Handling Depression

Depression may often be initiated by high levels of long term stress, by failure associated with stress – related under – performance, or by life crises.

Deep depression is a clinical illness and should be treated medically. It is important that if you are depressed, that you take this seriously. Severe depressions that can cause years of unhappiness and low performance can be neutralized quickly with drugs, by the appropriate form of psychotherapy, or by other forms of personal action. An important part of intelligence is knowing when there is a problem, and when to ask for help.

Depression may start when:

>> You miss important deadlines

>> Projects fail

>> You are passed over for promotion

>> You feel out of control

>> You are very tired

>> You are feeling inadequate while getting to grips with a new, difficult job

>> You are bored for a long period of time

The following points may help in handling depression before it gets serious:

1. An important way of guarding against depression is getting your attitude right: positive thinking really can help. As long as you can draw useful lessons from failure, then failure can be positive.

2. Similarly, talking about problems to a partner or to a respected colleague, can often help a lot. They may have been through a similar situation, seen the problem before, or may be able to gently point out that you have the wrong perspective on a situation.

3. When you are under stress caused by excessive demands, using effective time management can improve things. Similarly, taking an enjoyable break may reduce stress.

4. When you are not under enough pressure, you can set personal challenges to increase stimulus.

If you are already suffering from a mild form of depression, then the following suggestions may help you to deal with it:

1. Self – confidence: where lack of self – confidence is a factor, there are a number of things you can do:

>> Start to set personal goals. This will help you to give yourself direction in life, and will help you to acknowledge that you can achieve useful and important things.

>> Write down a list of your negative points. Challenge each item on the list objectively, asking yourself 'is this fair?', Or 'is this really serious?' You should find that many of your negative beliefs are wrong or insignificant. When you identify serious failings, set measurable personal goals to eliminate or neutralize them.

>> Similarly, bring your anxiety and negative self – talk up to the surface of your consciousness. Ask yourself whether it is realistic to worry about the things you worry about: if you have no control over them, then worry does no good. When you look at them rationally, you may find that worries are irrational or out of proportion.

>> Write down a list of the things that you can do well, and the positive parts of your personality. Ignore 'virtues' like humility and modesty – these are not good for your self – confidence or well – being. Be proud of your good points – they can help you to contribute positively to the world.

2. Positive thinking: almost all apparently negative experiences have positive elements to them. Learn to identify these positives: this will help you to draw the best from every situation. Even failing at something can be an intense and valuable learning experience.

3. Relationships: You may find that the root of problems lies with:

>> Assertiveness: if you are failing to assert yourself, you may find that other people are not paying attention to your wants and needs. This can be upsetting and humiliating. Learn to express your wishes firmly, but only be confrontational if absolutely necessary. Assertiveness training can be beneficial in learning to do this.

>> Social Skills: if your relationships are difficult, then you may identify that difficulties lie in the way in which you deal with other people. In this case some form of social skills training may be beneficial. Alternatively, if you can identify where things are going wrong, you may be able to set goals to overcome the problem.

>> Other People: it is easy to assume (especially when you are depressed), that the fault in relationship problems lies with you. This may or may not the be the case. Examine your relationships rationally: you may find that people around you are causing problems – there are some extremely rude, awkward, arrogant or confused people in the world. If people are making your life worse, then you may be better off without them.

>> Standards: you may find that you have set your standards unrealistically high. This will typically occur where you believe that a certain standard of achievement is necessary, but where you do not have either the financial or time resources available to achieve those standards. In this case, it may be realistic to assess the standards that you can reasonably achieve within the set constraints, and aim at these.

>> Fatigue and exhaustion: If you are very tired, or have been under stress for a long period, you may find that a good break helps you to put problems into perspective.