Saturday, December 16

Winter And Depression- How to Cope

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Depression is like winter. Dark, cold and drab. The colors of winter are gloomy and for someone who is suffering from chronic depression, it is easy to embrace.

In the winter, after the dreaded holiday season is over, it becomes easy to avoid being a part of the world and just hibernate. The cold, short days keep people inside more so the person with depression doesn’t have as many social engagements to force them out into the world.

Spring changes all that. The days start to become longer and color begins to replace the drabness of winter. In many areas, springtime quickly moves into summer. The nicer weather makes it harder to hide in your home.

If you are still struggling with your depression at this time, anxiety can start to creep in as well. You begin to feel pressure to rejoin the world even though you may not feel up to it. The pressure can come from well-meaning friends, loved ones, your spouse or even yourself.

Even when you are in the depths of depression there is still that little voice crying to be free of it. Part of you wants to be free but then often, anxiety takes over. You may start to stress over having to be part of summer activities or want to avoid social situations.

This is why therapy is so important. You recognize that you have a depression or anxiety disorder. You have learned enough to know that there are things you have to do in order to live again.

Instead of thinking about what lies ahead of you, take some of the pressure off by not making plans that you cannot stick to. Wake up in the morning and only think about the day that lies in front of you. Don’t stress about tomorrow or next week. Live the moment.

Make a secret promise to yourself that you will attempt to become part of the world again. It is okay to do it slowly. A toddler takes baby steps until they feel secure enough to run. Look at your life this way.

Today go with what feels good and makes you feel good. It may be a little scary to try but you need to push yourself enough to do it. Be your own cheerleader. No one even needs to know the secret game that you are playing with yourself. Re-build your confidence by taking it slowly and if something doesn’t make you feel good, stop and think it through.

Therapy has taught you ways to cope with stressful situations. Put these techniques to use. Find out what works for you. You are re-learning a new way of coping and just like a toddler learning about the world, it is a new world for you.

Don’t waste time worrying about stuff that hasn’t happened or put pressure on yourself that doesn’t need to be there. Your goal is to learn how to cope with depression and it takes work. You can make it happen for yourself.

Never worry what other people will think about you. You know yourself. You need to learn how to trust yourself and learn how to control your reactions in order to be healthy. You have the strength to do this but you need to believe it. No one can do this for you. You have to do it for yourself.

You can have a support network of friends and family to help you on your journey but the journey itself is about you.  Letting go of fear and believing in yourself will go a long way in learning how to escape the darkness and enjoy the warmth once again.

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