Why overcoming depression can be so hard

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 purchase Undoing Depression here.(affiliate link)

*If you are not sure if you are depressed and you are not critical, or if you are suffering or numb, please call your doctor for an evaluation asap!
*If, however, you are in critical condition, call someone today! Here is the number for The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.
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10 comments to Why overcoming depression can be so hard

  • I always try and remember to let go and let God.

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  • Wow! Not sure where to start with how many levels this post touches me on. I was *diagnosed* as depressed about 4 1/2 years ago. I suspect the truth goes MUCH further back than that. Drugs (prescription I promise) have helped but depression is a wily, and wiggly, opponent! The last year has been the worst. I have had to battle suicidal impulses (yes I have been open with my friends and family) alongside a miserable work situation. I finally got the right chemical balance only to have work throw a sucker punch at me. Finally figured out that staying where I was miserable was NOT a strong choice … it was a stupid one. And God gave me peace with leaving. Unfortunately my insurance went with the job and I cannot afford some of the meds I am on for depression/chronic pain without it. Insurance ends April 30 and I am already tempted to worry … which as you have rightly pointed out is one path straight back into the pit. Trying to surrender the worries, and my health, to God and take one day at a time!
    Beth Zimmerman recently posted..HodgePodgin’My Profile

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  • What a great post…and I followed your link to the mindfulness post as well and love it! What a great venue to provide people with information (and referrals) with answers (and help) for questions we don’t want to ask.

    I am “clinically depressed” and suffer from PTSD due to an abusive marriage. There are days when I let it get the best of me…but I try not to let it define me…because who I am is a daughter of Christ, not a victim…

    Thanks again!
    Jill recently posted..Spring BreakageMy Profile

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    bernicewood Reply:

    Jill,
    So much for your kind words! I am glad I could be helpful. I hope that you will read my other current posts about depression, and ways to overcome.
    I definitely agree with being the daughter of Christ, and not allowing the enemy or my own emotions to get the best of me.
    Blessings on your journey!

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  • Hi Bernice,

    First of all I want to thank you for sharing such helpful article which is free and very informative. I myself looking on ways how can I overcome my personal problem regarding depression and upon reading on the 8 areas of life, I guess the body which is my main reason for my depression because I always work more than 8 hours a day and I only sleep for 3-4 hours, it’s not because I want to, it is because it is needed as per instructed by my boss.
    Vhinz recently posted..Clinical DepressionMy Profile

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  • Having a good support system would really help someone over come depression. Also it would help if you have activities that can divert your attention from being depressed.

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  • First of all thanks for posting this!

    I’ve suffered from depression on two seperate occassions now and I still can’t figure out why so many people think that it is not a medical problem as opposed to a state of mind!
    Amanda recently posted..Why you have to have gap insurance coverMy Profile

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  • Thomas

    Hello, I suffer from a deep depression and I turn to a lot of things that has caused so many problems I just hope no one has to go through what I do non stop always thinking worrying about this that till you just want to lay down and never move till death just takes you over I don’t believe I will ever beat this

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  • [...] be good again. That can be the chemical imbalance of the depression talking, but it can also be poor habits of thinking that we have cultivated in our [...]

  • [...] include medication, therapy, nutritional supplements, exercise, prayer and meditation, as well as working to overcome some of the bad habits which would continue to support our depressed [...]

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