Thursday, September 7, 2006

How to cure depression

It seems usually the professionals who specialize in such things consider the cures for depression to be medications and/or psychotherapy. I guess those things work for some people and some problems. I do know that depression can be caused biologically and alleviated by drugs.

However, sometimes the cause of the depression is being in a bad situation, and changing that situation is a far better cure than staying in the situation and trying to talk yourself out of depression by getting in touch with your feelings and reframing your attitudes. If my situation is not good, I don't want to feel like I'm a failure for being unable to adjust my outlook and become happy. I will be happy once again, without all this effort to twist my outlook, as soon as I get back to a situation where my needs are being met. Sure there are some things you can't change, but you can still find the best situation within the constraints that life has given you.

For me though, the best cures for depression are:
  • To be healthy, with adequate sleep, rest, nutrition, and exercise.
  • To be with people who are nice to me.
Perhaps that's because the depressions I've had have all been caused by the lack of the above.

Perhaps one reason I got my Master's in social work rather than continuing on with my undergraduate major of psychology is that psychology seems to try to cure people through medication and psychotherapy, while social work also looks at meeting people's needs, e.g. housing for the homeless.

That doesn't mean I'll always be taking action to change my situation. When I'm depressed, I'm in no shape to take action. What I need to do when depressed is stuff like go to sleep, listen to music, sit by the ocean (or a lake or river if that's closer by), read a novel, or watch a movie.

It's hard to change your life. The point is not that if you are depressed, you have to instantly go out and fix your situation. The point is that you may have to live with your depression for a while, but be patient with yourself as you take one step after another into the future. If you keep walking long enough, you might be able to walk into a better situation, and when you reach that better situation, things will all fall into place for you.

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