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Releasing Guilt Associated with Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness that can impact every aspect of your life. There are many different types of depression, and each has its own unique set of symptoms. However, all forms of depression share one common trait: They can be debilitating.

Depression can cause feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to do anything. The illness can make it hard to get out of bed in the morning, to concentrate at work or school, and to enjoy activities that used to be pleasurable. It can cause one to withdraw from loved ones and can even lead to thoughts of suicide.

If you’re struggling with depression, know that you’re not alone. Millions of people are are in the same boat. Fortunately, there are many different treatment options available. While medication can be an effective treatment for some, others may find that therapy, self-care, and lifestyle changes are the key to managing their depression.

Feeling Guilty About Your Depression

From time to time everyone struggles with guilt; however, people with depression may experience guilt more often than others. With so many people in the world being diagnosed with depression, society has started to trivialize the diagnosis and normalize the word itself as something that simply means “sad.” ‌Social media especially has disseminated information diminishing depression systems. Videos, memes, and gifs are shared in which a person claims to be depressed when they’re actually just having a bad day or are met with an unfavorable outcome in a situation.

With or without the influence of social media, those struggling tend to try and convince themselves that everyone experiences it, so it isn’t a big deal or other people have it worse. This is a means of self-protection. It’s human nature to want to fit in and having a mental illness can make individuals feel alienated from their peers and loved ones. Rather than making it seem like it’s not a big deal because "everyone has it, '' we should try harder to support those with clinical symptoms, so they know their needs are as important as anyone else's.

Depression does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re rich, poor, married, divorced, employed, unemployed, etc. While there is research that shows there’s a genetic component, there are environmental factors that can bring out symptoms when least expected and these can feel all-consuming. It’s important that symptoms are not minimized or ignored, and that they’re addressed as soon as possible so proper treatment can ease the devastation depression can cause.

Even though many people with depression know they can’t control it, it can be hard to accept the diagnosis, particularly when it feels like there isn’t necessarily anything specific happening to cause these symptoms.

Options for Depression Treatment

Depression starts in the chemistry of the brain, and without medication, the body cannot simply make up for the chemical imbalance itself. So, when you start to invalidate your own feelings of depression, remember you did not choose this, and you do not have control over the chemicals your brain chooses to produce and not produce. It often takes anti-depressants to rebalance the brain and make up for what it’s lacking.

Psychotherapy can also be very rewarding. Learning more about the causes of your depression and how to reframe negative thought processes and stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors can alleviate symptoms and help you fill life to the fullest.

Being guilty about something you cannot control when you are trying your best to live with it only makes matters worse. Guilt is self-defeating and doesn’t leave room for improvements to be made. Self-loathing will only intensify symptoms.

When you are having a particularly hard time with your depression, cut yourself some slack. Take some time for self-care, sleep, therapy, fun, friends, and family. Dialectical-behavior therapy suggests doing the opposite of what you feel like doing in the moment. This skill is referred to as “opposite-action.” For example, when you don’t feel like getting out of the bed, force yourself—then, make the bed. Over time, the theory is that the opposite action will naturally become the first taken and will ease symptoms.

You can’t feel better when you are stuck in your own head trying to convince yourself you don’t deserve to be depressed. The truth is no one deserves to be depressed. Depression is not something anyone deserves to go through. But, while it may be incurable, it can be properly managed, and symptoms can be greatly minimized. When you’re feeling stuck, know that there is a way out. But the first step has to be accepting that you’re depressed and seeking help. You must take that first step in your healing journey.

Remember mental illness is never anything to be ashamed of, and you deserve support and treatment no matter how much you convince yourself otherwise.


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