Chronic depression can be crippling. You may find yourself asking, “Is there hope of getting better?” The answer is yes. Although major depression is a complex mental illness, it can be managed and treated. It is critical that you reach out for help and work collaboratively with health professionals.
What Is Chronic Depression?
Depressive episodes are normal human experiences. Everyone feels blue once in a while. However, when that depressed mood lingers and negatively affects how you function in daily life, you may be experiencing a major depressive disorder or chronic depression. In other words, this is not something that passes on its own; it requires treatment to overcome.
Symptoms of chronic depression include continued feelings of sadness and hopelessness, lack of energy, muscle aches, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, low self-worth, self-hate, forgetfulness, poor concentration, and even suicidal thoughts. Experiencing one or multiple of these feelings persistently for two weeks or more is cause to seek help.
Common Types of Depression
Common depressive disorders include major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, psychotic depression—which may involve delusions or hallucinations—seasonal affective disorder, and melancholic depression.
When symptoms linger for more than two or three weeks, it is important to consult medical professionals. They have specialized assessment tools to diagnose your specific type of depression, which informs what treatment path to take.
How to Live With Chronic Depression
Living with chronic depression can be isolating and lonely because you may feel like you are the only person experiencing this. Due to the widespread stigma against mental illness, you may not feel safe seeking support from others. Many people with chronic depression suffer in silence.
The first thing you need to realize is that you are not alone. In fact, many people experience depressive disorders. Equally important is the fact that depression is one of the most common and treatable mental health disorders. There should be no shame in seeking help.
Take people with postpartum depression or seasonal affective disorder for example. Their depressive symptoms may be related to some hormonal or chemical imbalance in the body. Health professionals can use different types of medications and other methods to help them rebalance and heal.
Working With Mental Health Professionals to Address Chronic Depression
Once you reach out for help, mental health experts can educate you about how the brain and mood are connected. They may prescribe some non-addictive anti-depressants for you. Before you land on the right type of medication and the right dosage, allow time for trials and adjustments.
You can also begin talking to a trained therapist who can help you identify triggers that contribute to depressive moods. Regular sessions will help you grow in learning stress management, life skills, and a more positive outlook on life.
What if I Still Feel Hopeless?
There is always hope when you seek help. The human experience must not be an isolated one, especially when depression is part of the equation. For this journey, you must learn to lean on others and let them help you. Mental health experts are beacons of hope because they have seen that various treatment methods have proven to be effective.
Hope is a necessary element of life. During recovery, try to lean on the support of family and friends who embody hope in your life. Find a support system rather than retreat into silence. While doing so, start implementing self-care techniques that help bolster a healthier lifestyle day by day.
Self-Care Techniques to Help Chronic Depression
Many self-care techniques may sound easy, but when you are suffering from chronic depression, you’ve likely started neglecting some of them. For example, have you been eating healthy foods? Has your mood been so low that you couldn’t find the energy to go grocery shopping? That needs to change. A healthy diet is one of the first steps in improving depressive symptoms
Quality sleep is another foundation for your overall well-being. Practice good sleep hygiene by only using your bed for sleeping, keeping your space clean, and allowing fresh air and natural light into your sleeping space. Follow a regular bedtime routine, and ensure you get 8 hours of sleep each night.
Many people with chronic depression neglect personal hygiene and household chores. Keeping yourself tidy and your home organized is another great self-care method. Treat these chores as small exercises and when you achieve them, reward yourself.
Take time to explore things that bring you wonder and awe. The space of curiosity can be healing for people with chronic depression. Invite a friend for a museum visit or a walk in a botanic garden. Nature has plenty of hopeful signs to help you heal. Even if depressive moods do not completely disappear, you can better manage life with a more hopeful outlook.
The relationship between substance use and depression is complex. On the one hand, drug and alcohol addiction can cause depression. On the other hand, depression can lead to attempts to self-medicate symptoms with substances, creating a vicious cycle. To heal from chronic depression, you need support from a team of experienced medical professionals. Laguna Shores Recovery has effective programs to address chronic depression when it co-occurs with addiction. We provide customized programs to ensure the best treatment for you. Our plans include detox, medication, 12-Step groups, and relationship skills coaching, all of which can greatly enhance your experience on the road to long-term, sustainable recovery. Most of our staff are in recovery themselves, so they know the value of maintaining mental health and practicing self-care. Schedule an appointment with a licensed mental healthcare professional or therapist at Laguna Shores Recovery today. Call us at (866) 906-3203.