Finding what works for you
Every person is affected by depression differently, so some strategies will work better than others for each individual person. This page shows how you can find what will work for you.
Don’t be all-or-nothing about the strategies, though! Plan small steps at first. Because of the mutually-reinforcing effect of the depression habit spiral even very small changes can set off a chain effect that can make a big difference.
The more strategies you try, the more chance you have of finding what works for you in turning the depression spiral around.
Ask yourself: “What is the smallest change I can make that will make the biggest difference?” The answer to this will be different for everybody.
Use your imagination
Imagining your depression-free life is another useful strategy:
- Imagine what you would like your life to look like on a day to day basis.
- Write it down in lots of detail (warning: this might be quite painful as the contrast with your present life is likely to be stark).
- Now decide what would be a small first step in the right direction.
- Challenge your all-or-nothing thinking – you only have to see the first step, not the whole route. Every little bit counts!
A depression-resistant way of life
As you try out strategies and start to turn things around, you will have better and worse days. When you’ve started to feel quite a bit better for a while and then depression sneaks up on you and you have another low day the contrast can be particularly painful.
"There is no quick fix or easy answer – it might take time to find the things that help you best. Everyone experiences depression and low moods differently, and therefore requires different support. But when you find the right thing for you it can make such a huge difference to your quality of life, so it’s crucial to keep trying." - Dani 21, Southern England
You might find yourself all too easily persuaded by the old all-or-nothing depressed thinking – “You’re back to square one. You’ve been kidding yourself. Nothing works. What’s the point?”
But getting to grips with depression – like most things – is not an all-or-nothing thing. It may not be possible to eradicate some of the factors making you vulnerable to depression (eg. a genetic tendency to low serotonin levels).
Building new constructive habits into your daily life can offer significant resistance to depression.
Take it slow
Changing a habit does take time. You won’t shake off all your depressed habits without time and effort. But, however low depression has brought you, it is absolutely possible to get into more constructive, happier habits and to find the right strategies for you to make sure that depression affects you as little as possible from now on.
Make sure you seek professional and other help if you are moderately or severely affected by depression, especially if you feel you are at risk of harming yourself – all these strategies are easier to use if you have support. http://studentsagainstdepression.org