Healthy Ways to Deal with the Feelings of Depression
There are many feelings of depression. Yes, there is a feeling of sadness, but there are also other feelings, too. These feelings may include numbness, anger, irritability, extreme tiredness, stress, worthlessness, and guilt. These are typical feelings for someone with depression, yet we shouldn't ignore these feelings nor wallow in them, either. So, how can we cope with these feelings of depression in a healthy way?
3 Steps to Handling Feelings of Depression in a Healthy Way
- Identify the feeling of depression. For example, let's say I lash out at my husband in anger. I raise my voice and say something intentionally hurtful to him. At first glance, it appears that anger is what I'm feeling. Then I do some introspective thinking and dig deeper. I realize that I've actually been dealing with feelings of worthlessness, and I took something he said completely wrong. I identified my root feeling of worthlessness which fueled anger. Anger was the result, not the cause. It's so important that we learn to identify what our deepest, truest feelings are. Keeping a daily journal or diary about what's going on in our lives and how we're feeling is an excellent way to keep track of this. This way we can look back and see what situations potentially cause us to feel anger, sadness, numbness, etc. Also, be aware of how you're feeling in your everyday life. At what times do you feel most stressed? For me, it's when my daughter with special needs is having meltdowns. Have a plan for these times. When I'm stressed, I practice controlled breathing. When I'm at home, I light incense or candles. I play calming music. Practice saying, "I feel ___ because ___." I might say, "I feel guilty because I don't always cook dinner or clean the house every day." When I say this, I've identified the feeling and the source. Then I can step back and look at it from a healthy perspective. Then I can change my statement to something like this: "Some days I use lots of energy kicking depression's rear. After that, I need to rest. I feel fine about that."
- Sit with the feeling. Sitting with a feeling means pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You don't lie down with it and hibernate, thus making your depression much worse. On the other hand, you don't drop the feeling and run as far away from it as you can, either. Also, you shouldn't shame yourself for feeling what you feel. Just because you have a feeling, that doesn't mean you will (or should) act on it. A feeling is just that -- a feeling. When you feel sad, acknowledge it. Cry if you need to cry. Let the sadness come, and then let it pass. If you're feeling irritable, sit down with it and figure out why you're feeling that way. Is it your depression alone causing your irritability? Is it that you're not getting enough sleep? Are you sleeping too much? Are you eating right? Are you on social media too often? Sitting with our feelings is a healthy way to experience them without letting them take over or worsen our depression. Plus, if we try to bury our feelings or keep them bottled up inside, then we're likely to have an outburst or depressive episode.
- Express the feelings of depression in a productive way. This can mean a few different things. If you need help learning how to express your feelings in a healthy way, you might want to find a therapist. I learned so much in therapy, and one of the most helpful things I learned was how to deal with my feelings in a healthy and productive way. A way to express your feelings in a healthy way is to talk about your depression and how it makes you feel with a trusted friend or family member. You can also find support in groups, whether they meet locally or are found through social media. One way I cope with my depression and deal with my feelings in a healthy way is through creativity. Not only do I write, but I sketch and paint, too. I enjoy crafting as well as baking. My home decor is an expression of who I am. Expressing your sadness or anger through the arts is quite therapeutic and is also a healthy way of dealing with feelings that come along with depression.
I want to leave you with this: Embrace who you are. Depression is something that is part of us but it is not what defines us. The feelings we have as a result of our depression can be dealt with in a healthy way. We are in control.
Smith, J. (2019, October 10). Healthy Ways to Deal with the Feelings of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/10/healthy-ways-to-deal-with-the-feelings-of-depression