Sometimes it helps me to visualize my depression as an entity that I must vanquish. Before my depression renders me a lifeless shell I must weaken it. But how? It is my belief that any negative “force” in life grows bigger and unmanageable if we feed it. Depression needs fuel to keep it going. This analogy can work if we examine which of our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions provide fodder for the beast of depression. If we cease to fuel the monster it will die or at least be diminished to a size which we can more easily handle.
Here are some ways to deprive your depression from gathering strength:
1. Deprive your depression of purposelessness.
Certain phrases stick in your brain as in “I have no purpose” or “life has no meaning.” Depression is whispering these incantations in your ear. If you listen you will be lured in to believe. Once you believe you will make these otherwise throwaway thoughts your mantra. Starve your depression by not listening. The obvious rebuttal is that you DO have purpose. Maybe you haven’t found it yet. Perhaps it is difficult to enact your purpose. But you do have one.
How does one find purpose and meaning? Explore your gifts. Create. Build. Share your talents and gifts with others. Teach. Mentor. Volunteer. Be still and listen to your gut. What is it telling you that you have always wanted to do? Look at the people who have made the greatest difference in the world. Usually these are people that have been broken many times over. But in the end they challenged the belief that they didn’t matter. They found meaning beyond the pain and suffering in life.
De-fuel your depression by believing that you matter and have a purpose.
2. Deprive your depression of biological vulnerability.
It is my belief that an entrenched depression needs biological help. Sometimes we give our depression fuel by neglecting our physical body. When we feel physically unwell we are automatically more at risk for developing depression. In many instances an untreated medical condition can not only exacerbate depression but be a causal factor. An untreated thyroid condition, diabetes, and heart disease are just several medical conditions which are associated with depression.
Then too, there are elements of our lifestyle which can contribute to growing depression. When you don’t get the vitamins and nutrients you need from food and supplements depression can grow. Certain vitamin deficiencies such as a Vitamin B-12 deficiency have been linked to depression. Not sleeping well can be another factor in increasing your risk for depression. Individuals who do not get any exercise are also sitting ducks for depression.
De-fuel your depression by giving your body what it needs. See your doctor about how to treat any medical conditions you may have. Be diligent about eating right, getting a good night’s sleep, and getting some daily exercise.