Perhaps the most
difficult symptom of depression to overcome is hopelessness.
When you have no hope for the future, you feel like your suffering will
never end. This feeling of hopelessness deprives you of self-worth…which
in turn denies you energy and motivation…which makes it difficult to
take the necessary steps toward recovery. Basically, hopelessness creates
a mindset that defeats your recovery even before it begins. A few common
thoughts created by feelings of hopelessness might be:
is no point in trying…I will only fail anyway.”
am too tired; I will never finish…so why bother getting started.”
will always be this way…they will never change.”
am a loser…I will never get anywhere.”
bother…nobody cares anyway.”
have already discussed earlier how thoughts and feelings become distorted
when you are depressed. Now let’s talk about some things you can do to
get over the hurdle of hopelessness. But first, take a minute and give
yourself credit for reading this guide. The fact that you are reading it
acknowledges that you want to feel better…the fact that you want to feel
better acknowledges that you do
have hope. Hold on to it and keep moving forward.
big problem with depression is that it often makes life seem overwhelming.
“There’s too much to do…I can’t possibly do it all.” Try taking
out a piece of paper and breaking down that thought
into more of a reality. Write
down everything that you think needs to be done, and then separate that
list into two categories: “Things I really want to do now” and
“Things that can probably wait.” From the first list, choose one thing
that you would most like to get done. Then, give yourself a realistic time
frame to get it done…but realize that even this one task doesn’t have
to be done all at once.
you were expecting a visitor next week and you wanted to
clean the house. It would be easy to think: “It’s too much
work…I will never get it all done.” The reality is that you don’t have to get it
all done now. Try starting with the goal of cleaning just one room; perhaps the
smallest, or the room you spend the most time in. Now you might think: “I have to
clean the whole house…what good will it do if I only clean one room?” You
will be able to answer that question yourself by cleaning that one room…and
realizing that you have just taken a big step towards crossing something off
of that “overwhelming” list.
is important not to judge an accomplishment in terms of big and small. The
truth is that any accomplishment is
a success. By cleaning that one room you have broken that cycle of
procrastination…and become less overwhelmed. Don’t be surprised if you
suddenly have the energy and motivation to keep moving forward. Before you
know it, you’ve probably cleaned several rooms. Suddenly, you realize
that things aren’t as bad as you thought. The key is to set goals…realistic goals that you are likely to accomplish. Take one step at
a time and continue to do what you can.
some point, in the midst of accomplishing your goals, you will probably
run into something that you really wanted to do…but were unable to do.
Remember, this doesn’t make you a failure…it makes you human, just
like everybody else. Nobody accomplishes everything they want to do all
the time. Life isn’t that simple. Give yourself credit for trying…and
keep going. Again, don’t be overwhelmed by thoughts about what you
cannot do…just stay focused on those things that you can
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