How do you cope with depression in order to function?

I’m sorry you are feeling this way. I know it’s terrible. Let me try to shed some light on your situation so that you have an idea what’s going on.

The reason you are having a lot of negative thoughts is because your mind is idle.

The reason your mind is idle is because you don’t have energy to do anything.

The reason you don’t have energy to do anything is because you are channeling the bulk of your energy into suppressing your emotions, as a result of your negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts -> negative emotions -> use energy to suppress emotions -> no energy to do anything else -> mind is idle -> more negative thoughts

The fear that you will not be normal is one such negative thought. It’s all connected, but it can be hard to see when you’re in the thick of it. It’s all one big haze, one neverending cloud of darkness.

The first thing to realise is that you cannot trust your own thoughts.

That’s scary, I know.

But when you’re in the midst of a depressive episode, you cannot trust your own mind. That means some of the things that your mind thinks are real, some are not, and you are unable to differentiate which is which.

In such times when you can’t even trust your own mind, who can you trust?

  • your parents
  • your spouse
  • your best friend
  • your therapist

Pick one or two, and trust that person’s words over your own, against your better judgement because during these times, your judgement is impaired.

The second thing to do is to reduce the number of thoughts that come to mind. Remember, the reason you have so many is because your mind is idle. Give your mind something to do.

I highly encourage going out into the sun and doing some vigorous exercise. Sunlight and exercise and great ways to lift the cloud of darkness around you, for physiological reasons.

You may feel like you don’t have energy. This is a negative thought your mind feeds you with and it is lying to you. You have in you to do it.

Once you give your idle mind something to do, it will produce fewer negative thoughts. This creates fewer negative emotions, and you will channel less energy towards suppressing them.

This frees up more energy for you. Use this to see a therapist. Learn new skills, such as how to manage your emotions better.

Third, learn what are the triggers that cause a depressive episode to occur and avoid them.

Depression is a sign that the way you’ve been living your life thus far isn’t working. Hence, you need to change some things in your life.

Start with your triggers. They are the most obvious signs.

To recap:

ONE: Realise you can’t trust your own mind. Find someone you can trust.

TWO: Reduce the number of negative thoughts by giving your mind something to do. Vigorous exercise highly encouraged.

THREE: Learn what triggers your depressive episodes.

Remember, depression is a self-defense mechanism telling you that the way you’ve been living your life isn’t working.

To get out of depression requires a lifestyle change. Don’t be under the illusion that this will be a simple change of sleeping time.

Likely there are multiple factors that have contributed to your depression.

You may have to change your job, your diet, your sleeping habits, your exercise routine, your religion, and/or the people you hang out with.

Step by step. Bit by bit. You’ll be a new person at the end of this. A better person.

This first appeared in Quora

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