Can we really defeat depression all by ourselves?

images (3)

Meditation, doing exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, adult colouring books, grounding techniques…..

These are just some of the coping methods that we can equip ourselves with in our battles with anxiety and depression. Some of these I have been doing for years. Others are ones which I have been made aware of because of the myriad of  helpful and talented bloggers on here.

Yet, despite all of these options being available to us, is it actually possible to defeat this illness by use of just your own internal resources? 

Personally speaking, I like to think that I am pretty adept at maintaining a healthy style that minimises the impact of a depressive episode. I weight train and box on a regular basis. I try to meditate at least a few times a week. I drink at least a few cups of green tea ( more on why it’s useful for your mental well being here) on a daily basis.  I’ve even vastly decreased my alcohol intake – possibly my hardest obstacle of all. But guess what?

I still get depressed

The truth is I am a very closed off person. I always have been, and to some extent, I probably always will be. Its been a long time coming, but as of recent months I have accepted that, while I consider myself a strong and highly rational person, I cannot defeat this illness all by myself. So in light of this, I decided to take the following steps to remind myself that I am, in fact, not a terrible human being, and that it is okay to ask for help when I need it:

  • I sent off an email the other day to IAPT, a programme that supports the frontline NHS in implementing National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. It simply stated my current situation and my doctors recommendation that I engage with their service. I have engaged with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) before, but that was quite some time ago. While it is just a formal email, I hope that it is a small step which access to a therapist who will allow me to vent and, when necessary, reinterpret my negative thoughts about certain situations.
  • I asked my mum to make a doctors appointment for me – a prospect I would have reacted with some measure of shame initially, considering that as a young adult I thought I should be more than capable of making a phone call to my local GP surgery. Yet this time, I felt no shame at all. I just accepted it. Just like if someone who had broken their arm needed help with opening a door, my illness dictates that on bad days, I might need help with talking to strangers on the phone.

However this is only my story. Perhaps your story does involve you managing your depressive and/or anxious symptoms all by yourself. If so, how do you manage to do so? Or perhaps like me, you came to terms with having to accept some kind of positive, external influence in order to cope with your illness. Whatever your view, I would love to hear from you!

21 thoughts on “Can we really defeat depression all by ourselves?

  1. I hope are you doing ok? I know it’s not the essence of your post, but I just have to tell you that I still call on my mum to make phonecalls on my behalf occasion…and we live in different countries & I am a parent myself!

    Like

    1. I have had a patchy month but overall I’m not doing too bad. I’ve just accepted that for me personally, therapy now and then helps keep me on track . Thanks for telling me about your mum – It helps me realise that there is no shame in how I’m feeling 🙂

      How is your son doing by the way? I hope he’s not getting hounded by daring to make his own decisions and choosing not to follow the crowd!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m happy to hear you are ok. My little wizard is doing amazing. He is completely comfortable walking his own path & seems to just take any criticism in his stride…I’m learning much about life from him lol

        Like

  2. Hi, thanks for this post. Like you I do a lot of things in my daily life to combat my depression /my depressions is a part of or in addition to my BPD) I train daily at the gym, kickbox and compete, go running, read a lot, write (journal, DBT exercises and my memoir) I also have a great mentor who happens to be a psychologist although she is there for me to talk to and vent to and doesn´t practice psychology with me. I don´t drink or take drugs (anymore haha) and I find if I do all this stuff daily then I keep the depression away. I have alos begun meditating, practicing mindfulness and meditation. Despite all this my BPD symptoms sometimes hit me out of the blue and then I can rocket back down into a depression but nowadays it will only last hour or at the most a day.
    I do believe we can heal ourselves from depression but that it takes a lot of tools and that we need someone to talk to. Years ago, I did take anti depressants and although I have to admit they scraped me back from rock bottom, they were never a long term holistic solution and managed to deaden all my positives too. Depression feeds on itself too, ie we have some depressive thoughts, we feel sad, we think about our sadness and more thoughts, darker thoughts appear. We feel depressed and slump. We feel tired, lethargic, scared it is coming back. It feeds and drags us down. I believe if we can get hold of our thoughts through mindfulness or some such praactice we can catch ourselves before we fall into the sinking sand.
    At one time I was suicidal, now I cope and manage and smile a lot but I have to use my “tools” daily.

    Like

    1. Firstly I admire your determination and willpower to keep doing what you do on a daily basis! I am getting better at controlling my symptoms – alas, I am off work at present (As I’m a TA) so having more free time means I have more of a temptation to drink! I might do an entry on alcohol/other drugs some day. Seeing as it’s a form of self medication for many people.

      Exactly. It’s all about catching those thoughts. It used to take me days to be able to do this. Now it takes a few hours usually. It’s really inspiring to read how you have battled your illness and it sounds like as long as you keep fighting it, you will prevail. Thanks a lot for commenting and being so honest about your experience 🙂

      Like

  3. Depression is something which makes us doubt often times when it is sitting in a corner relaxing, that does we Really have depression or are we just some attention seekers.
    I don’t know if we can defeat it because I haven’t yet, but yes, I am Writing a novel purely based on defeating depression. It’ll be happening inside my head while I write it down.
    So, we can’t defeat it but we can keep it at bay.

    Like

    1. I can see where you’re coming from when you feel like you’re attention seeking when dealing with depression. As much as my family and friends encourage me to speak out when I am having an episode, it’s easier said than done a lot of the time! I just get that sense that they will think I am looking for attention if I keep bringing it up.

      I’m intrigued by the idea of your novel – it sounds like it will be a good read! One that will probably inspire people to delve into their own minds and follow your example!

      Thanks so much for commenting – and good luck with the novel!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really do not think I can manage my depression by myself. I need my mother to make me food when I don’t have an appetite and I need my best friends to love me when I cannot love myself.

    Like

    1. Hey Ela Kaimo. Thanks for being so honest with your response. I sometimes need help from my loved ones too, as demonstrated in this entry. I hope you are able to do so and not feel any sense of embarrassment about it. It’s a sign of strength – not weakness.

      Like

  5. I don’t think I can handle depression all by myself..
    Usually I just try to not bother anyone with my depression by asking them help..I don’t know why..I keep on telling to myself that I can get some help but I don’t feel like asking..Is it just me or have you felt like that too?
    I just usually shut myself and cry everything out..

    Like

    1. I can certainly relate to that feeling. I used to do a lot of that whilst I was at university. I just hid myself away from my friends because they could never understand what I was going through. It’s only really been in recent months that I’ve pushed myself to say something when the goings get bad. Sometimes in depth, but more often than not I will say I feel really depressed/anxious at that moment in time and nothing else – my loved ones tend to understand.

      It took some time to get to that point however. I would suggest giving it a go. While people can never fully comprehend the severity of the situation, just knowing that someone knows and cares is a huge help. Try and take small steps at first. E.g – if you feel anxious then just mention it in a casual way, just like you would if you had a headache or something like that.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to drop me a message any time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you..at least your loved ones could understand and that is truly a blessing..! Sure I would love to and will keep that in mind for future..
        Is this your only blog or any other social medias that I can find you..truly enjoy your blog!!
        Keep writing!

        Like

  6. Honestly, I don’t believe anyone can fight their depression alone. The concept of being alone indicates a certain amount of cutting oneself off from others and isolating. As you already know, this only leads to more significant feelings of depression. Just as the saying about taking a village to raise a child, so too for someone experiencing depression. We are all unique and require/need varying levels of help. The key is finding out what works for YOU. It sounds as though you have a good grasp of this and that puts you light years ahead of most. Keep up the good work. Remember, you are worth it!

    Like

    1. Hi Julie. Firstly thanks a lot for the praise -it’s taken me such a long time to get to that point but I think the hard work has been worth it! I also tend to agree with your assessment of my question. Isolation for long periods of time is rarely healthy. Though on the other hand I suppose it depends on the severity of your mental illness. If it’s clinical depression for example, then I would find it highly unlikely that you could solve it by yourself -if it’s a mild bout of depression then perhaps it’s possible. As you rightly say, it all comes down to the individual! 🙂

      Like

  7. I took a decade or two to get to the bottom of my problems, but I’m depression free now and have been for 2 or 3 decades. Everyone has their own methods, but mine was to go deeply into childhood stuff with therapists, to utilise journalling, taking a little medication, CBT, and also now I meditate. It all helps. Finding love (a supportive partner) and having children also worked, but the latter brings its own problems too. Good luck with your journey. I write about mine on my blog at Write4publish.com.

    Like

  8. All that helps depression and anxiety, especially a brisk walk but it’s momentary it doesn’t last. I live in Portugal, Europe, so things here are bit different and getting some help isn’t that easy especially when we are unemployed like myself. Since my youth that I tried many treatments but without a positive effect. Now that I’m older I’ve learned to know myself and the origin of my issues bit better. Having a chronic illness doesn’t help, childhood trauma (not having being loved) and noise! Noise is the main trigger of my depression these days because it prevents me from sleeping, from focusing to write my novels, it causes me panic attacks and drives me insane. As for me, since I can’t afford any kind of treatment, I learned to live with my FM pains and depression, I try to analyse my problems and give them answers, I try my best to defeat depression. Sometimes I feel I can do it but in the end I realize that roots are too deep. Yes we can help ourselves a bit but we also need professional help. I do hope you’ll recover from yours while you’re so young

    Like

  9. Self-awareness is very helpful. I was in a position of not trusting my own judgment for many years so it helped to have close friends and family and a counselor and doctor and God to get me grounded. Same as when healing from a bad illness/accident or the like. Sometimes your body is too busy working on healing and my own resources are not always enough.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s