If you suffer from depression and do exactly what the depression makes you feel like doing, your depression will become more powerful. In order to fight the depression, you will need to change the way you view the depression and the way you respond to the depression.
You are not depression and depression is not you. Depression does not define you, but it can attack you. View depression as a sneaky little character that will change the way you think, feel, and behave. Conceptualize depression as a parasite that attaches itself to you and attempts to suck the life out of you.
Depression is very real, but it is not your friend. It will lie to you. It will betray you- if you let it.
Depression may tell you that you do not have the energy to go exercise even though research tells us that exercise can decrease symptoms. Depression is a smart little guy. Depression knows that exercise will decrease its power over you and make you stronger. Depression knows that exercise may kill it just as water melted the Wicked Witch of the West. Depression cackles in your ear and in every other part of your body, “You don’t feel good enough to exercise, my pretty!”
Depression may tell you to isolate yourself from others. If you listen to depression, guess what will happen? I bet you guessed it. Depression will grow stronger and you will grow physically weaker and weaker becoming more depressed.
Depression may tell you to pull the blinds down and avoid the beautiful sunshine. It may tell you to just go ahead and stay in your pajamas all day. Heck, it might even tell you to stay in bed all day. And guess what happens? You guessed it again. You become more depressed. Depression becomes even stronger and your energy level dives even lower.
Depression may tell you that you don’t even have the energy to make it to a doctor or a therapist. Depression hates doctors and therapists. Depression is scared that your doctor or therapist may help you send it away.
Depression may even whisper suicidal thoughts into your mind. It may tell you that you are worthless and that the future is hopeless. It may even tell you that you are helpless. Depression lies to you.
No, depression just can’t be trusted!
But you can be. You can be trusted to fight the beast within. Don’t let it own you. You are not helpless, you are not hopeless, and you certainly aren’t worthless.
Fight depression by doing the opposite of what the depression is telling you to do.
When depression tells you to stop exercising or doing activities that you have always enjoyed, do them anyway. Little by little this is weakening the depression.
When depression tells you to isolate yourself from others, seek support.
When depression tells you to pull the blinds down and stay in bed all day, force yourself to get up, shower, get dressed, and go get some fresh air. DO THIS EVERY DAY. View this routine as medication that fights depression.
When depression tells you to stay up all night and sleep all day, do the opposite and work really really hard to get your sleep cycle turned around.
When depression tells you to comfort yourself with junk food, do the research. Research shows us that the foods we eat dramatically affect our mood. Eating unhealthy food may make you feel good for a few minutes, but it is feeding the depression. The depression is actually saying, “Yes, give me more, give me more junk food.” Eating healthy whole foods will begin to destroy the depression and make you feel better in the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Think long-term joy.
When depression tells you to numb out on alcohol, it knows exactly what it is doing. Alcohol is a depressant. You can’t fight depression by adding this depressant. Resist the urge, and if you can’t do this on your own…get help for the addiction. Look at recovery like this… I may have to put up with short-term pain for long-term gain.
When depression tells you to skip that doctor’s appointment. Go!
When depression tells you that you are all alone, pray/meditate. Have faith that you are never alone.
When depression tells you that you have nothing to live for, go find something. Go help someone else. Depression is lying to you again.
And if depression sinks so low that it tells you that you are helpless, hopeless, and worthless, or it tells you to give up and hurt yourself, call 911 immediately. You need additional back up to fight this enemy.
When depression has you feeling so bad that you don’t feel like exercising, spending time with friends, or getting out of bed, you may want to repeat these words to yourself…“I can do what I am currently doing and continue to feel the way that I am feeling, or I can do exactly what I don’t feel like doing and I may begin to feel better.”
Don’t fall for the things depression tells you. You are worth so much more than that. Challenge those destructive messages. Do the work it takes and get the help you need so that you can be you without the depression. You are worth it!
*Please consult your physician immediately if you have been feeling hopeless, helpless, or have been experiencing suicidal thoughts. It is also recommended that you talk to your physician before beginning any type of exercise program.