and we keep looking. However, you will need a combination of things. This means you may well have discovered enough options already to help you. No need to keep looking.
The good news is that, it’s not like trying to crack a safe, where you have to guess the exact combination of treatments. It’s likely though that you’re going to have a go at a few things, and then build up a collection of interventions to get the solution you want.
Battling, Combating, Defeating Depression
When we think of diseases like malaria, viewing it as a battle can be a useful metaphor. We want to fight it back and win. This approach is carried across to depression treatments. Many of them talk about defeating and beating depression.
There is merit to some of these approaches; they broadly fall into 2 areas – Symptom reduction and the removal of the causes of depression.
When we talk about symptom reduction, it’s common to immediately think of antidepressants. This can either be a pharmaceutical drug or some natural remedy. For many with depression, these can be a significant component of their road to recovery.
When you’re feeling so low, so down and so under resourced, it can be difficult to move forward. Reducing some of the symptoms can give you the energy you need to get up and go to places that can help you. This allows you to make the necessary changes to not only recover from your depression, but also to reduce the likelihood of it recurring.
Tackling the causes of depression
Once again, for each of us, the causes of depression will be some unique combination. We can look at some of the general issues that can lead to depression.
Stress and lack of sleep can both mimic depression. They mimic it so well that it can eventually lead some people into depressed states. Dealing with both of these though can be quite stressful. If you do not have enough sleep, then trying to get an extra hour a day in bed may require quite significant lifestyle changes. Stress caused by families, work or other factors do mean that once again lifestyle changes may be needed. If you are in the middle of a serious depressive episode, then you may not be resourced to make these changes. This is where the symptom reduction mentioned previously is relevant.
For a few, what they eat can have an impact on depression. Too much coffee or alcohol can be a problem, for example. Some unfortunately have food allergies or intolerances. There are plenty of people here in Sheffield who can test you for this. Please note that even if you do find you have food intolerances or allergies, these may not be the cause of your depression.
Additionally, a few people are short on some vitamins, minerals or essential fats. If you suspect that this might be the case for you, then the simplest solution is to go buy a decent quality supplement, and then take it as a manufacturer describes. If you’re deficient, then within a month, you should start to feel some relief. This can be a lot cheaper and quicker than trying to get somebody to help you to figure this stuff out. If there are no changes, then it’s likely that this is not the case for you.
New Approaches And Understandings About Depression
Over the last 30 years, there has been tremendous progress towards understanding what can trigger depression in people, what can hold that depression in place, and even when somebody is recovered, where they can be vulnerable to relapse.
A simple summary would be mental habits. How we think, and the way we think about our thinking. The origin of this approach goes back to the idea that we must think positively. However, this can be very difficult to do when you’re low. It’s back to battling against our own thoughts. We can do it for a while. However, sustaining this head-on attack is tiring.
Along came a range of what are called cognitive therapies. It’s an approach that is focused on looking into the way you think. One of the best-known forms of cognitive therapy is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This form of therapy is available on the NHS. Certainly, some have benefited from this approach, however not all.
Over the recent years, a new range of approaches has come along, building on the work of CBT. There are generally 2 components of these new approaches; one is called ‘mindfulness’ and the other is about ‘living a value rich life’.
Mindfulness is really about being aware of what’s going on right now. Having this awareness can reduce your chances of getting stuck in your negative and dark thoughts. This is common in most people with depression. Developing mindfulness is a skill. And like any other skill, it takes time and practice to develop it.
As with any skill, you can develop it by yourself. There are plenty of materials available for free or low-cost today. If you want to move quickly and make sure that you’re more effective, there are groups or individual practitioners who can help you. The groups look out for mindfulness classes; especially the mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which is an eight-week intensive program that is specifically designed to help people with depression. Many practitioners use mindfulness with their clients, although some practitioners no longer use the term mindfulness. A common approach today is called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
A 2nd thread is a value rich life. People who live their lives in alignment with our values are much happier than those that don’t. Once again, you can do much to help yourself in this area. And yes, once again, working directly with the practitioner can help you more quickly progress towards living your life in alignment with your values. When working with somebody else, they can more quickly help you challenge limitations. They can give you specific actions to take, so you can move more quickly towards your desired life.
There are plenty of different things out there that can help you overcome your depression. There are various strategies and techniques.
It’s best to have a good go at a few things, to help you find the right way forward. It’s useful to combine a few approaches to get the full results you’re looking for.
For most people who are trying to overcome depression, finding a practitioner or a group to work with can be the quickest route forward.