If you are experiencing major depression, you know that its effects are seriously impacting your life and also the lives of people around you. The guilt from your inability to get over it quickly can be immense, and can compound your problem. Here are five ways to feel better about the situation and avoid feeling guilty.
1. Consider what people have to say.
You don't have to waste time on people who want to foist wacky remedies on you, but if someone close to you takes the time to come over and urge to you get out of bed when you are in a deep funk and fusses at you affectionately for your neglect of personal hygiene, go on and take that shower and put on some clean clothes. Just breathe and don't think too hard about it. You might even hug them for thinking about you.
Also, if they offer to take regular walk with you, take them up on it. You know activity will boost your serotonin level, and theirs too.
You might feel suspicious of a friend or relative's motives or otherwise feel patronized, but recognize that this possibly is your negative thought patterns giving you trouble.
2. Ban impatient, willfully judgmental people from your intimate social circle.
If someone is in a constant habit of shaming or guilt-tripping you about your depression, avoid that person if you can. If you can't, at least learn to tune them out. You don't need to be dealing with your depression and their issues too.
If you find that when you try to confide in someone about the events that triggered your depression and they respond with "just get over it already," they most likely have a judgmental attitude that you wouldn't be able to change no matter how convincing your argument is. If you did try, they would then accuse you of rationalizing or being in denial about your problem. They may unfairly believe that your symptoms are just an attempt to gain sympathy. You can't turn anyone into an empathetic person. It is a waste of your time and mental resources.
3. Let your loved ones in on the secret: it's not about them.
Your partner or family members may feel that they are to blame for your depression. They may if think if they were somehow better, they should have some control over the situation, which can lead them to frustration and private despair over it. After some time, they may develop compassion fatigue to cope with it.
If they want to help you, encourage them to go with you to meet with a therapist or a doctor to explain what depression is and how it is caused. If they are hovering, encourage them to go do the things they are interested in, and give you both a break from each other.
You may want to think about visiting a family counseling service with them to help them learn how to help you.
4. Be sure to use cognitive behavioral techniques to counter those negative thoughts.
If you have been in therapy before, likely you have learned about cognitive behavioral therapy, which is largely about substituting more optimistic or self-supportive thoughts for pessimistic or otherwise negative ones. You may have even done exercises to practice this. When you start beating yourself up mentally, go back to the things you learned. If you need a refresher or aren't familiar with it, pick up a mainstream book about it at the library or ask a therapist to help you with it.
5. Be honest with your health care provider and your therapist.
Depression medications take some time to kick in and start helping, and everyone's system is different. If your treatment is not helpful to you after a month or so, talk to your therapist and your physician. They undoubtedly have other tricks up their sleeves that would be more effective.