13 self-destructive things you do when you have depression
The symptoms of depression cause depression, it’s a vicious cycle. The first steps in recovery are to recognise those self destructive symptoms and know how to counteract their effect.
Sleep too much
Depression is exhausting and comes with a lack of energy and no motivation or interest in things so it’s understandable that you have a desire to pull the duvet over your head and hibernate until it’s past, but don’t because it will just exhaust you even more. When you sleep too much you also do too much REM sleep, a period of sleep when your brain is extra active which just results in you being even more exhausted. However difficult it may seem at the time, go out for a walk instead or do something, anything but sleep.
Think too much
Over thinking in a negative way is one of the major causes of depression which leads to more over thinking and obsessing, negatively introspecting about yourself, your life and your past. If you find yourself ruminating about things, get up, move and do something that is actively going to capture the attention of your mind – listen to a play, an audio book or a podcast – something you have to actively listen to so your distracted from your own thoughts.
Eat junk food
Junk food that has little nutritional value is not going to help your energy levels. Flooding your system with chemicals, fats, starches and sugars is going to drain you not give you fuel.
Put feelings first
Depression dominates feelings so there is a tendency to shy away from doing things because you don’t ‘feel’ like it or you can’t ‘face’ it. How you think leads to how you feel which influences what you can or can’t do. Instead of following your feelings, change your thinking.
Spend too much time on social media
Social media isn’t a real world and it doesn’t give you the social interaction you need to stay healthy as a human being. Pseudo support groups can do more damage that good for people with mental health problems as it encourages sharing of how bad you feel which makes you feel even worse and doesn’t help at all.
Humans are tribal beings. In evolutionary terms we have survived and thrived because we are sociable and work as a community. When an animal is ill it tends to isolate itself from the pack which is why you want to do that yourself when you have depression, but you need to do the opposite. It may seem hard at first, but you need to put yourself with people, giving and receiving attention, it’s important for your mental health.
Depression makes you feel guilty for what you’re not doing or can’t do. It is an illness – you wouldn’t feel guilty if you had caught a cold of someone. Guilt is a negative emotion which keeps the depression alive – drop the guilt.
Expect others to understand
The negative thinking of depression brain often becomes directed at other people becoming disappointed and self pitying when other people don’t do the things you think they should. For someone without depression it is impossible for them to understand how you feel and know what it is you need, so avoid being harsh on other people pushing them away. Keep your friends close, they may not know what to do, but they want to help nevertheless.
Blame external influences and events
Looking for things to blame for your depression, past events or life happening around you will not solve anything, all it will do is keep you depressed. Depression is not caused by things or events, so searching for reasons externally is futile.
Believe there is no hope
Hopelessness is a symptom of depression, it’s not real. Depression is curable, take the time to read any credible medical website and you will see they all say the same thing, in eighty percent of cases depression is curable – that is high.
Believe your own distorted thinking.
Depression is a liar, don’t believe it. When depression brain is in control it hijacks your imagination and will start telling you all sorts of negative things. As a rule of thumb, if it’s telling you something negative, depression has made it up, it’s not true.
Rely on external things to make you better
Depression is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to fix it. The doctor can give you antidepressants, but antidepressants alone do not cure depression, you do. Think of it like getting a injury to a limb or a joint, you can have pain killers that make you feel a bit better, but to fully recover as quickly as possible, you need to follow the instructions a physiotherapist gives you and do the exercises. Depression is no different, the doctor or therapist can help you know what to do, but you have to do it.
Do nothing, deciding instead to live with it.
Doing nothing and the depression will more than likely slowly get worse. The most recent clinical trials carried out of The Depression Fix included a control group of people who took an assessment every month, but did nothing else – on average their levels of depression deteriorated over the three month period. Something needs to change and only you can figure out what that is and make the changes that will lead to a better life.
There is hope if you have depression and you can start turning things around today if you choose by reading the mirror blog – 15 natural ways to help depression.
Wishing you health, wealth, happiness & success
HPD, DHP, MNCH(Reg), AfSFH
Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychologist & Life Coach