Hard Living With Depression

Gwen Randall-Young

People can become depressed for many reasons. It might be biochemical. It may also happen after a loss or break up. Disappointment in not getting a promotion or making a team can leave one feeling down

If there is conflict in a relationship or within the immediate or extended family that can be a drag on our emotions. If there has been trauma or a painful childhood, these can also be contributing factors. There might be medical issues as well. The first step is to talk with your doctor to eliminate any physical cause.

As you can see, there can be an unlimited number of reasons why one might be depressed. If it is due to some life circumstance, the depression eventually lifts. If one is suffering from chronic depression that is a different thing.

Depression signals there is something wrong in our body, in our life, or in our thinking. It is important to understand what is causing these feelings. Medication does not have to be the first choice, but for many it is extremely helpful.

Sometimes medication does not help. It is then that we need to look more deeply. Often a difficult childhood leaves a person with negative beliefs about themselves. Other times the unhealed pain gets triggered by current life circumstances.

Often our minds are our worst enemy. It replays painful experiences, goes over and over some perceived wrong, is judgmental, or very negative. If we keep thinking negative thoughts, then we keep ourselves depressed

Much of my work involves helping clients to see how their thinking is adding to their distress. Our thoughts create our emotions. We have the power to manage or change our thoughts. Often people know what might help them but are unmotivated to do those things.

In this way depression can be like carbon monoxide poisoning; it sneaks up and makes you too tired to get fresh air. It can also be like hypothermia; you know you should not go to sleep in the snow. You just have to keep going.

Sometimes we must fight the depression. We need to do those things we know are good for us, even if we do not feel like it. It helps to do things that take our minds off ourselves.

Volunteering can take us out of our negative mindset, and it feels good to know we are appreciated.

Exercise releases endorphins and gets everything moving. Going for a walk and just noticing everything you see, rather than thinking about how bad you feel. No matter how bad we feel, we can always do something to make someone else feel better.

Chronic depression is complex, but there are many strategies that can help. The bottom line, though, is we have to want to get better. Then, we have to make that effort to do things differently, and to think differently.

Wanting and wishing is simply not enough. It is said that the universe rewards action.

Reach out and find a professional who can do the deep work that is required to move forward. 

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.