Understanding and Overcoming Depression by Tony Bates

This article was inspired by Tony Bates's Understanding and Overcoming Depression . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How to Defeat Depression

“In spite of its frequency – depression has been called the common cold of psychiatry – only one in 10 of the people who become depressed seek help professionally.”

Unlike temporary negative feelings, clinical depression affects a person’s life in the long-term. This can affect your work, social life and family ties. Those who suffer from clinical depression share these five factors in common:

  1. Constant sadness.
  2. A lack of motivation and energy.
  3. Indifference to once enjoyable activities.
  4. Insomnia and altered eating patterns.
  5. Difficulty focusing and remembering tasks.

Symptoms of depression are interdependent, as the body, mind and emotions are affected simultaneously. Depression affects four areas of a person’s life:

  1. “Thoughts” – Depressed people needlessly criticize themselves, leading to increasingly negative thoughts and self-image.
  2. “Feelings” – Anxiety and guilt disrupt the emotional life of a depressed person.
  3. “Physical symptoms” – Sleep and eating habits suffer a person develops clinical depression.
  4. “Behavior” – Younger individuals with depression may exhibit disruptive behavior, while adults will become irascible and apathetic. If the situation worsens, alcohol and drugs may appear useful forms of self-medication to those affected.

Though depression affects all types of people, 25-65 year old women suffer from depression more so than any other group. The most common causes of depression are “negative early life experiences, rigid rules for living and stressful social pressures.” A combination of environmental, biological and personal issues can exacerbate the problem of depression.

People who suffer from depression convince themselves that their negative feelings will never come to an end. Rather than letting depression rule your life, break down seemingly insurmountable goals into simple, achievable steps. Remind yourself that you have worth and keep in mind that life can give you lucky breaks as often as disasters.

Lean on friends for support. Studies show that people with close friends are four times less likely to develop depression than those without a supportive foundation.

Take a personalized approach to managing depressing thoughts and feelings. Religion, exercise and sleep have helped people overcome depression. Though your problem most likely isn’t due to purely a biochemical imbalance, medication may be necessary to help you deal with depression. Counseling can help you defeat depression also.

Take these three steps help overcome depression:

  1. “Reduce stress” – Take a vacation when it is needed, change your schedule if you think it will help and eliminate unneeded activities that cause more stress than benefits.
  2. “Challenge your negative thinking” – Watch out for personal trends and counteract pessimism when it creeps up on you.
  3. “Keep a recovery journal” – Diaries are especially helpful, and they demonstrate to you just how much progress you have made.

Though no one is truly happy 24/7, being honest with yourself and taking steps to end your depression will help you live an enjoyable life and reach your full potential. Don’t wait for life to change on its own, defeat depression now by being proactive and understanding your self-worth.

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