Finding Purpose Helps You Cope with Depression
Finding purpose to help you cope with depression is powerful in that it pushes you to do something instead of sitting still, and utilizing purpose can help you realize your worth. I often feel purposeless and self-indulgent, working towards nothing specific and, instead, moving towards unclear goals (Accomplishing SMART Goals with Bipolar Disorder). So my most recent coping endeavor is figuring out how to cope with depression through purpose
Does Finding Purpose Just Happen?
I recently spent some time exploring the United Kingdom, looking around quiet towns and busy cities, not realizing that I was actively coping with depression through purpose. I've enjoyed traveling to new places since I was a child and my trip to the U.K. was the biggest endeavor I'd ever planned. And though I was nervous about traveling on the left side of the road, I thoroughly embraced the unknown and felt more joy than I ever have before.
My travel buddy and I both saw different smiles on each others' faces, laughing freely and singing loudly, feeling blissfully relaxed and open to the world. We had purpose as we traveled, seeking new experiences and learning about things unknown, meeting new people and being open about our experiences back home. Everything we did, we did with purpose and on purpose. Our depression took a back seat.
Finding our purpose just happened. It settled in during those U.K. adventures. Instead of decide that we would feel purpose when we travelled, we realized the purpose we had as we waded through bustling street markets and clambered up steep hills. Purpose is meant to be realized, not sought out or actively determined.
Living with Purpose in Depression Can Be Fleeting
Purpose is similar to motivation in the fact that it can be rather fleeting. Your purpose one day may be different than your next day's purpose, so keep in mind that coping with depression by finding purpose isn't always sustainable. Rather than depend on one purpose after it's settled in, allow yourself to realize unique and shifting purposes for yourself as you grow. My purpose during travel was seeking out adventure and knowledge, while yesterday, my purpose was to be supportive of a struggling friend.
Finding Purpose Demands Patience and an Open Mind
For a lot of people, purpose is an end goal and an accomplishment. "I must find my purpose," says the college kid who graduated a year ago and still feels lost to the world. What I've learned is that purpose is not an end goal. Instead, it is something that happens as I create a life of fulfillment.
Purpose is the patch of flowers that grows out of the compost pile. The compost pile exists to turn old food into soil, and a random patch of flowers grew out of it, so now I'll purposely put it on my other flowers to help them thrive. I've realized the purpose of the compost by simply letting it be.
Coping with depression by finding purpose demands that you keep your mind open to the many reasons you're around, and that you don't push to find motivations but, instead, let them fall into place. You must live with an open mind, letting yourself make choices based on what makes you feel content and healthy. And as you seek out things that fill your life with goodness, you'll probably find that purpose sinks in automatically and helps you cope.
Verbeke, T. (2017, May 10). Finding Purpose Helps You Cope with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2017/05/coping-with-depression-through-purpose
Author: Tiffanie Verbeke
I'm so sorry your daughter is going through this. I'm one of the current co-authors of the Coping with Depression blog at Healthyplace. What activities did she used to enjoy? Can you start off giving her a small schedule so that she doesn't sleep all day? Is there volunteer work she can get involved in? Often, the actions must come first and then the motivation do actually do them will follow. I wish you and her the best of luck.