As you know, I’ve written often on the topic of major depressive disorder, or “depression.” And for good reason.
Consider that about one in six adults experience depression in their lives and up to 80 percent of them may relapse after treatment. How can those impacted get help? How can they find out the truth about depression and the lies it tells? To begin finding the answers to these questions, let’s first explore some of those lies.
6 Ugly Lies Depression Tells Us
1. Try harder
What makes you believe you’re medically ill? Is that easier than accepting you’re lazy? And weak? You’d feel fine, if only you’d just try harder.
2. You can’t be fixed
Why are trying so hard? You know you’re far too damaged to be fixed.
3. You don’t have depression
Everyone with a search engine is diagnosing themselves. So you get sad sometimes, that doesn’t mean you need professional help.
4. Nothing matters
Why are you kidding yourself that those people care about you? They don’t matter and neither do all the things you once thought you enjoyed.
5. Don’t ask for help
Only weaklings and cowards need others to do what they could be doing for themselves.
6. You’d be better off dead
All this physical and emotional pain. Why do you even bother?
Find the Truth with Mindfulness
What is Mindfulness?
Defining mindfulness can be as tricky as defining “life” so let’s keep it as straightforward as possible. Mindfulness involves:
- Paying attention
- Staying present
- Observing thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations
- Observing thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judgment
3 Ways Mindfulness Helps Those With Depression Find the Truth
A hallmark of depression is ruminating on sad thoughts. For most people, these thoughts arise and pass relatively quickly. Someone with major depressive disorder is far more likely to brood and far more likely to perceive this state as permanent. Mindful meditation has been successful in teaching them to be more compassionate to themselves. This occurs after they accepted that thoughts come and go, and we are not our thoughts.
2. Daily Activities
For many of us, chores like laundry, doing dishes, etc. are tedious. For those with depression, such tasks can feel impossible or at least irrelevant. Mindfulness guides us to a place in which these simple actions help us focus our attention on the present moment. For example, contemplating the dexterity needed to fold clothes or enjoying the sensation of water running across your hands while washing dishes, or inhaling the unique aromas of your meal while cooking can all bring an in-the-moment appreciation to life itself!
3. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Depression
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT, is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and hence, addresses automatic cognitive processes. Someone living with major depressive disorder may fall back on such automatic cognitive processes when under duress. MBCT is designed to not only interrupt this patterns but also teach individuals how to observe and accept incoming stimuli without judgment. This may sound abstract, but please consider that a 2015 study found MBCT as effective as maintenance antidepressant medication in treating depression.
- An eight-week program
- A blend of mindfulness exercises from yoga to doing household chores
All this translates into a non-medical approach. The routine practice of mindfulness can help you find the truth behind the lies of depression we discussed above. If you’d like to learn more about how therapy in general, and how mindfulness in particular, can help with major depressive disorder, contact me today for a free consultation!