It is the beginning of the process of beating depression which is the hardest. There are several reasons for this. Having committed to do what you can do improve the situation in itself is a great motivator – it’s darkest before the dawn. The start of an improvement process in itself provides hope for a better life. Knowing that you are on the way toward a brighter mind is comforting. You will have a smaller toolbox available before work has started on the improvement process, because improvement is largely about acquiring the tools and getting good at using them.
So if the beginning is difficult – how do you start?
If you want to stop smoking, you will often be advised to select a stop-date fairly far in the future. In the period up until that date you may smoke as much as you want. This is a smart strategy because it gives your body and mind time to prepare for the uncomfortable transition process that is encountered when quitting smoking. While “enjoying” your last cigarettes in this intermediate phase, it can be advantageous to read up on what tobacco does to the body.
This strategy can also be used when it is depression you want to stop. You do not need to start the process itself right away, you can allow yourself some time to prepare. Decide on the day that you are going to start the process, for instance you may choose 22 December. Why that day? That’s because it is the darkest day of the year – quite nice symbolism, right?
Then you should give yourself some months to prepare. In those months, you can read up on what works when you want to rid yourself of depression. Get hold of some self-help books and read them. Search the Internet for more information about techniques and other measures research has proven to be effective. Talk to people who themselves have successfully been able to rid themselves of depression. Make a plan. If you do not have a clue as to what this plan should contain, check out Rise from Darkness, or similar self-help books.
Part of your plan should be to give yourself plenty of time. Depression may mean that the body’s biochemical systems produce the incorrect mix of hormones and neurotransmitters, and it may take some time to correct this imbalance. It may also take some time to reverse habits and automatic thought processes which lead to pain.
The entire journey out of depression could take months or even years. Do not be put off by this, lower your shoulders; it’s stress-reducing to know that you have plenty of time to work through the process.
Another element is that you must be prepared for setbacks. Adversity is guaranteed during such a process. The healing process is not like a straight staircase, it is more like a ladder game where you fall down from time to time, before you continue the ascent. If you are prepared for setbacks and have a strategy on how to deal with them, such adversity will not appear so bleak. The strategy can be as simple as this: If you fall down a few levels, then you just simply continue the work, the day after, or when you are ready for it again.
If you can, find some allies; people around you who will support you when things get tough. Identify those people who lift you and who give you hope and encouragement. Seek them out and tell them that you’ve decided to work your way out of your depression. Ask if you can call or visit them when you need some extra support.
And above all, decide to make a wholehearted effort to get rid of the illness. If you need a catalyst to achieve this, you can use the rage against the disease as a motivator. Medical research goes deeper and deeper in to looking at the tremendous impact that faith and conviction has on our health. The well-known placebo effect, which is also connected to so-called epigenetic effects – biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off. What is it that stands above the genes? It is the mind’s power – which will grow with being committed to fighting the battle against the illness.
The power of the mind has for a time kept you down. But it is entirely possible to reverse the direction of its force – make it into something that works for you and not against you.