As we at The Depression Project often hear from members of our community, it's common for people who've never had depression before to underestimate its severity, and therefore flippantly suggest to people who do have depression that they would be cured if they just did something simple like "think positively", “go for a run” or “just practice mindfulness”, for example.
However, suggestions like these are overly-simplistic, because depression does NOT have a quick fix!
For this reason, according to members of The Depression Project’s community, most people with depression tend to find suggestions like these frustrating – and often insulting – because the implication is that they are either not smart enough to think of such a simple solution themselves, or that for some reason, they’re unwilling to implement this sure-fire cure for their depression (which is tantamount to blaming them for struggling with depression).
To avoid this common problem, it’s really important that those who know someone with depression understand that this illness does not have a quick fix. On the contrary, overcoming depression involves tackling this illness from a multitude of angles, and may require, for example:
- Making situational / lifestyle changes - such as, for example, getting out of one of more toxic relationships which contribute to depression; and/or leaving a job which contributes to depression.
- Changing the thinking patterns which fuel depression - that often have been practiced for years or even decades.
- Overcoming negative core beliefs which fuel depression - which may also have been deeply ingrained many years or decades ago (such as in the case of having the negative core belief "I'm a loser" as a result of being bullied in school; or the negative core belief "I'm unlovable" in response to not having had attentive parents growing up).
- Cultivating self-love and gradually building up self-esteem - that may have been diminished for any number of reasons including, for example, constantly being put down and criticised, negative comparisons to other people, and/or parental neglect.
- Processing difficult, painful emotions - such as, for example, regret over something happening; anger over something else happening; a debilitating fear of yet another thing happening; and/or grief, loss, heartbreak or other complex emotions surrounding a traumatic event (such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a dream, a significant relationship falling apart, a miscarriage, the diagnosis of a serious illness or abuse, for example).
- Breaking out of behaviours that worsen depression, and instead engaging in behaviours that lead to improvements in depression. Sometimes these behavioural changes can be relatively simple – such as stopping social media usage if that triggers depression; or doing more exercise, for example (which is a healthy behaviour that can help someone cope with depression). However, just like when it comes to thinking patterns and negative core beliefs, in many, many instances, in order to get better, people with depression need to change behavioural patterns that they’ve been practicing for years or even decades - such as in the case of learning how to, for example, stop comparing themselves to others; implement boundaries to stop people pleasing; or learn how to open up and show more of their authentic true self in their interpersonal relationships.
- Increasing serotonin levels and/or altering brain chemistry in some other way - which may involve, for example, trying one or more medications under the guidance of a medical practitioner.
NOTE: To help people learn more about how to overcome depression - as well as empower them with the skills, strategies and insights they need in order to be able to do so - we've created a wide range of cognitive behavioural therapy-based Depression Bootcamps.
As You Can See, Depression Unfortunately Does Not Have A "Quick Fix"
As we hope you can now see, unfortunately, depression does not have a "quick fix". And, for this reason, if you know someone who has depression, then we encourage you to avoid making overly-simplistic comments like "just think positively", "just go for a run" or "just start meditating" for example which imply that it does.
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.