Reality Check: Can you cure depression on your own?
When someone around you gets a typhoid fever, what do you do? Do you ask them to sit back, relax, and assure themselves that they are going to fine, question them about what is wrong with their lives or do you take them to a doctor? Most sane humans will take them to get cured. However, when it comes to an ailment like clinical depression, most people will do the former.
‘Cure’ is a tricky word, I must say. There is nothing like curing yourself of depression. So if anyone told you that, let them know this too. All you can do is coping with depression. Depression, like any ailment such as jaundice or malaria, needs to be treated with medications and proper treatment by experts.
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I've lived with depression on and off since I was about 13 years old. This is not a revelation or a confession. Those who know me know this about me. It's not something I take any pains to hide, I'm not ashamed of it or particularly troubled by it. It's just a part of who I am. I have days where I feel good and then I have days where I don't. One minute everything's fine and the next it's like someone turned the light off inside my head. I go quiet and it's difficult to get out of bed. Like it always does the world around me loses focus and I struggle to make sense of it. Sometimes these bouts last an hour – sometimes they last days. Today, I'm on day 4. I say I live with depression rather than I struggle with it because for me (and I speak only for myself here) I don't see why it has to be a struggle. I once read an idea by an American essayist called Richard Mitchell which stayed with me; it's now become how I try to approach the dips in my week or month. The idea is this: To be sick, or to suffer, is inevitable. But to become bitter and vindictive in sickness and suffering and to surrender to irrationality, supposing yourself the innocent and virtuous victim of the evils intentions of the world, is not inevitable. The appropriate answer to the question – Why me? is the other question – Why not me? *** Why am I writing about this? Well, I spend a fair amount of time on social media during the course of my day and today I found myself looking for something to post because it's been a few days since I've posted anything. I couldn't find anything so I figured I'd just talk about this – how I'm doing, instead of what I'm doing. It's as simple as that, and we could all stand to do a little more of it. P.S. That picture just seemed to work in this context.
When you read this honest post, one thing is pretty clear, there are tons and tons of people suffering from the ailment, however, have learned to cope with it in their own sweet ways. Whether or not you agree, there isn’t a thing as curing yourself of depression. You may learn to manage or live with it. Here are a few triggers of depression:
- Unresolved conflicts: Each of us generally has one or more unresolved conflicts in our head. These could be something from our childhood, unsatisfactory people or other unsettling problems that need to be thought over. Try to identify these and talk about it. Unspoken and unsettled disputes are one of the most important triggers for depression. So the first step is to resolve these inner conflicts.
- Compulsive repetitions: Each of us live in a repetitive cycle in our heads. There will be certain unresolved conflicts or some post-trauma in our lives. Make sure you get rid of those. Post this, try to enumerate on these repetitive cycles. A lot of people will keep repeating statements like, “nobody understands me,” “what’s the point of all this,” etc. Cut that cycle. Identify this as a pattern and stop replaying this old tape.
- Self-neglect: Do you take yourself for granted? Not eating well, not sleeping well or complete neglect in the department of self-care is your first cue. Try to identify this pattern and work on it.
- Self- slander: If you keep telling yourself that you are powerless, unattractive, unpleasant and unimportant, you will end up becoming all of these. Our body works in the same way as our minds. If you criticize yourself way too much, it may be an alarm for you.
- Shutting down: A lot of us may want to sit back at home and relax. Reading a favourite book and not meet a lot of people in the process- this could be a way to de-stressing on a holiday. But if you find yourself cutting down or canceling all plans that involve meeting people, that’s a red flag too!
5 ways to cope with depression
No, we are not saying that these can help you to get over depression or any such thing. But clearly, these could help you in some ways:
- Face-time over everything: Yes, staying connected through a phone call, text message or Facebook is a great idea, but, one must never undermine the importance of meeting face-to-face. We know you might want to cancel all plans and stay in-doors but meeting someone you love can help you in a great way. This will help you in cutting down your depressive symptoms as well as help you to catch up with your old self.
- Sleep your way to wellness: Nobody can ever deny the connection between a night of good sleep and a healthier self. When you sleep well, you invite good loads of positivity and holistic health. Aim for a consistent sleep of 7-8 hours daily. Don’t over-sleep or play that owl in the house!
- Get that fit-foot-forward: Yes, I know that even getting out of bed may seem like a daunting task for you. But exercising, like simply walking or running can help you to de-clutter your head. Don’t expect yourself to get better in a day or two magically. However, push yourself to exercise.
- Eat healthy, get better: One of the things that you’ll notice yourself doing is skipping meals or overeating. Don’t skip meals but eat sufficiently in a gap of every 3-4 hours. Minimize your consumption of sugar while loading up on foods rich in Vitamin-B as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
- Challenge negativity: We all know that depression is your fight against yourself and that’s the worst thing possible. Try to challenge the pattern of negativity and try to cut that episode. You may want to leave the things you love or may end up drawing the wrong conclusions. The next time you feel awful about yourself, just try to inculcate some logic in that argument. What makes you believe that you aren’t loved?
Note: We aren’t telling you that these are TREATMENTS for depression, but, when you are feeling depressed, try to introduce these coping mechanisms in your routine. Try something new, cut the negative cycle and keep going.