How to cope with depression
Depression is an insidious disease that strikes at any time and at any age.
Depression and anxiety appear differently at different stages of the life cycle.
Key stages of life to watch out for depression and anxiety include:
For youths depression and anxiety often have their onset in the teenage years.
For women from puberty onward, women are twice as more likely to experience depression than men.
In my country – for men, around one in six Australian men suffer from depression at any given time.
In late life depression and anxiety may occur for the first time in later-life, especially in association with certain types of physical illness such as heart disease or stroke.
How to Overcome Depression
Depression ranked second after hypertension among the chronic problems most frequently seen by Australian GPs. About two-thirds of the consultations for depression resulted in a prescription for an antidepressant, 40% involved counseling by the GP and 10% resulted in referral to a psychologist or other allied health practitioner.
My Personal Battle With Depression
When one of my business relationships failed and I resigned as director of the company, my life plunged into despair and misery.
In retrospect, I can now see that I was in fact going through a period of mourning. There had been a death of a relationship and of a dream that had driven me for seven years.
We had invested our blood, sweat and tears into an operation that had turned sour. It had cost us everything.
Where once we had been at the helm of the ship that was carrying us to our dreams, we had suddenly ended up in the hull scrubbing floors. We had found ourselves in a ship that had lost its direction and because we no longer held a position on the bridge we were forced to man the lifeboats and disembark for good.
Once in the lifeboat, with our dreams shattered, our hopes discarded and with no defined future ahead, my perspective on life became distorted.
Where there once had been light there was now a black tunnel.
After the business relationship failed, my days were filled with depression. The only respite came when I slept. From someone who had been extremely active, I became sluggish and started to put on unwanted weight. Anger would flare at the slightest provocation, and my family began to travel along a rocky road of destruction.
What do you do when the business, which was your identity, dies?
Not even my wife could reach the depths of despair I found myself engulfed in. I became violent.
I’ll never forget the time when my wife and the three children huddled together on our bed, terrified I was going to rise up and strike them.
At that very moment I stopped and took a long, hard look at myself saying, ‘If you keep heading down this path you’re currently heading in, you’re going to lose your family.’
It was time to stop. It was time to cease mourning. I needed to move on, bury the past, forgive past wrongs, accept responsibility for my future, my family and for my life. I needed to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding my dream. I needed to restore my happiness.
I had passed through a season and it was time for the next one. It was all a matter of choice. It was a matter of love and respect.
Learn To Love Yourself
In loving yourself, for who you are, you will find the capacity to love others.
My enemy was not my family. They loved me. They stuck with me throughout all the hardship and pain. They would be the ones around when the game was over and when everyone else had left the field. They were the dearest possessions and they were my chief responsibility.
How could I ever expect my children to respect my values if I was going to mourn for the rest of my days?
There are a lot of people in our society who need to look at themselves in the mirror, and say, as I did, ‘Grow up!’
It is humiliating to recognize how immature one is. It is so easy to blame someone else for our faults. You can blame your parents. You can blame your government. You can blame the education system. You can blame the economy. However, by blaming others you will never pull yourself up and out of the mourning phase.
Let’s face it: People die. Businesses die. Relationships die. Notwithstanding this, each of us has the responsibility to live on in victory.
Renewed Vision Defeats Depression
Where there is renewed vision depression flees in defeat.
Depression nearly destroyed me, and it nearly destroyed my family. I know that some people need to use drugs to overcome their problems, but in my case, the biggest drug I needed to take was one of love and forgiveness.
And the one major lesson I learnt from the whole experience was that I should never ever attach my identity to what I did.
No matter what I do: I am me, I am loved and I love.
But remember this that depression loses its power when fresh vision pierces the darkness.