Developing the resilience needed to cope with depression
Agatha Penney explores the feelings of depression and the routes to dealing with it
epression creeps in when we least expect it. The genesis of it is usually followed by many symptoms and signals that we’re not aware of. Usually, depression doesn’t attack us out of the blue, it doesn’t ambush us suddenly like the flu or a fever. Depression, as its name suggests, sits there in a concave, hollow part of our inner selves and awaits the right conditions to thrive and expand.
Depression often stems from everyday life problems, the ones we are all going through, but some of us will experience additional struggles to the daily challenges. These supplementary ‘extras’ may appear in the form of illnesses, loss, dramatic change, trauma and many others that can create the ideal base for depression to occur and take hold. What happens next is the acute sadness, lethargy, lack of energy to perform the most basic tasks, withdrawal from daily activities and the need to be left alone; just to name a few.
Depression is a state that is perfectly ordinary for a short period of time. It's physically impossible to feel persistently high and happy but, nevertheless, if it continues to an extent that we're no longer managing it then it's time to take action.
According Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown “good mental wellbeing doesn’t mean that we don’t experience hardship and difficulties, but that we develop resilience to cope with it”
There’s plenty of self-help to be found to assist when you’re feeling depressed. Obviously talking to family and friends can be a good way forward if they’re able to fully understand what you need. For most of us, the best way forward is talking therapy with a qualified and experienced counsellor or psychotherapist who not only treats you with respect and understanding but can also challenge you with constructive support.
Last year I was personally involved in a project with the magazine ‘Psychologies’ where we organised workshops to discuss the most accessible 10 steps to a happier life. Researchers have proven these steps to be crucial factors in recovering from sadness and depression. As a sneak preview these are:
- Be active
- Keep learning
- Be mindful
I will be elaborating on each of these in this series