A few years ago I attended an information session on depression and heard one of the greatest pieces of advice about depression treatment I’ve ever heard. The therapist said, “No single person or treatment is going to help you get better. It takes a variety of treatments to get you better.”
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Recently I found out that my work duties have been cut back significantly, leaving me feeling lost and also looking for new work. Job loss can be a significant trigger for depression. This has led me to seek out coping skills to deal with this new reality in my life.

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One of depression’s main symptoms is feeling alone, like no one in the world could possibly understand your situation, your pain, or your experience. You feel cut off from other people, like there’s a glass wall between you and the rest of the world. The feeling of being alone can can make you want to isolate yourself from friends, family, and other people who care about us. Isolation feeds depression.

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Lately, I have found myself with some extra free time on my hands. Which isn’t a bad thing, except for the fact that when I have free time I tend to ruminate, and when I tend to ruminate, depressive thoughts and symptoms often come up. This left me searching out new ways to deal with my depression symptoms and discovering writing as an outlet.

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I’m scared for this winter. It’s not simply the vicious cold and the almost daily dump of snow that I’m dreading, but the annual worsening of my depression. While I haven’t been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, I know that winter affects my depression symptoms.

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As I continue to recover from a recent depressive episode, I’ve noticed that I’m better able to deal with my inner critic, as well as be more in the present moment. For example, recently, I found myself unsure how to proceed with a project at work. If I had been feeling more depressed, my inner critic would have taken this as an opportunity to try to push me down further. I was able to fight this by being in the present moment. Keep reading »

Lately I’ve been caught in a trap of worrying about everything I need to do, instead of simply doing the things I need to do. This causes a big increase in my depression symptoms.

I look around my apartment and the whole place is a giant mess. Dirty dishes lie everywhere, pretty much every piece of clothing I own needs to be washed, and instead of dust bunnies lying on my floor I have what my mom calls “dust wolves.”

Instead of just gathering up my dirty dishes,  I lie down on my couch. I start thinking in negative spirals, about how I mess up everything in my life. I think about all the times I’ve failed at things, and my self-doubt starts building. I can’t even keep a one bedroom apartment clean! How am I ever going to have a house one day?

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With the change of seasons to fall, I recently found myself in the grip of depression, yet again. First I noticed that my concentration seemed dulled and my motivation slowed. I started sleeping more and found it harder and harder to get out of bed. Soon, my lethargic body felt heavy and clumsy; my energy level plummeted. I felt empty, shut off from life around me. Daily functioning felt like swimming against the tide.

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Being broke and having depression go hand-in-hand. I’m really sick of it. Even if money can’t buy happiness, it can buy basic necessities like food and shelter. It’s pretty hard to be happy without those things. I need more money, but my symptoms of depression make finding a job really difficult.

While the average person in their twenties focuses on building a resume, I’ve been focused on surviving my depression. Instead of attending post-secondary school, I’ve been in depression treatment, learning about my own experiences and how to cope in everyday life. Living with depression is a full time job. Keep reading »

I recently finished reading How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide For The Chronically Ill And Their Caregivers. The book was written by Toni Bernhard, a once very active attorney and law professor, who in the midst of a full life, was randomly struck down by a mysterious, debilitating illness that keeps her primarily contained to her home. For any of us dealing with the uncertainties of depression as well as the uncertainties of life in general, Bernhard’s insights are a welcome respite.

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