Many cultures have created an unhealthy attitude to the psychological turbulence we all experience from time to time. It now appears intuitive to fight back against that which we think and feel threatens us, but is this really an effective strategy?
Key Facts from WHO (2016)
- Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
- At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
- There are effective treatments for depression.
The Fight Against the Invisible
Perhaps we think that an alternative to fighting depression – and other psychological symptoms would mean to ‘give-up’? But that’s simply untrue!
Finding acceptance for that which we can change; our thoughts about what we think makes us unhappy, our behaviours – usually as a result of those thoughts, and the truth about who we really are and what matters to us, can bring about new objectivity – whilst resetting our cognitive perceptual filters that ‘inform us’ – via emotional signals, such as sadness or anger.
…and acceptance for that which we cannot change! (Which still means anything but giving up or rolling over!) …such as the grief felt over a death, or a past over which you had no control. With these examples it remains for us to review our thoughts and beliefs about the event/s; the relevance ‘then’, and whether those feelings are appropriate now?
Before any acceptance can be found, leading to a sustainable, life-long strategy of balance, we have to encourage and then convince the mind and ‘self’ it is safe to change, with evidence. For so many of us, we become identified and defined by our pain to the point it becomes part of our identity, our ego.
…and the ego doesn’t let go of such ‘comfort’ without putting up its own fight in its mistaken attempts to protect us.
Re-engineering the Mind and Neuroplasticity!
Some, more than others will need time invested exploring how they came to ‘be’ who they are today. But this doesn’t mean unpacking the past and settling in there once more!
Gaining fresh insight into how we may have once been taught to believe is relevant to how we behave to the signals we receive to our environment today.
If, as a five year old, I was taught (inadvertently or otherwise) to be ‘on-guard’ for signs a parent was about to ‘lose it’, or, I witnessed, perhaps many times, the parent or significant older person giving me reason to doubt myself, my worthiness – then clearly this will endure for the rest of my days, unless I can reset the learning (belief) that is no longer required or relevant today.
And if I once again return to the more consistent and healthier beliefs I may have enjoyed before I became conditioned, then I can regain new ways of thinking about myself – and my environment and the people in it. And if I do this, anatomical changes will occur in the brain! These are measurable and actual physiological changes observed in fMRI brain scans as a result of the term that has become coined ‘neuroplasticity’. The brain has the ability to reconfigure as a result of what we think!
No one wins this ‘fight’!
…because no fight is necessary.
Yes, it IS tough, it does require effort and focus and some level of tenacity to undertake to become so very wise that you once again – or perhaps for the first time, believe in yourself. Then, we can know that the days we wake ‘feeling’ low are just that, days where our expectations are unmet, but it too will pass, it always does. I can throw open the doors to the low-mood, invite it in to ‘kick around’, because ‘it’ doesn’t define your life, only a moment of our life, if we choose.
Use What is Helpful
No-one ever said “you must become the best expression of yourself without guidance”.
You’re reading this, that shows you are worthy and seeking information to find that best expression of yourself.
I certainly found the best ‘keys’ to my peace of mind via research – and new ways of thinking. But, depression is insidious, and by its very nature leaves us feeling demoralised and demotivated – and in those times, we can choose to empower ourselves to seek resources outside of us, just as the world’s most successful people do all the time! There is NO failure in seeking guidance.
Turn the Page – Begin a New Chapter
However you decide to find the quality of thoughts about yourself you deserve, the key part is not ‘how’ you do this. It is that you do!
Warmest wishes for the next part of your journey, and remember this,
It is worth remembering that talking therapies and self-help are only part of the equation. Considerations given to exercise, diet, addictions and our overall biological health are also likely worth bearing in mind. Do discuss with your G.P./Physician too!