How to keep bouts of depression from preventing creativity, learning, and personal productivity. Please note, these are all personal opinions and theories of my own.
Most of my life depression has come along for a good reason. It’s normally my body and mind telling me there are things I need to process. As yourself why you are depressed. Did something life altering just happen? Do you have ghosts in your past that aren’t letting go? Did you react strongly to something in the news? Sometimes a simple news article can bring fighting in the middle east to a more stark reality than previous. Those news stories can relate to personal life events, and those connections can sometimes be treacherous. Identifying the cause sooner rather than letter will help you recover faster. As painful as it may be, think seriously about why you are depressed.
- Identify the cause
Sometimes getting to the recovery process can be more draining than allowing yourself a little time to wallow in the depression. This may not sound productive, but allowing yourself to think about things, and sleep more, is your body’s way of making you process things. I’ve always felt that your body tries to tell you what it needs, and this is one of those things. I don’t adhere to the ‘you must get busy now or the depression will take you over’ beliefs. I think that it’s perfectly respectable to allow yourself time to grieve. I believe that when your body and mind allows yourself to be depressed, it needs to grieve for something. I am unemployed, and in effect I feel like I lost my job. I am grieving for it, despite my cognition of not wanting the job and having been the person who instigated the departure. In giving myself some time I am allowing those feelings to be experienced, which in turn helps to heal my body.
- Allow yourself some time.
Not everyone is the same here. Robey consistently tries to keep me away from the TV. His method of getting through depression has always been to delve into work or playing video games, something that makes your mind take an active role. He finds that doing something is better than sitting there allowing the story of a TV show to take me away. I have found that those stories can be invigorating and can make me feel re-energized. Sometimes they are helpful. But he is right in one sense. Once I’m done with watching a movie the depression can hit me full force again. Not only has it hit me full force, but now my depression has additional guilt from sitting on the couch doing nothing but watching TV. You must find the kind of recovery process that works for you. Whether that is working in your garden, cleaning your house, picking up a favorite hobby more intensely. Once you can get up don’t sit there, it will only make things worse. Allowing yourself time to grieve is good, but if you’ve started recovering and you allow it to pull you back down, that can be dangerous.
- Find what recovery process works best for you.
Once you start feeling guilty about not getting started quickly enough or not meeting goals of recovery, you set a poor pattern of self reflection. Never set large goals during your recovery process. Only make plans. Setting goals for yourself while trying to get out of depression is only going to make yourself even more depressed when you don’t meet your goals. This will invariably happen, because you are not in tip top shape when recovering. If you meet your goals, you may have just learned a very effective way to shove your feelings under the carpet, so to speak. Storing those feelings away now can make it even harder to deal with depression you may feel later on in life. I feel that if you don’t deal with the emotions you have currently, they will only continue to haunt you in one way or another.
- Never feel guilty.
I feel that one of the best ways to keep going each day is to set a daily goal. This may sound contrary to my last paragraph, however I feel that this is different. A daily goal can be something as simple as going for a walk or run. It could be choosing to do one load of laundry. It could be deciding to work on one project, and choosing one aspect of it. The goal itself won’t seem as foreboding. It will seem reachable. This idea is especially good if you are employed. If you are trying to grieve and deal with depression, it can be very difficult when working the daily grind. Completing a goal during each evening can make your free time feel productive and subsequently satisfying. As said previously, don’t set large goals up for yourself. They can seem unattainable, and can sometimes only serve to deepen your depression. A daily goal can help you re-establish your self confidence and help you start to be productive again. When I was in college during my undergrad I suffered some severe depression during fall term dead week of my senior year. I didn’t attend a single course that week, in spite of it being that week when you collect final notes. I was trying to process some serious internal emotional conflicts in regarding my family, more specifically my father. I choose during that week to forgo attending class, and instead simply started running. I ran one mile each day, and then came home and read and studied as I could. That one daily goal helped me immensely.
- Take things day by day.
I feel that those therapists out there who feel that you can make your reasons for depression no longer affect you are crazy. I’m sorry, but I feel that my life experiences will be with me always. Things that I feel bad for are always going to be there, unless I do something about them, and even then I’m still going to remember them once in a while and feel bad about them again. As much as I can try to grieve out all my feelings of loss from my grandmothers death it’s never going to fully go away, and I don’t want it to. I feel that choosing to be okay with keeping that feeling around is important. It helps me to connect more deeply with others. If you think you can ‘fully recover’ from horrifying life experiences, I think you are just another example of that person who can shove those concerns and emotions under the carpet. That you are simply choosing to make it disappear, but those feelings will still affect you. If I didn’t still feel sorrowful when I thought about the death of a loved one I would be deeply concerned about myself. Understand that this experience is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life, and accept it. Recognize that it simply is, and the choice of it making you good or bad is entirely your own doing. People can have some influence on how you feel about yourself, but you are the final verdict. This experience with depression will always be with you, and part of you may always be susceptible to it again. This is not a bad thing. Experiencing depression does not make you a bad person, and finding yourself succumbing to it again is not bad. It simply means you need some more time for recovery. As winter comes every year, the plants always return in the spring. The hard thing to do is to find what makes it better for you.
- Recognize that those feelings may never fully go away, and that’s okay.