Having depression is like wearing a dark pair of sunglasses. It starts to color your worldview and suddenly everything can feel very hollow and hopeless. You might find that things which used to bring you joy, now are met with a deep sense of numbness. Your thoughts may begin to get increasingly negative. You might wonder what the purpose or meaning of life is.

1. Reach out for help from a professional.

Seeking help is a sign of true strength, not weakness. If your depression is telling you that you don’t deserve to get help, please do not listen to it. Like an abusive partner, your depression wants you to stay trapped. However, all people who are suffering deserve to seek help and support. You don’t have to continue to feel this hopeless and alone.

2. Recognize the stories that your mind is telling you.

The first step is starting to be aware of the stories that you are telling yourself. After you are able to recognize the stories, you can focus on some more helpful “healthy self,” coping statement that you can tell yourself.

3. Do an “opposite action.”

A dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skill that I love is called “opposite action.” When someone is struggling with depression, often they feel the urge to isolate from others, to stay in bed, and to avoid certain situations. If this is the case, it’s important to push yourself to take “opposite action.” For instance, if you are feeling like isolating, you could consider calling or texting a friend or family member to spend time together. If you are experiencing the urge to stay in bed, think about an activity that you could go do.

4. Practice self-compassion.

“Beating yourself up” for experiencing depression, will only serve to make you feel even worse. It’s not your fault that you are suffering from depression. Mental illnesses are not a choice. No one would choose to isolate themselves from people they care about, to feel hopeless and numb, and to struggle with getting out of bed or leaving the house.

– Jennifer Rollin

Read More: 4 Tips For Coping If You’re Struggling With Depression

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