If you are feeling more depressed than typical, you are not alone. “The prevalence of anxiety and depression among U.S. adults was three times higher during the pandemic than a year earlier in Census Bureau‐administered national probability samples. There is much happening in the world right now that can swamp the struggle with depression. News, social media, and TV are constant sources of conflicting information all telling a dire story.
The isolation and loneliness of social distancing and quarantine are challenging. Loss of friends and family without the normal channels of closure, grief, and healing compound the situation. Often the interaction between anxiety and depression can aggravate, increase depression symptoms, and slow progress.
There are effective resources, tools, and professionals to manage most depression and depression-related anxiety. One of the persistent issues with depression is finding the energy and spirit to move forward. The lead-weight of depression can keep you curled up in a ball not wanting to do anything but survive. This, however, can increase anxiety and depression and make the cycle worse.
Start with Small Bites
This not a black and white solution. You do not have to move from totally depressed to totally happy to make progress. In the battle with depression sometimes it is the small stuff that is so hard to accomplish. You can take small bites out of even the worst days. Each bite will make a difference in your ability to move to the next.
You are not alone
COVID has increased insurance coverage of tele-medicine and on demand counseling allows you to reach out without leaving your safe space. Professionals armed with resources and tools to help you inch forward are your best first step. CBT and other therapeutic approaches have shown good results with depression.
Supportive friends and family are also important to you. Not everyone is lucky enough to have great support people in their lives, but you can find people that will help you see things in perspective, will listen when you need to talk and will lift you when you can’t.
Professionals can help with a diagnosis and proper medication, if indicated. COVID has increased resource needs in most of the country and there is now a wide choice in type of counseling, style of therapy and cost of services.
If you need to touch base every day for a while, do that. Sometimes a 5-minute voice in the dark is all it takes to not feel so hauntingly alone. Online and phone applications are also shown to be as effective for helping especially if you more ongoing support including 24/7.
Changing the environment can impact things significantly. Depression tells you to literally or figuratively curl up alone in the dark. First steps should always be to change the “Groundhog Day” feeling that depression creates by increasing light. Merge comfort with self-care. Do a light healthy meal. Bright colors, green plants, flowers are all great incentives to see the world differently. Listen to a book that reminds you that you are worthy of love, watch a movie that inspires you, spend time with your pets (great therapy). Set small goals, acknowledge even small movement.
“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” —C.S. Lewis