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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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