Depression is a serious medical condition associated with symptoms like loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, melancholy and suicidal thoughts. Depression is not uncommon. It affects over 18 million adults (one in ten) in any given year and is the leading cause of disability for ages 15 to 44.
Because depression can drain your energy, make it difficult to enjoy life and leave you feeling hopeless and isolated, just getting through your days can be extremely challenging. But it’s important to know that depression is treatable, and there is hope for recovery.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s explore the importance of seeking help and discovering hope in the journey to overcoming depression.
Acknowledge the Problem
The first step in overcoming depression is acknowledging that you are struggling with the condition. Depression is NOT a sign of weakness or personal failure. It is a complex medical condition that can affect anyone. As with other illnesses, depression requires attention and treatment, which typically comes in the form of therapy, counseling, lifestyle habits and medication.
Seek Professional Support
Once you acknowledge the problem, you can take the first step to get yourself help. Many people start with a therapist or psychiatrist, but you can also start with your general practitioner. They can provide you with a referral and guide you in the right direction.
Only a healthcare professional can diagnose you with depression. Teens and young adults often overuse the term depression, so you can’t rely on friends or peers to diagnose you. Depression is diagnosed based on symptoms, how long the symptoms have been affecting your life and other factors.
When you receive your diagnosis, you can then move forward with an individualized treatment plan. There are many ways to treat depression, and your doctor will find a regimen that helps your symptoms. Remember to be patient, as it can take six weeks or more to see the full effects from the medication.
Build a Support System
In addition to professional support, you’ll also need to build a support system of friends and family. Surrounding yourself with loved ones who understand and support you can make a significant difference in your journey towards healing. They’ll be there to provide emotional support, listen to your struggles and offer encouragement during difficult times.
Having a support group is also important. If you seek treatment at an outpatient mental health facility, you’ll participate in group therapy throughout the week. You can also join a mental health support group in your community and attend one-on-one therapy to explore your feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
Explore Treatment Options
Keep in mind that there are many ways to treat depression. As mentioned above, depression responds well to therapy, medication, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies like mindfulness, exercise or art therapy. It may take time to find the right combination, but do not lose hope. Stay open-minded with your treatment options and communicate openly with your treatment team.
Treat yourself well. Self-care plays a vital role in overcoming depression. Pick activities that bring you joy, practice relaxation techniques and take care of your physical health. This will boost your mood and overall well-being, plus make it easier to fight symptoms of depression. Celebrate small victories along the way, too.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Depression often involves negative thought patterns that can make it difficult to think positively. Challenge these thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic ones. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a great tool that can help you identify negative thought patterns and deal with them in a healthy, more productive way.
Finally, stay hopeful. You can do this by engaging in activities that inspire you, setting realistic goals and surrounding yourself with positive people. Many people benefit from writing in a journal, practicing gratitude, participating in support groups and hearing about others’ journeys. The more you do these things, the easier it is to have hope.
Overcoming Depression is Possible. Start Your Journey Today.
Depression can feel overwhelming, but it does not have to define your life. By seeking help, building a support system, exploring treatment options and practicing self-care, you can embark on a journey of healing and recovery. Remember that you are not alone, and there are people who care and want to support you.
Awakenings Treatment Center is a holistic healing center that offers treatment services for mental health and substance use disorders. We are here for you and your family. Contact our admissions department to learn more about our mental health treatment services.