As a former employee and current volunteer of an outpatient counseling provider, I know how psychologically and physically challenging mood disorders can be. Clearly, there are many mood disorders that problematize a person’s ability to live a productive and pleasurable life. Yet depression can be a particularly difficult challenge to overcome because it robs the individual of happiness and the sense of organicity and life that result from experiencing continual joy. Nevertheless, individuals who struggle with depression can overcome it in several ways. Here are two coping strategies that I think will help you.
1. Maintain Supportive Relationships.
Although many people understand that humans are social creatures who learn and grow through being in relationship with one another, some individuals do not understand that this principle holds true even when one is depressed. Oftentimes, depressed individuals seek to alienate themselves from others during periods of extreme sadness because they do not want to be a burden. Yet seasons of extreme sadness are often greatly alleviated by the presence of an individual who understands that you are struggling and can provide you with the encouragement and love that is integral to grappling with and eventually overcoming the depression. In their own discussion of the importance of cultivating supportive relationships with others if you have depression, Helpguide.org advises individuals to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. This is good advice because it ensures that you will consistently be in an environment with others, thereby systematically precluding yourself from struggling with your depression alone.
The reason exercise can play a role in alleviating the symptoms of depression is because physical activity results in the release of a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical responsible for generating a feeling of general well-being. In addition to pointing this out, MayoClinic.com reports that exercise can reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.
Although depression can be a very difficult mood disorder to overcome, healing and recovery is possible. In addition to implementing the two strategies listed above, individuals struggling with depression can seek the advice of a counselor who may temporarily prescribe medicine that can alleviate some of the severe symptoms that the mood disorder gives rise to. Doing all of these things at the same time may rapidly speed up your road to recovery. Stay strong!