It is likely that, at one point or another, we will all experience a bout of depression. Often, symptoms proliferate in the form of lethargy, lack of motivation, and social avoidance.
How can one identify if they are depressed? Becoming aware of the conscious thought thats proliferate during depression will allow you to identify when you are depressed and how to combat symptoms. In this article, I will outline some of the conscious thoughts that cause or exacerbate depression and pose some potential solutions.
1. First Conscious Thought Indicating Depression: "I Will Deal With My Problems Later"
How many times have you felt a bit melancholy and told yourself that you would deal with your problems later?
This line of thought is starkly fallacious and could be an avoidance indicator. In order to counteract this line of thinking, first remember that there is no written rule that you have to avoid something uncomfortable. Second, try to understand that avoidance justification (ie: "I won't do it now but do not need to worry because I will simply do it later") hardly ever works out. If you do not feel like dealing with a problem now, you will not likely feel like dealing with it later.
That being said, sometimes it is just really difficult to get out of bed despite acknowledging our own logical errors. For those days, turn an avoidance task into an approach task. For example, promise yourself that once you write down what is making you unhappy, you will reward yourself with a small slice of chocolate (if you don't like chocolate "insert desirable indulgence here"). Find ways to make facing the problems easier!
Practical Tip 1: The first practical tip is to recognize the irrationality of inaction and perhaps turn an avoidance task into an approach task.
2. Second Conscious Thought Indicating Depression: "The World is Too Demanding"
The second thought that often indicates depression is the belief that the world is too demanding. This has two harmful implications. First, this mentality hardly prepares one for the realities of the world. Try to keep in mind that the world will always have demands and that this is a natural part of life.
Additionally, the more one avoids the world's demands, the more we dig ourselves into a bigger hole. Therefore, the more subjectively justifiable our avoidance becomes, the more difficult it will be to fulfill our inescapable responsibilities. In order to combat depression's hopelessness, remember that there is something worth fighting for. If we are all quickly dying, what in life is worth dying for?
Practical Tip 2: How can we find purpose when the world appears too demanding? Ask yourself candidly, “if the world were to end tomorrow, what would be worth dying for?” It sounds cliche but if you can answer that question honestly, the world's demands seem to melt away.
3. Third Conscious Thought Indicating Depression: "I Am Not In Control"
The third indicator of depression that limits healing is our belief that we have lost personal autonomy (ie: the belief that we are not in control of our own circumstances or that some outside actor has conspired to keep us depressed). This in turn lead to a disastrous mentality: “I am not in control so it is time to give up.”
Keep in mind that we are all, in some way or another, responsible for our circumstances. Happiness or unhappiness. Success or failure. Action or inaction. These are all choices. If we are unhappy about our circumstances then we must take action to improve them. Fulfillment of our passive-aggressive anger does nothing to change our circumstances or to improve our lives.
Practical Tip 3: When we are angry at the world, channel that anger to fuel action. Anger is one of the most powerful motivators and when it is directed in a productive direction, much can be achieved!
4. Final Practical Tips: Vitamins for Depression and Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Although it is not a cure for depression, St. John's Wort can improve overall disposition. Additionally, fish oil (any omega-3 fatty acid) tends to improve mental clarity and therefore combat fatigue and feelings of frustration. Finally, Vitamin D is usually acquired through sunlight exposure so oral supplementation tells our body it is day time, that it is time to wake up, and subsequently leads to higher energy levels and a tapering of lethargy.