Do you feel like you’re a burden to people around you because you’re sad most of the time? If you do, and it’s kept you from pursuing a romantic relationship, please read on to find out how important it is to alter your mindset, and how to do it.
First, research shows that depression doesn’t just “pop up” for no reason.
It almost always has an origin. Often, a combination of factors leads to depression, including a biological predisposition, life events, social stressors, and changes in relationships. We mention this to give you hope that just because depression is a part of your life right now doesn’t mean it has to stay with you forever.
Second, you are not broken.
It’s okay if looking at your alarm clock in the morning makes you cry and you don’t understand why. Most people’s depression is worse in the morning due to increased cortisol levels and this increases the temptation to lie in bed all day doing nothing, which in turn makes you feel terrible about yourself for doing nothing all day. It’s a pretty vicious cycle, but just because you got caught in it doesn’t mean you are stuck in it forever. Depression is solvable. With the right kind of help, you can find the motivation to put in the hard work necessary to pull yourself out of it.
Third, getting up and moving improves depressed moods.
Pushing yourself to go out and be with other people will automatically increase your mood because your body will be producing serotonin and endorphins, which naturally increase your happiness level. It’s difficult to take the first steps of getting out of bed, getting ready for the day, and going out to be with people, but forcing yourself to “go through the motions” can help pull you out of your cycle. You can use your actions to challenge depressive thoughts such as, “No one wants to be with me” or “I’m too depressed to do anything” and by so doing, start to prove to yourself that your depressed thoughts are distorted. Realizing that you can get out of bed, or that people actually do enjoy your presence, will help take away some of the power the depression has over your cognitions. This allows you to start a new cycle, a positive one, where you challenge your depression and continually prove to yourself that what depression tells you about yourself is not accurate.
Fourth, there are countless resources for those struggling with depression.
A therapist will be able to help guide you in understanding the source of your depression and help you identify ways that you can fight against it. If you are a student, almost all schools have free counseling services, and if you aren’t, there’s almost always a community clinic with reduced rates for those who can’t afford a full-cost therapist.
Fifth, healing from depression is a gradual and difficult process, made easier by having a partner’s support.
Telling yourself that you’ll wait to get back in the dating game or hang out with your friends until you feel better almost guarantees that you’ll never feel up to it. Action comes before motivation in the case of depression. Tell yourself that you deserve to have someone love you and care about you, because you do! Take the risk, put yourself out there, and try not to expect too much from yourself right at the beginning. If just texting someone feels like too much, work yourself up to it. Then maybe move on to calling someone. After that, work up the courage to actually hang out with people. You’ll be surprised how helpful this can be!
Just because you’re one of the 1 in 10 adults in the United States who struggles with depression, doesn’t mean you need to stay hidden away from the world or feel hopeless about ever getting better. There is help out there for you and you are capable of developing friendships and relationships to help support you in your healing process. If you want additional resources, try some of the following books:
The Feeling Good Handbook–by David Burns
Overcoming Depression: A Cognitive Therapy Approach (Workbook)–by Mark Gilson
And, of course, you can always take READY (for singles) and RELATE (for couples) assessments to help see how your depression might be affecting your life or your relationships.