back when i first realized that I was depressed, i thought all i needed was go to psychotherapy and that would be it. i thought counseling could immediately cure everything.
but i only had counseling once a week, and i have a particular kind of depression - mood disorder, which means i had intense highs and lows. and it so happened that my counseling sessions were often during my highs, in which i was so positive i would basically deny my depression. that obviously didn’t help.
although my therapist is great - he patiently listened to my many rants, watched me brawl without judging, and also objectively analyzed my emotions and situations, i could really only talk to him once a week, in which so much could have happened already. in emergency situations, i didn’t have any other professional to talk to or rely on (my school’s counseling emergency hotline is not very effective).
and that’s when i realized there is no magical “cure” to mental illness. you can’t just take a pill and get better as you would for a cold. the human psyche is much more complex than that.
psychotherapy helps to the extent that you can release your bottled-up thoughts somewhere, or be guided along the path, but what you do in the rest of the time is up to you.
after some research, i came up with this “cure package” for depression (although it is of course not the one-in-all solution), and is in no particular order.
- create a schedule/routine and stick to it.
depression is a sense of hopelessness and inaction - that’s why common symptoms include grades dropping, eating too much/too little, and forgetting to shower/be clean. you lose your ability to take care of yourself because you don’t have the energy, physically and mentally, to.
being in a routine forces you to get up and do something so you feel accomplished. this stops the negative recurring cycle of doing nothing then feeling sad about doing nothing. so pack up your schedule but don’t overwhelm yourself either.
this builds up on the need for a routine. exercise should definitely be in your schedule - preferably more times a week even if it’s simply walking 10,000 steps a day. these goals ensure you stay active, feel accomplished, and stay committed to something which is especially hard during depression.
- having a close community you're comfortable talking about these issues to
i was lucky i discovered two friends who were willing to talk about mental illness without judging. you feel much less alone and singled out in that way. i can also talk to my BF about anything.
however, this is so hard to find. it was hard enough to admit to myself that i had depression much less tell other people, even my close friends, about it. nevertheless, make sure you open up to at least one person other than your therapist about your issue so you can ring them up any time if you have an emergency.
- the rest is obvious. eat well, sleep well etc. which can be hard with depression.
but i believe these sorta fall into place if you have the other three. let me know if there are more you guys believe are important.