Three Tips for Dealing With Clinical Depression
Clinical depression is one of the most common and pervasive mental illnesses in the world. There are various ways to go about treating the condition, such as taking antidepressant medications and attending talk therapy sessions. Those treatments work even better, however, when you incorporate other changes into your life. There’s no one-size-fits-all remedy for any mental illness, and most treatment options work better when you combine them with some DIY methods.
Change the Way You Talk to Yourself
During therapy sessions, a collective realization among people with clinical depression is that the voice in their head tends to be disparaging, condescending, or even aggressive. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt are some of the most common symptoms of clinical depression, so an essential step toward healing is learning to shift the way you talk to yourself. It is vital to avoid “should” language, both in thoughts and spoken words. Sentences like “I should be better” or “This shouldn’t be so hard” do nothing but feed the depression. Clinical depression, like many other mental illnesses, tends to work cyclically. For example, negative and obsessive thought patterns lead to sleeplessness, which leads to exhaustion, which leads to mistakes (like showing up late to work or forgetting about social engagement). And then, you may find yourself back where you started, castigating yourself for your perceived failures.
Another strategy is to envision a five-year-old version of yourself. When you’re struggling with clinical depression, a small mistake like sleeping through your alarm clock can feel like the end of the world, and you probably find that the voice in your head responds with proclamations like, “How can you be so stupid? You’re worthless!” When you become aware of a negative thought spiral taking hold, take a step back and ask yourself, “Would I talk to little kid [INSERT YOUR NAME] like this?” Alternatively, you can ask yourself if you’d talk to your best friend or child like that. Stepping back, assessing how you speak to yourself, and adjusting the tone of your thoughts little by little is a great way to start seeing yourself as what you are: a person deserving of love and kindness.
Foster Healthy Habits
Most experts recommend that your pair of traditional treatments with any variety of lifestyle changes. Working to change your thought patterns is an excellent example of mindfulness and developing a mindfulness routine can be beneficial for everyone, but it can be especially helpful when dealing with a mental illness. Mindfulness can take many forms, and there’s no wrong way to approach it. For starters, you can download an app to help you integrate meditation into your daily life, with sessions as short as 60 seconds. Try meditating first thing in the morning to set yourself up for a productive and intentional day or incorporate a course into your nighttime routine to help you wind down and calm the overwhelming thoughts that you may feel after a long day. Other ways to practice mindfulness include journaling and yoga.
Yoga is an excellent choice because it helps you incorporate both mindfulness and exercise into your life. Being physically active is the second lifestyle change that can make a hugely positive impact on your mental health. Any physical activity will work; the most important thing is that you find something you enjoy because this will help you stick with it. Exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood, and it can even improve your confidence and help push you to have meaningful social interactions. Plus, getting regular exercise can combat several of the physical symptoms of clinical depression, like sleeplessness, lack of appetite, and headaches.
Lastly, try to make a schedule and stick to it as much as possible, even on the weekends or days when you don’t have to work or go to school. Simple changes like sticking to a sleep schedule and making sure to eat regularly and drink enough water can be enough to make an impact on your mental health. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day; eat regular, healthy meals (at least three) at the same time each day; and drink at least eight cups of water between the time when you wake up and go to sleep. Most importantly, remember that you will probably “fail” sometimes (and maybe a lot at first), but you shouldn’t look at it as a failure. When you fall out of your routine, practice speaking to yourself with compassion: “That’s okay. I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Look Into Other Treatment Options
Many people find relief from the symptoms of clinical depression with a combination of medication, talk therapy, and lifestyle changes, like implementing exercise and mindfulness routines. But around 40 percent of people with clinical depression don’t respond well enough to traditional treatments. People with treatment-resistant depression end up feeling even more hopeless, and it may seem like there are no options left.
Fortunately, there are other treatment methods available, like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), an innovative therapy approved by the FDA specifically for helping those with treatment-resistant depression. TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for controlling mood.
Mindful Health Solutions, a TMS therapy provider with locations in California, is known for its patient-centered approach and often uses TMS therapy in conjunction with medications and traditional talk therapy.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still haven’t found relief, don’t give up yet; contact Mindful Health Solutions to see if TMS therapy is right for you.