How to Recover From Depression: My Story

Depression is harder than physical illness because it is not obvious to others as you’ve not got a cast on your leg or bandage round your head; therefore it can be harder for people to understand unless they’ve been through it themselves. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to try and understand or that you shouldn’t talk to people about your current feelings.

1) Accepting your feelings

The first, and sometimes hardest, step to recovery is realising and accepting that you are suffering from depression. This can prove one of the biggest obstacles in recovery. It took me quite a long time to realise what was wrong with me and why I was feeling constantly so low. This involved a number of close friends and family members showing concern and recommending I talk to a doctor before I realised how serious it had gotten.

2) Confide in someone

Confide in someone you trust like a close friend or family member, don’t just bottle things up. It’s easy when you are in denial to keep all your feelings to yourself but carrying all that extra weight and stress will not make it go away and will just make things worse. It will cause you more stress and drain you of energy. Often other family members or people you know have suffered from similar feelings too so talk them, it will help relieve some of the burden.

3) Visiting the doctor

When you are experiencing a consistently low mood go and see your doctor. They see a number of patients with these symptoms everyday and so are very experienced in diagnosing and dealing with depression. The appointment will usually involve chatting with you about the feelings and symptoms you have been experiencing and then filling in some questionnaires about how often you feel certain thoughts and emotions. From this the doctor will be able to diagnose whether you are suffering from depression and whether it is mild, moderate or severe. They will then give you advice about what to do next.

4) Treatment

Depending on the severity you won’t necessarily need counselling or medication, if it is mild depression a few changes in your routine may be all you need – more exercise, doing the things you enjoy more, seeing your friends, eating and sleeping better. Moderate and more severe depression often need a combination of counselling therapies, medication and lifestyle changes.

5) Counselling

I would recommend trying counselling before taking any medication. Counselling is a good therapy to begin with, as it can help you talk through and understand your feelings better and where they may have come from in the first place. By doing this you can learn a lot about yourself and by identifying the cause of your depression you can prevent future relapses. I found counselling very useful in the beginning to identify why I was feeling the way I was and it helped me to understand myself better.

6) CBT

CBT stands for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This involves becoming aware of your thoughts (cognitions) and how they influence your behaviour, and also how your behaviour influences your thoughts. You can then implement positive changes into this cycle which will in turn positively affect your thoughts/behaviour. CBT can be done in a number of different ways from online programmes to one on one therapy sessions. I found CBT extremely beneficial when I had come to a standstill with my counselling sessions. After a number of counselling sessions with different counsellors I was finding I had talked about most things or had just ended up repeating myself and I had got to a certain point where I couldn’t seem to make any further improvements. I needed something to give me a push start in my present situation rather than carrying on looking at my past experiences and how they were affecting me. This is where CBT really helped – giving me more of a structure and routine to follow to help me get things done and get on with my life. It tackled things like my weekly routine, sleeping patterns and time management using positive thinking and actions to achieve more and get things going again.

7) Medication

Medication will not solve all your problems on its own; it is most beneficial when used alongside other therapies such as counselling and CBT. The purpose of anti-depressants is to lift your mood slightly so that you can make the other changes needed in your life. Medication should never be a first point of call unless the depression is extremely severe. However sometimes it is necessary if other therapies are not enough on their own.

There are also many other therapies available such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), hypnosis, meditation, life coaching – the list is endless.

Rachel Sharman

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These suggestions have a track record of working for people in this situation. We recommend that you try these tips and see which ones are suitable for you. You may find that other approaches work for you too. Depending on your circumstances, a consultation with your GP may be advised.


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