Having depression can sometimes lead to developing negative habits as we try to cope. Often things that aren't necessarily wise or healthy feel good at the moment. Sometimes it's easier to do what is comfortable rather than that which requires work and sacrifice. Depression drains us of our energy, thus making it difficult to take even that first step towards building healthier habits. What are some of these negative habits? How can we start moving away from these non-desirable habits towards more positive coping skills?
Coping with Depression
Have you ever noticed how depression can make us feel alone, even when we're surrounded by people? Sometimes it doesn't even matter if the people around us are our closest friends or family members. We may even be talking and laughing; we appear to be having fun, yet, on the inside, our depression has us feeling completely alone. How do we cope when this happens? Are our coping mechanisms always healthy?
Many people find it challenging to cope with changes in life, and for those of us with depression, it can be especially difficult. Whether it's a new job, a child's graduation, the loss of a loved one, or the birth of a child, any change can be stressful and can potentially cause us to have a harder time with our depression. So, when changes come, as they inevitably will, how do we cope?
What is catastrophizing in depression? According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology1, to catastrophize is "to exaggerate the negative consequences of events or decisions." I define it as freaking out over little-to-medium crises or unexpected occurrences in my life. It's like thinking the whole evening is ruined if I forget to thaw the chicken for dinner of feeling like I'm a mess all day if the outfit I'd planned to wear isn't clean. Catastrophizing could be set in motion by getting an unexpected bill in the mail. It could begin upon receiving a text from a friend canceling plans. Perhaps a catastrophization trigger for you would be the difficult decision of choosing between two great job offers. Any one of these events can set off a chain reaction that results in catastrophizing that worsens depression.
Volunteering helps depression, even though that may seem counterintuitive at first. You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of helping others when you can barely help yourself. However, volunteering can be a good and helpful way to cope with your own depression. Turning your focus outward brings a new perspective into your life, and this perspective of volunteering can help your depression.
Those of us diagnosed with depression will experience the darkness that comes with it, yet there are things we can do to shine a light into even the darkest of days. When it feels as if all our joy has been stripped away, we discover that we might have to work harder to create happiness and light in our lives. Let's talk about some simple ways to do that.
Your child has been diagnosed with depression. Now what? You're overwhelmed. You already have a depression diagnosis yourself. How can you cope with both your depression and that of your child's? Take a breath. Relax. Let's walk through this together.
Major depressive episodes are part of the major depressive disorder that I live with every day; however, I experience seasons or phases when my depression is worse than others. When I go through these major depressive episodes, I know how important it is to work toward recovering from them. I've developed some coping skills and activities that work for me. I'd like to share them with you so that, when you face major depressive episodes, you, too, will have some strategies in place to help in recovery.
The challenge of coping with our depression can be more difficult when people make hurtful remarks to us. Often these hurtful remarks will fuel our negative thoughts and potentially send us into a major depressive episode. What are some of the comments we may hear? How can we use coping skills to keep the harmful comments of others from worsening our depression?
For those with depression, isolation is often something we experience. Many times we don't have the energy or desire to go out and socialize; however, living in isolation is no true life at all. We don't have to allow our depression to keep us isolated. We just need some guidelines so we can tell the difference between isolation and alone time.