Disorders and Treatment
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Depressive episodes can come at you like a bad smell from the back of the refrigerator. It was back there the whole time, but all of a sudden it’s all you can smell when you open the door. Even for those in treatment for depression, if you called your doctor every time something seemed difficult you’d never be off of the phone.
Living with depression can be a constant struggle, but there are ways you can trick yourself through depressive episodes, lessening the impact on your everyday life.
Don’t Blame Yourself
One of depression’s dirtiest tricks is that when it rears its ugly head, people often blame themselves as flawed, sick, or weak. Shaming yourself because of something beyond your control compounds problems and can lead to self-destructive behavior or even self-harm. The ups and downs of depression are not because of you, but because of the way this spooky enemy affects the lives of its victims.
You must approach things with a certain discipline, like the kind all branches of the U.S. military employ as a basic motivator for their respective enlisted and officers. One of the prime motivators they have—other than push-ups—is the idea that by not doing one’s job, that person is letting down the entire unit. If you can’t motivate yourself to stay active for yourself, do it for those who depend on you. We often forget that we can draw strength from others as well as ourselves.
Get Some Fresh Air
Another thing that can contribute to increasing the effect of a depressive episode is surrendering to being a prisoner in one’s own home. Hygiene is disregarded, shades are drawn so that the grime and darkness of the room matches your mood. Instead, fling open those shades, get dressed, and force yourself to go outside, even if just for a walk around the block or to a coffee shop.
Set Realistic Goals
All of the above suggestions are useless if you don’t have a realistic idea of what you can expect from yourself. If you have trouble finding the energy (or the very will) to do housework, don’t expect that you should clean your entire house in a day. Successive little victories build a ladder to larger successes. This is nothing that can be fixed in an hour, a day, or even a week. Instead like diet and exercise, it has to become a part of your daily routine.
Every journey seems daunting before you take the first step, because that is when you are the furthest from your goal. The good news is that after that first step, you only get closer and closer to where you want to be.
Photo by Robby McKee via Flickr Creative Commons.
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