In reading and studying depression, in an effort to overcome it myself, and to help others who are also dealing with depression, I found that there are at least 8 areas of your life that are affected by depression. They are not a cause of depression, but may definitely contain habits that are keeping you in your depressed state.
In a previous post, I discuss how medication may be able to help those of us who are depressed feel somewhat better, but to achieve a deeper longer relief from depression, we must learn to undo some of the habits we have built that may be keeping us moving forward.
By learning and understanding these negative habits in our lives, we may then take steps to slowly change the negative habits into positive ones that will help support our healing and overcoming depression.
8 areas of life that affect depression*
Emotions- This is an obvious one, but it doesn’t just deal with feeling depressed. We may have problems feeling other types of emotions. We may choose to feel nothing at all due to the pain it may cause us. We typically have learned some self-defeating ways of handling our emotions.
Behavior- Many depressives are also perfectionists. We feel that we have to do everything, and do it well. We may attempt to do something and not succeed as we think we ought, so we give up trying to do anything. Or, maybe we get a burst of energy and think we can change everything in our lives. We start a diet, exercise program, go back to school, start a new business, and organize our house, all in the same week. When we fall short of what we think we should be able to do, we quit everything and decide it isn’t worth the trouble because we will just fail anyway.
Thought processes- We all have thought processes. Many we learned from our parents, or our experiences growing up. Many times these processes are not correct, but to us they are, and we make every decision based upon these. Many of these thoughts tend to be subconscious and must be discovered and examined for recovery to continue.
Stress- Stress keeps us in a constant fight-or-flight mode, which can have horrible effects on the body and the mind. Ongoing stress without healthy coping skills can definitely contribute to depression, and keep us there if we allow it to. Mindfulness is one of the best ways to learn to handle stress in a more healthy manner.
Relationships- Close relationships for depressives can be difficult. We hurt deeply inside and long for someone to help us and heal it, but we are so ashamed of our feelings we don’t open up and let people know. We tend to expect people to reject us, so we may reject others first to keep from experiencing the pain of rejection.
The body- Depressed people tend to be out of touch with their bodies. We overwork, we overeat or eat too little. We don’t sleep well. We don’t exercise. We push ourselves harder than we should, or we think we aren’t capable of doing anything.
The self- Depressives don’t usually have a good sense of self esteem. We look to others to help build our self esteem, but then feel guilty for placing so much burden on others. We want to feel loved but feel we are unlovable. We lack confience in our own judgement. We need to learn how to set priorities, to trust our decisions, and to take pride in our accomplishments.
Spiritually- As a Christian that also suffers from depression, I deal with the guilt that I think I should not feel depressed. I also must learn to depend on God as a source of strength and healing rather than trying to do all of this on my own. Many of my self-defeating habits are of my own doing, therefore I feel like I should “fix” them myself. I must learn that God is standing by, watching and waiting for me to admit that I need His help and cannot do this on my own.
Are there certain areas in your life where you can already see where you may have some habits you need to work on?
The book, Undoing Depression has some really great steps for doing just what I am writing about here. I will be writing more from this book, however, you may want your own copy. You can purchaseUndoing Depression at many good book stores.