There are a lot of misconceptions about depression, and people often misunderstand that true depression is an illness. People use the word “depression” to describe days when they feel down. They use it in response to a tough day. Actual depression requires proper attention and treatment.
If you’re depressed, it can be incredibly frustrating to hear things like “Just get over it”, “You’re being really dramatic”, “You have to be strong”, “Learn to deal with it”, and the worst offender is “Happiness is a choice”. You might start to think ‘Why can’t I just get over it?”
The therapists at Cohesive Therapy NYC understand how invalidating this can feel, and have outlined some reasons why you can’t just “get over” depression.
It’s An Illness
Depression is an illness, an illness that you have little control over, just like any other illness. Nobody tells people with broken bones to get over their pain. So why should depressed people be expected to simply “get over” theirs? Always remember that your pain is valid, and getting the support you need by speaking to a mental health professional can help you cope.
The Brain Is In Control
Studies have shown that people experiencing depression have symptoms controlled by an unconscious emotional process. It is usually beyond their control. Depression is an incredibly complex disease caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and sociological factors.
The Symptoms Can Be Debilitating
Symptoms of depression can manifest themselves in both physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms can include things like nausea, headaches, restlessness, fatigue, and insomnia, which can make it really hard to even get through your day.
You can’t wish it away
Nobody likes being depressed. Just because you want to feel better and may be motivated to overcome your symptoms, there is, unfortunately, no “quick fix” to treating depression.
You Can’t Always Pretend
Sometimes you may feel like you are expected to plaster a huge smile on your face and pretend like everything is okay. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to just suppress your emotions and pretend like they don’t exist. It is simply not how the brain works, and over time it can be incredibly isolating to feel like you have to “hide” your true emotions from others.
Depression Isn’t “One Size Fits All”
People experience depression in different ways and exhibit different symptoms. Just because some individuals can go about their daily activities efficiently doesn’t mean they’re not struggling with depression. Try not to compare yourself to other people, who may also be battling depression but may display it differently. Everyone’s experience of depression is unique, and people cope in very different ways.
So, is there anything that you can do about your depression?
Yes, there is. In fact, there are small yet impactful behavioral changes that you can make in order to help alleviate your depression (and at the same time, modify your mindset):
- Practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Depression is rooted in the brain. Take proactive steps to focus on something that you are grateful for on a daily basis. It can begin to make a shift in your mindset.
This can be something as small as being grateful to have the last bit of your favorite cereal and milk. Or, things that feel like a bigger fete when dealing with depression. Like, being grateful for being able to get out of bed that morning. Practicing gratitude is not just about the big things. On the contrary, it is really about the little things that we often miss.
- Get yourself moving. Getting any type of exercise might feel like the farthest thing that you would choose to do. But, if you can, get at least a short or brisk walk into your daily routine. It’ll allow you a change of scenery and provide you with other things to focus on or take notice of.
This would actually also be a great opportunity to practice gratitude. Notice things that you haven’t before, and see if you can find gratitude in that experience. Maybe it’s the warmth of the sun shining on your face as you take a walk down your favorite path. Maybe, a squirrel enjoying a little treat that she just found, or a budding flower in the middle of a really cold day.
- Therapy can help. Despite how difficult it can be to articulate what you’re feeling, depression is very real and can be very painful. Working with a therapist to explore and process what you’ve been going through is a good start to overcoming your depression. A trained professional can hold the emotional space for you as you go through the healing space and time that you need.