Times of woe

We all go through bouts of sadness in our lives.  However, for some people, these times go beyond mere sadness and branch off into clinical depression.  Although there is a lot of talk about the stigma of mental illness and preventing the stigma, it still persists.  The problem, I think, is that most people simply do not understand what clinical depression is.  When you look at a person and they appear to be intact, it is too easy to assume that they are healthy and to not realize that they might be suffering from a serious and debilitating illness.

So, what can you do if you or someone in your life is depressed?  Fortunately, there is quite a lot that can be done.  The main things are:

  • Medication.  See your doctor.
  • Therapy.  More on that later.
  • Exercise.  Doesn’t it just seem to be the cure for everything?
  • Good nutrition.  There is no substitute for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Sunlight.  Yes, hermit — go forth and seek the sun.

I would like to talk a little more about therapy.  There are so many types of therapy available, but probably the therapy that has been the most tested scientifically for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (aka CBT).  The Ultimate List of CBT Techniques – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Guide provides more than a simple list of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.  It explains CBT.  It discusses what the cognitive distortions are that lead to distorted thinking that affect our feelings.  And, for people who are more clinically savvy, it provides case conceptualizations — in other words, how to think about a person’s difficulty from a CBT perspective.  Also, you can get free cbt worksheets to help you work through your thoughts and feelings.

So, if you are depressed, remember that there is hope.  See your doctor.  Get out into the fresh air.  And maybe CBT is the right therapy for you.  It has certainly helped many people to overcome their challenges with depression as well as with many other mental illnesses.

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