You’re in that dark place again. It’s the place where everything feels impossible, where life seems meaningless, when your head starts spinning with some seriously destructive thoughts. You’ve been here before- time and time again- and you’re tired of the frequent visits. You’re tired of feeling like nothing works. You’re tired of feeling like a failure.
It’s normal to feel scared, frustrated, and overwhelmed when your depression won’t go away. Maybe you’ve tried all the usual tactics and listened to all the popular advice, but you still don’t feel better. Or maybe you’ve had some relief, but the depression always comes back with a vengeance.
Still feeling stuck? Let’s look at what else you can try.
Get A Physical
Depression symptoms can mimic many physical conditions including hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, chronic fatigue syndrome, vitamin D or B-12 deficiency, and amenia. Likewise, depression can also coexist with a variety of physical conditions.
The physical symptoms are not always obvious. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a routine physical and bloodwork evaluation at least once a year. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor, and make sure that you maintain an open line of communication.
Many people with severe depression benefit from medication. There are numerous options available, and your treatment may require some trial-and-error to find the right fit. Your doctor can discuss and monitor your medication or coordinate a psychiatrist referral for you.
Have A No-Matter-What Mindset
Yes, depression can be crippling. Yes, it can challenge every ounce of energy and positivity you have. But, no, depression doesn’t have to define you- no matter how much it has in the past.
A no-matter-what mindset means believing that, no matter what, you can conquer your depression. No matter what, you’re going to keep trying. You’re going to keep fighting. You’re going to do anything and everything you can to recover from the beast. Even if it’s two steps forward and five steps back. Even if you’ve tried a thousand times in the past.
This tough-love mentality may not be an easy one to cultivate, but it will keep you motivated and disciplined when you feel depleted. It reminds you that change can happen and that you are absolutely deserving of that change.
Commit To A Simple Routine
Sometimes, severe depression makes it hard to get out of bed. Entire days may pass before you take a shower or interact with another person.
All humans benefit from structure. It keeps us grounded and sane. Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, a simple routine can help you stay focused. It can give you a small sense of purpose as you move throughout your day.
The key to this routine is making it both uncomplicated and manageable. For example, you may commit to brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, and washing your face each morning. Aim to follow this routine regardless of your emotions that day. The more you can build the habit, the more second-nature self-care becomes.
Finally, don’t beat up on yourself if you can’t commit to the routine one day. You are human! Although most of us have heard the cliche that it takes 21 days to form a habit, research shows that it can actually take anywhere between 18-254 days!
In other words, be kind to yourself if you start slipping. The self-loathing will only make it that much harder to try again.
Focus On What Can Bring You Hope
Maybe you don’t feel hopeful about anything right now. Perhaps you’ve experienced one setback after another, and it all just feels so pointless. There is no doubt that this kind of mindset can be incredibly painful- it’s hard to feel optimistic when everything seems so bleak.
If you don’t have anything that brings you hope, aim to identify what can potentially bring you hope. Is it getting married or having a family one day? Graduating college or starting an exciting new career? Going on a fabulous vacation?
Write down everything that triggers even a slight spark of hope. During this exercise, your mind may wander into negative thoughts related to, that’ll never happen. Acknowledge those thoughts, but do not let them stop you from completing the exercise. You’re allowed to have visions and dreams. Having them written down reminds you that purpose can exist beyond this present distress.
Use your hopeful ideas and create a vision board as a reminder of the possibilities and put it in a place you will see everyday. Sometimes, even simple visual reminders can give your day a small but much needed boost.
Reach Out Even When The Depression Won’t Go Away
Depression can live in isolation, and the shame can make it incredibly hard to connect with others. That’s why reaching out is so crucial. Even just telling another person, hey, I’m struggling, opens the door for intervention and change.
Your friends and family may be able to provide support during these dark times. However, if your depression won’t go away, it’s best to reach out to a professional. Depression treatment isn’t just about receiving a few tools or suggestions; it’s about uncovering and implementing a new way of thinking and living.
Are you tired of fighting the same fight? Are you ready to experience more purpose, joy, and confidence in your life? We're ready to help you.