Time and experience has helped Danny Baker understand what it takes for a person to recover from depression.
After talking to dozens of experts in the field including numerous psychiatrists, psychologists, G.P.s and counsellors, I’ve put together a list of eight things that people who recover from depression tend to do differently from people who don’t.
- People who recover from depression commit themselves to therapy.
Therapy is used for the purpose of getting to the root of what triggers your depression and then giving you techniques to manage those triggers. People who recover from depression understand that how well you can manage your triggers is often the biggest factor determining whether or not you will recover from depression—and as such, they commit themselves to therapy—even though it may not be their favourite thing in the world to do.
- People who recover from depression do free online therapy or read self-help books.
Doing free online therapy modules at MoodGym and reading self-help books about how to recover from depression can also help someone understand how to manage their triggers—and for this reason once again, it’s something that people who recover from depression invest their time in—particularly if, for whatever reason, they don’t have access to one-on-one therapy.
- People who recover from depression don’t give up taking medication if one antidepressant (or two, or three, or four, etc.) doesn’t work.
Different medications are effective for different people. There are dozens of antidepressant medications available, so if you try a few and you don’t find them helpful, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find any of them helpful. People who recover from depression understand this, and for this reason, don’t give up on antidepressants just because they try a few that don’t do the trick.
- People who recover from depression exercise regularly.
Granted, depression can make you feel so exhausted that the last thing you want to do is exercise—but people who recover from depression push themselves to do it, because they know that doing so will help them recover, since research suggests that regular exercise can increase the level of brain serotonin and brain endorphins, both of which have “mood-lifting” properties.
It’s also important to note that exercise doesn’t even have to be that rigorous to be effective, with studies suggesting that even a brisk walk each day can make a noticeable difference.
- People who recover from depression eat healthily.
People who recover from depression eat a balanced diet, and most importantly, lay off drugs and alcohol—because few things stifle one’s recovery more than drinking and taking drugs.
- People who recover from depression strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
People who recover from depression make a point of getting a good night’s sleep each night—and if, due to their depression or any other reason, getting a good night’s sleep is something that they struggle with, they educate themselves about sleep hygiene. Getting good sleep when you have depression is a science in and of itself, and as a result, there are numerous self-help books out there that can teach you what you need to know.
- People who recover from depression spend time in the sun.
This sounds relatively frivolous, but it’s scientifically proven that spending time in the sun increases your serotonin levels—which is what most antidepressants do.
- People who recover from depression are proactive about their recovery.
In addition to what’s listed above, there are many other activities that can aid one’s recovery, such as meditation, yoga, hypnosis therapy, or listening to classical music. People who recover from depression experiment with as many of these things as they can, and in the course of doing so, find additional ways of coping and managing their illness that work for them.
If you are doing all or most of these things, then good for you—you’re on the right track to recovering from depression. If you’re not doing these things, however, then the good news is that you can choose to start doing them right now.
As the saying goes, there’s no better time than the present.
Photo: Vox Efx/Flickr
If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also like Danny’s book titled “MY RECOVERY BLUEPRINT – How I overcame depression in three straightforward steps and how you can do the same.” Grab your copy from Amazon here.