Depression small steps to recovery
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
20th August, 20130 Comments
“Depression has taken everything from me. It’s taken everything enjoyable. Everything I have aspired to be, everything I long to be, it has faded me into nothing. All I do is cry, sleep and wish my life away. I have help, but I’m not getting anywhere. I just really want my world to end so I don't have to hurt any more.”
These are the words of someone who is suffering from depression. The powerful words and sentiments give power to the sense of hopelessness that depression can cause. The sense that depression drains hope, it is a nasty condition that drives you away from the things that can help you most.
The key with depression is to start small. It is not an easy path to follow, and the thought of doing them for a long time often puts people off trying. Often the poem by Kenneth Holmes “Just for today” expresses the sentiment of how to approach this seemingly enormous task.
“Just for today, I will try to live through this day only
and not tackle my whole life problem at once.
I can do something for twelve hours
that would appal me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.”
It says that we only need to take the steps in front of us, don’t be put off by the whole journey. Perhaps that step is getting up and getting dressed. Perhaps it is walking the dog. Whatever the task is, taking it in small steps will make it more manageable. Start small and take it slowly, don’t try to fix the whole problem at once. Praise yourself for even the smallest of these things for although you may think them simple, the effort you have put in is worthy of praise.
Studies have shown that support is key in treating depression. Of course the support of your GP, CPN or counsellor will help. Any social contact is important, however, difficult it may seem. It can be easy to retreat to your safe space, but even being around others can make you feel less depressed.
Family and friends often want to help but don’t know how, so ask for support and help. Perhaps it’s simple like going with you for a walk or being prepared to listen without judging you. They can get you through with encouragement and support.
With support you can start to challenge the thought processes that are so characteristic of depression. That voice that says you are worthless, or the process that always works towards the worst outcome. Perhaps your thoughts are filled with absolutes such as, ‘I should be a better person’. Remember to ask yourself what evidence is there for these thoughts. Aren’t good outcomes possibilities? You are human and humans get it wrong, you can forgive yourself. Show yourself the compassion you would offer a friend.
Finally it can be easy to forget to look after yourself when feeling depressed, so try relaxation and meditation methods, eat regular and have healthy meals, try to keep your sleep patterns constant and try to take a little exercise outside each day.
There is help out there you can get better. Depression is difficult to deal with, but like many have done b
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