Depression is one of the most common emotional states that human’s experience. Really? Does it have to be?
It’s true, but it doesn’t have to be a a permanent state of being. I think we often jump to hasty conclusions when we experience discomfort. That is, we worry that this feeling or symptom will never go away. Learning to manage your worry about feeling down and depressed can help you find a way out of depression.
A 16 year old girl, Corrine, seeks counseling for depression. She recently went through a break up with her boyfriend. Since the break up, Corrine has been less interested in her school work and her grades are beginning to fall. She is also withdrawing from her friends, as she feels like no one will understand what she’s feeling.
Corrine feels like something must be seriously wrong with her. She also worries that she will never feel like herself again. Can you start to see how worry makes it harder to find a way out?
Both Corrine and her mother are unsure how to help her feel better. And, her mom is not sure she can take seeing her child so upset most of the time. Corrine’s mom takes her shopping more than she used to and tells the other kids to leave her alone.
I don’t blame her mom, it’s hard to see your loved ones struggle; however it’s harder for them to find a way out of the dumps when we worry with them. Even on our most controlled days, we can add our worry by tiptoeing around the person. The more fragile her mother treated Corrine, the more fragile she felt.
Instead of being a chronic disorder, most people report their depressed feelings/depression symptoms come and go. It may take days, weeks, or months to experience relief, yet it usually changes. The hard part is watching the symptoms come and go, while managing worry about your symptoms.
Corrine started to talk to her friends more and found reassurance. She wasn’t the only one who had experienced depression after a big change. One of her friends shared how she felt some of the same things after her family moved. Corrine found it comforting to hear that her symptoms may be a natural part of adapting to change. Although her symptoms were still present more days than not, she was starting to find a new way of thinking about her depression.
Corrine was typically a high achieving student, and she couldn’t figure out why she was still struggling with feeling down. She thought she was doing something wrong. Corrine began to take a look at the break up with her boyfriend. She realized that she was feeling like a failure for it not working out. She began looking at the breakup in a new way. This boy had definitely been important to her, yet it’s ending didn’t mean there was something wrong with her. She began to see how they both had a part in the relationship coming to an end.
Along Corrine’s journey out of her depression, she began talking more to her mother about her relationship with this boy. She had tried to talk to her mother before, yet was worried that her mom would get upset with her. Corrine was picking up on her mother’s discomfort of talking about loss. Her mother began relaying, on more than one occasion, that losing something of importance is hard, yet this too will pass. Corrine’s mother was less worried about her daughter getting upset, and started to see the moods come and go.
I think this example illustrates the impact that worry can have on a symptom. Corrine’s depression could have become more chronic. Yet, Corrine and her mother found away to manage their worry about her symptoms. This helped Corrine feel hope that she could find a way out of her depression.
As Corrine connected with others, the more her symptoms alleviated. The more her significant others responded openly, the more she was able to find reassurance that she wasn’t alone or weird. While she still experienced times of sadness and worry, the emotions came and went. Her confidence was building back up. She had found a way out of depression.
While I haven’t offered a checklist of strategies, I hope I have shown how managing worry about depression can help you find a way out. Just like everyone is different, there is more than one way to find relief from depression.
I want to hear your perspective. Share what helps you get through a break up. What has given you hope when felt down?
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Photo Credit: Martin Gommel