DEPRESSION - SELF-HELP: WHAT REALLY HELPS?
Those looking for self-help during a depression will quickly be overwhelmed with all sorts of tips and methods that somehow make sense, but are difficult for a person affected to implement. "Doing sports" helps - everyone knows that - but who suffers from depression-driven listlessness and can hardly motivate to go to work, will not do anything with this tip. On the contrary, such tips can even reinforce the feeling of "not even getting it" or "doing no good". That's why I'd like to give you a list of 4 self-help tips that REALLY help with depression. Tips that can change your brain structure in the long term. Because you have suffered long enough. It's time to confront the black shadow of your depression with the right self-help methods.
1. Recognize that you are ill
Depression is a disease. Although it is a curable disease, it is still a disease because of it. What do you do if you have a flu? Do you then demand maximum performance from you? Are you trying to function as "normally" as you usually do? Not really, right? You acknowledge that you are sick and shut down a corridor.
You acknowledge that you just do not look happy.
You acknowledge that your body just has less strength and therefore avoid great physical effort without condemning yourself.
You acknowledge that you are not as focused and powerful as you are.
Why should you expect the best from you now, when you are depressed? Your brain is ill and is therefore not as powerful as usual.
2. Talk to yourself and allow yourself to be what you are now
You probably do not talk very positively about yourself. Maybe you often say things like:
"I really can not do anything."
"I'm so useless."
"I'm probably not meant to be really happy."
These are typical sentences of sufferers suffering from depression and they can be very fatal. Because it is one thing when others criticize and insult you, but when you talk to yourself like that, you are destroying any courage for change and positive feelings.
Maybe you talk about pejorative about you, because you would like to be different. You may want to be stronger, more attractive, happier, more successful, assertive or self-confident. But the problem here is something called "Where focus goes, energy flows". What you are paying attention to, you reinforce its effect. The more you condemn yourself, the more you will find what you can condemn. The more you depreciate yourself, the more examples you will find for your supposed worthlessness.
I do not think much of positive affirmations like, "I'm super strong, happy, and totally comfortable!". Because this statement is simply a lie in depressive episodes. Who lies to himself or others, can never be happy. He will never feel well in his own skin.
Instead, accept how you feel. So say yourself loud and clear (not just in thought) yourself:
"Yes, I have made another mistake. That's fine. Everybody makes mistakes."
"Yes, I feel weak and worthless right now. That's okay, because that's just a FEEL. No fact. I allow myself to feel that feeling. "
"Yes, I have just reacted very sensitively to this comment from my colleague. That's okay, because apparently he has hit a sore spot in me. That's why I'm not useless or worth less. "
"Yes, I'm having a lot of trouble motivating myself. That's okay, because I'm adorable as I am. I allow myself to be a little slower and less concentrated, even if I am not as strong and productive as the other expects me to be. It's MY life and I'm allowed to live it in my OWN speed. "
Acceptance is always something positive. Acceptance is always something good. Of course, through my own depression, I know how difficult acceptance can be. In this article I only scratch on the surface.
3. Allow yourself to have setbacks
In a figurative sense, depression is always a wake-up call from your body that you should lovingly deal with yourself again. That you should focus on self-help instead of continuing to work only for your environment, your parents, your partner, your children and your job. The wake-up call that asks you:
"What do YOU really want from life?"
This includes starting to feel your body again, to observe your thoughts and to recognize where you are not living the life you would really like to live.
But despite all efforts, you will always have setbacks. I have that too. BUT I can deal with these setbacks now. I learned WHAT sets off these setbacks WHY these triggers pull me down and, most importantly, WHAT I MUST DO, to make me feel better again.
Do not expect from you that you will be perfect someday. Do not expect from you that your life will be perfect someday. Do not expect from you that you will ever be so strong and confident that nothing will pull you down anymore. Do not expect from you that at some point you will just be happy and satisfied.
Life is a constant ups and downs. If your goal is to always please certain people and eventually be happy, then you will inevitably fail because that is not possible. Allow yourself to have your setbacks.
4. Move your focus away from your mind and into your body
You probably already know this depression very well. Sometimes, out of the blue, you just feel bad, everything turns gray, you get inwardly restless because you do not know what's really going on and how you can finally feel better.
In those moments, (and thousands of others) helped me:
Breathe deeply into this depressive feeling. Imagine that your breathing air flows unhindered through your body and towards this depressive feeling.
Then exhale deeply and try to release a small amount of the inner tension and pain with the exhalation.
Do that until you feel better. This may take several minutes. Do not get impatient. What are a few minutes of conscious suffering as opposed to several hours of overwhelming inner emptiness?
Why does it work?
Every feeling shows in the body. Everything that you perceive as "feeling", you perceive in your body. A lump in the throat, a restlessness in the legs, a stinging in the chest, a tingling in the stomach ... every single feeling you find in the body again. That's why in depressive episodes it also helps very little to get upset or to look for solutions to your problems. Because then you are trapped in the HEAD, in your mind, in your thoughts. But the real feeling is in your body right now, so it helps to direct your focus into it.
Self-help with depression is not always an effective science. No golden step-by-step plan. Certain methods will often help you, but then there will be days when nothing seems to work. Do not despair. Allow yourself to have these days. Shut down a gear and accept that you are not that efficient right now.
Your drive and joy of life will return when you feel better.