In this blog post by Khadijah Duarte, the common mental health issue of Depression is discussed. If you feel you may be at risk of developing depression or actively suffering depression, please do not hesitate to contact a trusted GP or a psychologist. Psychologists have at least six years of mental health training and have copious ways of understanding and treating the symptoms of depression.
In Australia alone, 1 in 7 Australian’s will experience depression in their lifetime (Black Dog Institute). You may experience ‘feeling sad’ during some stages of your life because of having an argument, failing an assessment, losing your job or whatever it may be for you. Once circumstances change your sad feelings may disappear. Depression is different from feeling sad and if changing your circumstances is manageable, it won’t always disappear. If your feelings of sadness are lingering for 2 consecutive weeks and are interfering with your ability to maintain your day to day routine, this could be an opening for external support.
Have you ever woken up one morning and for no reason just thought you were going to have a bad day and so all day you persist through it because you were just “not in the mood?”, it’s because you just narrated your day. Another unhelpful element that depression can do is impact the way you think. What you are saying to yourself will create the narrative of your world. If you’re thinking negatively your brain will form this as your reality, even though the thought may not actually be true. Your existing thoughts lead to the way you feel and form beliefs about yourself and your external world, therefore your self-talk can be either powering or disempowering. What are you saying to yourself? allow yourself to pause for a moment and tune in so that you can consciously re-write your thoughts by using daily affirmations. Do this consistently and ask yourself, “how do I think and feel now?”.
Questions to consider:
If you are living with depression it’s possible that you can feel like doing the simplest things can be difficult, so micromanaging your goals might be something you want to try. Ask yourself; do you remember the last time that you were happy? What’s something that you use to do that made you happy? What is your favourite food, scent, memory? Try to expand and implement these.
If you are living with depression it’s very likely that you are struggling to feel motivated. However, it’s not about being consistently motivated, majority of individuals are not motivated as well, whether they are living with depression or not. It’s about showing up for yourself anyway, and this is when discipline comes in. Don’t want to get out of bed? Do it anyway. In this attempt, you can train your brain to expand on its mental resistance which what’s most likely holding you back from committing to goals that target change. When your brain gets comfortable, it will resist any new task that you are trying to introduce. It simply does not like change. By attempting to shift your unwanted patterns that you may have developed through depression you will be able to introduce new goals to replace the old unhelpful ones.
Try to separate yourself from depression, depression may be affecting you but you are not your depression, you’re just living with it for the moment.
Written by Khadijah Duarte.