Coping with Depression…

Coping with depression.

As I’ve referenced in several posts I’ve struggled with Anxiety and Depression for most of my adult life. I consider myself fortunate that my battle has never been as difficult as some fight on a daily basis but it’s still far from easy at times.

In recent months I’ve finally begun to face up to it and seek professional help to ensure I get better at coping with depression. A mixture of medication and therapy does help as long as I help myself at the same time by living my life properly.

One treatment method I’ve attempted has been a group therapy session entitled, ‘Coping with Depression’. It a weekly forum where participants learn some coping mechanisms to reduce, or remove, some of the negative thoughts and behaviours associated with mental health conditions.

It’s a personal opinion but I actually believe that a lot of the content would be helpful, not just for those suffering with their mental health, but for those supporting a loved one. It would also be beneficial for those with people responsibilities in the workplace and even for younger people in schools or other further education institutions.

With this in mind I thought I’d share a few of the simple techniques we’ve been shown in the ‘Coping with Depression’ group so far. Before I do it’s really important that anybody reading this fully understands that I am not a mental health professional and this is just me bringing to life what I’ve learned over the past few weeks.

If you believe you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a mental health issue then please seek professional help as soon as possible.

1. The Vicious Cycle

Vicious Cycle

The Vicious Cycle helps us to recognise how the symptoms of depression can be broken down in to separate areas. Understanding this helps us to notice within ourselves what is happening in terms of:

  • Altered thoughts
  • Altered feelings
  • Altered behaviour
  • Altered physical symptoms

Once we get better at noticing how the symptoms of depression manifest themselves in one of these four areas it becomes easier to apply other techniques to mitigate them.

2. Behavioural Activation

Behavioural Activation

People who are depressed reduce the frequency and type of their usual behaviours. They might put off household chores or taking care of their own hygiene. It’s also likely that they will reduce interactions with friends, family or work colleagues even if they previously enjoyed those activities. Some relief can be obtained by doing this but the danger is that avoidance is negatively reinforced, i.e. the frequency of the avoidance increases.

Behavioural activation is a technique for enabling change in this area. In very simple terms the process for this is:

  • Identifying routine, pleasurable and necessary activities
  • Defining the importance of the routine, pleasurable and necessary activities identified
  • Planning activities using a diary template
  • Implementing (just doing) the behavioural activation activities identified
  • Taking time to review progress
  • Practice, practice, practice

3. Challenging Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts

Negative thoughts often lead to low mood, however the worse we feel the more negative thoughts we have.

A technique known as cognitive restructuring helps us to achieve more balanced thinking:

Step One:

Identify your negative thought, e.g. My partner doesn’t love me any more.

Step Two:

Rate how much you believe this thought, e.g. 95%

Step Three:

What factual evidence is there to support this thought? e.g. words spoken, body language

Step Four:

What factual evidence is there that does not support this thought? e.g. still together, cooked me a meal, asked about my day

Step Five:

Considering the evidence for and against, try to make a more balanced thought, e.g. There are problems but we have much to build on if only we can communicate more

Step Six:

Rate how much you believe the restructured thought, e.g. 70%

4. Responsibility Pie

Responsibility Pie

People with depression often blame themselves for things more than is the reality. This technique asks people to think about all the factors that may have contributed to a particular event, rather then just their own perceived responsibility.

I hope you found this post interesting and useful. It’s only a very small snap shot of what is a complex area. Perhaps there is one thing that you recognise in yourself or someone close to you that provides food for thought and a desire to explore further.

You might be interested in the following book which provides a really simple introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy:

My other posts in this area can be accessed through the following links:

Male Suicide Awareness…

We are at war…

Bad day…

Dear Depression…

The figure below…

This battle of mine…

One of those days…

Anxiety, Depression and Me…

26 thoughts on “Coping with Depression…

  1. Great post on triggers and awareness… So many people I care about struggle with depression and it can be hard to understand at times. 🤗

  2. Thanks for sharing this! This information is so important to know for those suffering from these conditions. Awareness is the beginning of recovery. Seeing you thrive in vibrancy 🌻

  3. Thanks for sharing this Phil – I’m glad to hear that sounds like your doing much better. The fìrst step of actively managing your mindset is the hardest and the bravest. Sending strength xx

  4. Thank you for this post. Although you are not mental health expert, you pointed out all the important phases of coping with depression. I’m sure a lot of people will find it useful!

  5. Thanks Your for sharing!
    Very important information for those suffering from these conditions.

  6. I have been finding myself in some depressing state of late but this post is so refreshing and has mentioned one thing I have never thought of. Thanks for this helpful article.

  7. Great post, Phil! As a mental health professional, you are certainly on the right track. I’m glad you are getting the help you need. This was a great reminder for me as well- especially the section on challenging negative thoughts.

  8. These are some good tips to beat depression. Great effort on creating awareness about this aspect.

  9. I think restructuring and rethinking works the best. I was depressed a while back about my job, and I got better by rethinking strategies.

  10. Awesome post! Never had an intese depression but in senior high we made a thesis about it “Factors that Cultivated Depression” so I understand.. even just a little how hard it is to deal with depression. Fight on! to everyone struggling with depression.

    1. Thanks a lot. Interesting to read that you studied it in school. I don’t think we’ve been that progressive in the UK yet.

      1. Hahaha no my school is not that advance (far from it). Our teacher/prof said we can use whatever topic we want for our thesis and I choose depression because for me it’s a real world issue.

        PS. No prob 🙂

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