The difference between sadness (ex. grieving a loss) and depression is that depression impedes your life and things you do. It doesn’t necessary connect to a specific event and can be triggered by something difficult but persists. It makes it hard or impossible to work and take care of yourself or others, or take pleasure in things you used to. You may feel hopeless about your life and your future. Things can look positive on the outside but does not match your internal feeling. The “gray fog” of depression is especially difficult because it saps the energy you need to have the strength to reach out for help.
Paying attention to yourself
Depression is a signal that something is not right inside and for you to pay attention to yourself. Our natural reaction to pain is to get away from it. And we often do. People develop different ways to push away their difficult feelings. It can be through making yourself busy – work, addictive or compulsive behaviors – to temporarily seek relief. It’s like a hidden unattended wound. When we open that wound it will hurt more on the beginning. Feeling more pain is not your goal but in the long term will help to heal the hidden wound.
Depression is not a reflection on your character
Are you angry or disappointed with yourself about feeling depressed and unable to be as productive or in control as you wish in your life? Depression is one of the most common problems in our culture and assumed to be sign of weakness and excessive emotion. This belief makes you hide from yourself and others to feel acceptable. Seeing how you feel has nothing to do with the strength of your character allows you to be more open and compassionate towards yourself. When you see someone who you care about is hurting your instinct is to help them and be kind to them. This instinct is often turned off when it comes to people who suffer from depression.
There is no quick fix or a trick to depression. Accepting the way you are ( even if you don’t like the way you feel) is very important though understandably difficult. Realize it takes time to figure out ways for you to be helped and to go through the process of healing. Accepting your feelings and state of mind at this moment in your life is validating who you are and moving towards healing.
Finding someone to honestly talk about your struggle gets you out of your head and gives you room to breathe and often gives you a perspective on your situation. You may need professional help whether psychotherapy, group support, medication or some combination of these. Remember you have choices you can make towards recovery even if it feels hopeless to you in the present.