Depression can slowly takeover a person’s routine, often making it difficult to go to work or even get out of bed.
A clinical state of depression can be intense, making it hard for some to balance their relationships or social life, often making them feel worthless, weak or sometimes suicidal, said Toronto clinical psychologist Dr. Maneet Bhatia.
But there are others with mild symptoms of the mental health illness: they may be “high-functioning” on the outside, but carry the burdens of feeling depressed from time-to-time.
“Mental health doesn’t exist in a vacuum, we have to live in a world where we have to continously think about it,” he told Global News. “Feeling depressed and being clinically depressed are two different (but common) things.”
Is there really a ‘cure?’
Bhatia said when people are diagnosed with depression, most healthcare professionals will set up a plan to overcome it. It’s different for everyone, he added, and many people go into it thinking depression can be a lifelong battle.
“Cure is a medical word, but mental health and depression isn’t like a broken bone,” he continued, adding that there are ways to “cure” your symptoms, but it doesn’t mean you are cured forever.
“Cure implies it is black and white and it’s not always the case,” he said. “You can manage it and overcome it, but it still means you have to take care of it.”
Steps to overcome depression
In a post for Psychology Today, psychotherapist Linda Esposito said if you want to overcome depression, you need to resist the urge to live in the past. “Time spent reliving, rewriting and recreating the past is like purchasing a one-way ticket to the dark depths of despair,” she wrote.
“This insidious mental habit is as much a threat to emotional well-being as any. Self-loathing or blaming others will not get you on the right side of feeling better, any more than believing the answer is found at the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels.
“You cannot do life differently if you don’t change your thought process.”
Dr. Jane Framingham, in article for PsychCentral, added that overcoming depression requires taking baby steps. “If you feel good one day, and decide to try and start a new business or make a new friend and you fail, it could be a forceful setback in overcoming depression,” she wrote in October 2018. “Instead, try things out slowly, and experiment with change one step at a time.”
She also noted that not all paths to overcome depression are a straight line. “There will be setbacks in your journey recovering from depression, no matter if you focus on going it alone (e.g., without seeking formal treatment), or even if you are in treatment with an antidepressant or psychotherapy,” she continued.
“Take the setbacks in stride, though, and keep them in perspective — it wouldn’t be work if it was simple to recover from depression. Depression recovery is a process that will take time, but as long as you stick with the goal of change, you can overcome depression in due time.”
Here are some other tips Bhatia recommended:
Recognize the signs: Signs of depression in children and adults can include irritable moods, feeling of guilt or worthlessness, losing interest in things over time or trouble concentrating. Other symptoms of depression, Bhatia added, include loss of appetite, change in sleeping habits or isolation.
Reach out to your support network: Once you recognize the signs, reach out to a mental health professional and your close family and friends. Bhatia said this allows people in your network to check in on you and also allows you to update them.
Find the treatment that works for you: This one will vary depending on the person, but once your healthcare provider recommends a treatment option (medicine, mindfulness, therapy or all of the above), take this treatment seriously.
Try lifestyle changes: Sometimes managing or overcoming depression means making lifestyle changes. This includes eating healthier, getting more sleep, staying active or even picking up a hobby.
Be mindful of your thinking patterns: One of the biggest ways to advocate for your own health is to be mindful of how you feel, he added. This can be achieved through therapy, but sometimes this means keeping track of your day-to-day and seeing how your treatments or therapy are working for you.
Where to get help
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.