Crippling depression is often compared to treading water in a storm in the middle of the ocean. Both situations feel hopeless, and both are a fight for one’s life. Several mechanisms for coping exist for individuals suffering from daily, chronic depression. These strategies target symptoms, such as isolation, impaired eating and sleeping habits, lack of motivation, feelings of helplessness, and low self-worth. When feeling unmotivated and discouraged, it is important to refrain from setting unrealistic expectations. Thus, starting small and working towards larger victories is key, as slow and steady is the only way to win this race.
Get Professional Help
First and foremost, it is strongly recommended to seek guidance and support from a mental health professional. A professional can assist you in processing the origin of your depression along with providing clinical interventions for symptom management. If you are open to the idea, a professional counselor may also assist you in setting up a psychiatric evaluation to see if you might be a candidate for psychotropic medication. Counseling and psychiatric services can occur face-to-face, as well as via online sessions.
Crippling depression causes seclusion like nothing else, as venturing into public seems inconceivable. It is critical to start small by forcing yourself to reach out to at least one trusted person per day via text message, phone, or by meeting in person. Enlist trusted individuals to force you away from isolating when socializing is the very last thing that you want to do. Disrupting isolative patterns is a key mechanism in combating depression, as it reduces idle time and breaks up cyclical, negative thought patterns.
Establish Healthy Eating and Sleeping Routines
Depression obliterates healthy eating and sleeping patterns, as individuals sleep excessively, while simultaneously consuming too much, too little, or the wrong types of food. Compel yourself to keep a consistent bedtime, strive to obtain 6-8 hours of sleep per night, and avoid naps or waking too late in the day. Attempt to eat at least 2-3 small meals per day and consume periodic snacks for extra nourishment and energy.
To combat low motivation, feelings of helplessness, and low self-worth, it is important to empower yourself by focusing on the moment. Improve positive outlook and foster gratitude by keeping a journal, even if you can only write a few sentences per day. Find something daily to be grateful for, however insignificant it might seem, and write it down. Reduce catastrophic thinking and improve focus on the here and now by practicing deep breathing and simple mindfulness strategies.
Crippling depression can feel like you are drowning, barely treading water, and fighting for your life. It is lonely, terrifying, bleak, and all consuming. Starting small in combination with these strategies can provide you with a life preserver and rescue boat to save you from being pulled under a dark, relentless ocean.