What you believe about the possibility of depression recovery? What other steps have you tried…
When I was experiencing chronic and profound despair, I dreaded the phone ringing. I never ever invited people to my home. When I walked in the park with my dog, I wore enormous sunglasses so that I wouldn’t need to make eye contact and conversation with other people.
As an introvert, I found people exhausting, but with my chronic low moodit was so much worse than that.
I simply didn’t have the energy to engage with other people and I felt so bad about myself – I wasn’t well dressed, groomed, sometimes not even showered – that I just didn’t want to have anything to do with other people.
Because the brain thinks it is unwell, it tells your body to do what it would do if you had a physical illness; rest, be quiet, don’t be in exciting, stimulating environments because it’s just too much for the brain to handle in depression.
Keeping around other people, even if you don’t interact with them at all, helps to break the cycle of chronic low mood.
Recovery from debilitating despair means reconnecting with other people.
You can do this by deliberately gathering people around you with whom you can talk about your mood and ask them to help you in specific ways. Gathering your allies in depression recovery.
Or you can get out in to the community and be actively involved with people through clubs, the gym, volunteer organisations and so on.
Your friends and family are unlikely to be mental health professionals. They may have been just as confused and frustrated by your low mood as you have been. But if your loved ones and close friends understand that you’re not trying to avoid them, you’re just experiencing chronically distressing low mood, they might even want to help.
You may be delighted to learn that they are very happy to be your allies in getting you back on your feet.
When the doctor diagnosed me with depression I was so excited I told heaps of people. Most of them were very supportive, some were surprised and only a few were cautious.
However, I did notice that very few asked me how I was when we met up again after the great announcement. It was like they just didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Perhaps they were confused or unsure of what to do.
I think it was most likely unsure and perhaps busy as well. After all, they have their own stuff to deal with. And with hindsight, I was pretty unsure about the ‘diagnosis’ as well.
But to help you on the road to a more emotionally stable life, I strongly recommend that you find a few people whom you can let into this secret, ‘’I’m working to be free of my chronic low mood, will you help me? Will you be my allies in depression recovery?”
Don’t keep feelings to yourself.If you’re feeling very bad, tell someone. You need people around you who are not depressed and whom you trust to help you through. Click To Tweet
Think of the names of 3-5 close friends, loved ones or professionals who could help you. Who do you know among your social network (you still have one even if it’s been languishing for a while) who you could call on as an ally:
It is essential that you have support while trying to become change your emotional thermostat and redesign your life.
Do not ask a friend or acquaintance who is also emotionally unstable, to be your depression ally.
You will likely just sit and ruminate together. That is, you may talk about your problems and this just reinforces your low mood.
Sharing problems may provide a sense of connection, but this does not serve you well in the long-term, because what you really need is someone who will challenge your negative thought patterns, not someone who will agree with them.
Some online depression forums are well moderated, but many of the posts are long descriptions of how dreadful the person is feeling.
There are very few happy and contented people on depression forums.
People do leave supportive comments for one another, however very few effective strategies for wellbeing are shared. I would avoid online communities at this stage.
Here at Depression Recovery School we are building our own online community, but with a big difference; our members have all decided to head down the road to wellness, and while we can share our challenges, responses must be positive and helpful.
Choose someone you feel very comfortable with, whom you can trust completely, who is reliable and compassionate.
Choose someone who has the time for you (ask them). Be sure they are not carrying too many other responsibilities. Perhaps this person could be an occasional ally, going for coffee or seeing a movie with you now and then.
Be clear on what you are asking your ally to do. Ask them if they are willing.
The problem with feeling low in mood is that it tells you to run away from people who might be helpful, so at the beginning this might be quite challenging.
Unfortunately, depression can make us…well…depressing to be around and if we refuse too many invitations to join friends or family at gatherings, they may just stop asking us. So this can put us in a double bind.
We need help, but we find it difficult to ask. If we do ask, we may find that some of our friends or family members are unwilling to give us their help.
Most importantly, you need to be aware that you are not calling on allies in order to fix your moods for you, nor can they.
However, this is a long road if you go it alone.
Don’t try to do this alone.
Join forces with others, pool resources, help each other and become part of a family, driven by our advanced community platform available every day of the year.
You’re not the first person to struggle. You’re not the first person to feel alone, or to consider giving up, or to deal with all the negative voices inside your head telling you you’re a failure.
There is hope. There is a real possibility that you can improve your mood and emotions so that they no longer control your life.
I did. You can too.
Believing in the possibility is step one. I don’t think you would read this far if you didn’t have some belief already.
What you need next are reinforcements.
You need a supporting wall that holds you up when you feel like backing down.
Do you know what these things are?
…Your support network is made up of others who feel the same as you and are on the same path as you. People who know things you don’t and can guide you. People who can become your friends, and people who are guides to support you on your way.
These people are in the minority too, but it’s your minority.
This is your depression family, your support group, your friendship circle and where you feel at home.
It’s safe to ask the questions you think about all day long in this group, because they also have similar questions and have dealt with the same problems before.
Surround yourself with a support group of like-minded individuals so you’re never alone and you always have the best advice possible.
They have the same dreams and aspirations as you do.
Dream together! Take action together.
Your allies in depression recovery.
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If you'd asked her 15 years ago if she believed life could be a wonderful as it is today, Vickie would have answered, 'I just don't know, but it doesn't seem likely.' Now she knows that if she can turn her life around, it's possible for you too. Ask Vickie how she can help you design the life you'd really love to live and say goodbye to depression forever.