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The 5 Myths of Depression You Should Stop Believing

The 5 Myths of Depression You Should Stop Believing

Depression is sometimes called the “invisible” disease because you cannot see it through a microscope or medical body scan. How do you fight against an invisible problem? I would think it would be hard. Plus, it is scary to imagine some disease lurking in your brain without being able to operate on it! Although being diagnosed with depression can be scary and daunting, there are some specific myths about depression that all of us must cast aside in order to stand against depression and win.

1. Depression can’t be treated

This myth is one that you absolutely cannot believe. Depression is a challenge, not a death sentence. In fact, as soon as you embrace the possibility that you may be experiencing depression, the better your chances are of learning to manage your depression. As a psychotherapist, and as someone that has dealt with depression personally, it is a battle that can be won. I have personally witnessed many clients of mine overcome the grip of depression and reclaim their life. Put it to the test: talk to any therapist, psychologist and/or even your doctor, and you will hear the same thing: depression is treatable and you CAN overcome it. Do not delay another day. Face it and fight it head on.

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2. The only way to treat depression is through medication

Medication can be great for depression. It can definitely relieve many of the symptoms you may be experiencing, but it is definitely not the only way to treat depression. Actually, my experience has shown that only using medication is good for a while, but it does not remedy depression outright. For example, think of a brand new car. This brand new car is wonderful in all aspects. It smells wonderful, it shines beautifully, and it runs crappy. Why? Because it has a bad tire. One, and only one bad tire, can ruin a brand new car. It is the same with depression. You are the new car, but this depression is causing you to run bad. Medication will help fix that tire for a temporary time, but it will not fix the tire for good. There are many therapies used in psychotherapy that can help, in addition with medication, to relieve depression. Believe it or not, therapists are specifically trained to help reconfigure the way you see yourself, the world, your experiences and even your memories so that any depressive ghosts no longer attach themselves to your life.

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3. If I’m depressed, there’s something flawed inside me

It is a quirky statement to say that because you’re depressed, you are internally flawed. If you use that same logic and apply it to people who are physically ill, would you say they are flawed too? Sure, they are physically sick, but it does not mean that there is something embarrassing, shameful or dishonorable about them, does it? Yes, some people contribute to sicknesses because of diet, or bad habits, like smoking, but it does not mean that anyone that is sick is an alien invader of the human race and must be ostracized from society. Some people get sick for unknown reasons and sometimes we just don’t know why certain illnesses pop up in our lives. It does not mean you are broken, despicable or unworthy! Having the challenge of depression simply means you have a fight in front of you and that it’s time to lace up the gloves. When you get a cold or a stomach flu, you do things to make it better, right? It is exactly the same with depression. Do something to make it better. Thinking that you are flawed has nothing to do with being depressed and getting out from under its grip.

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4. My family can’t help me through depression

This is probably one of the biggest myths about depression. Actually, the opposite of this myth is true. Without your family’s help and support, depression can get worse. Studies on the relationship between depression and family have shown that the support and communication with family can increase self-esteem, a sense of belonging and reciprocal positive interactions. This benefit can only be achieved by having your family learn about your depression and ways in which they can be your greatest entourage and support team. There is nothing in the world as valuable and as powerful as the support and love from family. There are several reasons why family is a great weapon against depression. First, family can demonstrate that there is variety, spice and purpose to life. Second, family can send positive messages to you about life and about you. Positive interactions with family members will help you feel supported, loved and will increase your ability to take care of yourself. Third, family can help you feel like you are connected and that you belong to a group of beings bigger than yourself. More is better in fighting something like depression!

5. My spouse cannot help me through depression

If you happen to be married, or in a committed relationship, then depression could try to stick its ugly hands into the relationship and really cause some havoc. However, you and your partner could unite and fight depression together, instead of allowing it to become a wedge. Actually, studies show that a person can improve simply by being in a relationship where both are working towards actively fighting against depression. On the other hand, improvement is not as good if the depressed individual is going to counseling alone or is fighting depression alone. Again, two are better than one when it comes to depression. Get open about your challenge and get specific recommendations from a licensed therapist on how to turn the tide of your relationship before depression has a firm grip on it.

Featured photo credit: suffering via freeimages.com

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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