As we talked about in detail in the first blog post in this Storm To Sun Framework Series titled A Framework To Help You Better Understand Depression:
- The Storm Zone is when your depression is at its worst - i.e. when it feels like there's a storm raging in your mind. In this Zone, simple tasks like getting out of bed or having a shower can feel like climbing a mountain; going to work, socialising and other commonplace activities are often unmanageable; and you may feel so deeply depressed that you’re unable to envision the storm ever passing.
- The Rain Zone is when the symptoms of your depression are moderately severe. As a result, you'll find it easier to uphold your responsibilities and "carry on with life" than you likely did while you were in the Storm Zone with severely intense symptoms - however, getting burned out is still common; you're prone to snapping easily; and interacting with others may often feel overwhelming.
- The Cloud Zone is when the symptoms of your depression are mild or perhaps even non-existent, and as a result, when you're in the Cloud Zone, your days are only being minimally impacted by depression (or perhaps not impacted at all). Consequently, you're able to function without becoming easily tired, and you're a lot more likely to want to interact with other people. In the Cloud Zone, your motivation is also at its highest, so you're most able to do the things that you may've been putting off doing while you were in the Storm or Rain Zones.
A Blueprint For How To Fight Depression
While the Storm To Sun Framework can be very useful when it comes to helping you understand your depression as well as helping you get the support you deserve, perhaps the biggest reason why it's so useful is because it actually gives you a blueprint for how to fight depression and overcome it.
On that note, let's now see how!
Blueprint Part #1: How To Fight Depression When You're In The Storm Zone
When you’re in the Storm Zone and therefore have severely intense symptoms and a relatively low ability to function, the most effective way to fight depression at this point in time is to implement strategies which help you to "survive the storm".
Or, to put it another way, the most effective way to fight depression at this point in time is to implement "survival strategies" that give you quick, short-term relief from your severe depressive symptoms - in order to prevent those symptoms from completely consuming you.
In particular, these "survival strategies" could include, for example:
- Doing pleasurable activities that distract and relax you (such as watching television);
- Reading hopeful, uplifting quotes / statements;
- Telling yourself positive affirmations;
- Practicing diaphragmatic breathing;
- Practicing the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness exercise;
- Performing a simple act of self-care that soothes you (such as having a bubble bath);
- Retreating to a “safe space” where you can feel at your most calm, soothed and relaxed;
- Talking to a loved one;
- Calling a crisis support line.
Blueprint Part #2: How To Fight Depression When You're In The Rain Zone
In the Rain Zone, your symptoms are moderately severe, and you have more ability to function than when you’re in the Storm Zone. For this reason, rather than trying to "survive the storm", the most effective way to fight depression at this point in time is to do your best to "cope with the rain", so that you can:
- Function as best as possible and uphold your day-to-day responsibilities (such as, for example, going to work, caring for your children, being attentive to your partner, etcetera);
- Do the above without getting burned out, breaking down emotionally, or fuelling the depression cycle and consequently slipping back into the Storm Zone.
In order to do this, you need to learn and implement "coping strategies", such as:
- Challenging negative thoughts;
- Practicing "mental self-care", "emotional self-care", "physical self-care", "social self-care", "spiritual self-care" and "practical self-care";
- Practicing gratitude;
- Implementing the S.T.O.P. strategy to help you manage "depression anger";
- Practicing mindfulness;
- Taking part in a depression support group.
Blueprint Part #3: How To Fight Depression When You're In The Cloud Zone
In the “Cloud Zone”, your symptoms are mild and your ability to function is high, so rather than focusing on "surviving" or "coping" with depression, the most effective way to fight depression at this point in time is to actually learn how to "heal" from it – i.e. to clear up the clouds that are still hanging over you, so that they stop bringing on rain or worst of all a storm. In particular, this is done by learning how to overcome the underlying causes of your depression.
- If one of the underlying causes of your depression is low self-esteem, then depending on the circumstances, this could involve bringing more awareness to all of your positive qualities that you're currently unaware of or dismissing; and/or re-processing painful past experiences which have led to you developing the negative core belief "I'm a failure".
- If one of the underlying causes of your depression is childhood trauma, then this could involve working through complex emotions surrounding what you went through, so that it stops holding you back from living the life you want.
- If one of the underlying causes of your depression is a painful divorce, then this could involve healing from what happened and making room in your heart for love again.
What Can Happen If You Don't Fight Depression In The Ways We've Shared With You?
- If you don’t fight depression in the Storm Zone by implementing strategies to help you "survive the storm" and give you quick, short-term relief from depression's crippling symptoms, then you run the risk of depression completely consuming you.
- If you don't fight depression in the Rain Zone by implementing strategies to help you "cope with the rain", function as best as possible and uphold your day-to-day responsibilities, then you run the risk of burning yourself out, your symptoms getting worse, and you falling back into the Storm Zone.
- If you don't fight depression in the Cloud Zone by working on overcoming the underlying causes of your depression, then unfortunately, you run the risk of never overcoming depression. This explains why some people's depression never improves over time – because while they might learn how to survive and cope with depression, at no point do they ever actually address the underlying causes of their depression and take steps to heal from them.
We really hope you've found this blog post helpful, and that moving forwards, you have a clearer idea of how to fight depression!
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.
P.S. If you'd like much more guidance on how to fight depression, then we think you'll find our Depression Bootcamps really, really helpful - in which, using leading, evidence-based principles from cognitive behavioural therapy (including specialised forms of CBT such as DBT and ACT), you'll learn the skills you need to know in order to overcome depression!