Things that lead to Depression

I once heard a counselor give some good advice on things that lead to depression.

1.  People who are heading down the road of depression are often not thinking clearly.  They don’t see their own blind spots, and don’t see the whole picture.  They are concentrating on a few things that aren’t helpful in their seeing reality.  They may be overblowing rather insignificant things, rewriting history to make themselves perennial victims, or generally putting themselves in a box.

2.  People who have no belief in a personal, caring God to whom they can call for help, are more prone to returning to depression.  Being “all alone” in the transcendent realm is a dark place to be.

3.  People who can’t be thankful, for whatever reason, are prone to depression.  Depression contains a prevailing negativity that can be cut off by thankfulness.  Thankfulness also gives hope.  If things were good before, they can be good again.  It also helps one see the whole picture–all of life contains both good and bad–every day.

4.  Depressed people “hole up”.  They become separated from nurturing relationships.  Their negativity extends to significant relationships and they pull away–or their negativity causes others to avoid them.

5.  Sometimes depression is the aftermath of a great achievement.  It seems to make no sense, but the excitement and the bodily chemical output resulting from the “mountain top” can cause a physically and chemically depleted state.  Knowing this, and knowing that giving oneself permission to pause and just “rest on one’s laurels” for a period of time can allow time to recharge. 

6.  Physical and emotional exhaustion can also be related to frustration and defeat.  Taking time out and doing those things that are known to recharge ones batteries might help.  Also just taking time away can sometimes allow for regaining perspective, seeing things in a new light, or just getting some new ideas.

7.  Self pity puts you in overdrive on the road to depression.  Envy reframes life into a picture of everyone doing better than oneself or having more than oneself.  “Nothing good ever happens to me” is not only untrue, but can become a somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy.

8.  Comparing oneself unfavorably with others, where one  begins to believe others are more beautiful, smarter, more talented and have more achievements leads nowhere except into depression.   It only helps to look at others in order to learn things that can work for oneself.

In short, as much as is possible, get away from whatever is dragging you down.  Find some nurturing people and ask for help.  Do those things which you know from past experience build you up.  Have some fun.  Set a couple of realistic goals for yourself and take at least one step toward each one.  Make at least one change away from negativity and towards growth.  Ask help from God, get some sunshine, think a thankful thought, talk to someone and do one good thing today.

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