Does the awareness of depression come with the ability to do something about it and treat it?
Lots of people, maybe even you, live with untreated depression and believe “there is nothing I can do about it”. Each time you go through yet another bout of depression, you feel less in control and less confident in your abilities to handle it which makes the thought of seeking help (something like therapy) seem frightening and far reached.
Overtime, untreated depression becomes “the devil you know”: hard to live with and unfulfilling yet safe and familiar.
Sometimes depression can also bring out a sense of complacency. The sense of safety we get from the familiar (depression) paired with the seemingly ingrained feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can lead to a state of stuckness or inertia (the sense of inability to move whether physical or emotional).
With all these obstacles still, there is always a part, no matter how small or unconscious, where hope is not entirely dead; it is when you connect with this part of yourself that you might pick up a book or look up an article about depression and some tips to handle it better.
If you can recognize that part of hope within you, you could also use this little secret ingredient that can take you from where you are now to actually doing something about your depression and treating it.
It doesn’t sound like a secret, does it? In fact, it may seem like common sense and in a way it is. Theoretically, we all know that in order to get anything in life we have to be willing to do what it takes to achieve our goals and dreams. In practice however, things are not as logical or cut and dry. In fact, when it comes to issues of mental health (depression included) you may as well throw the theory of common sense out the window because many times the emotional side takes over particularly over the logical side of you. When that happens, something as basic as the willingness to feel better becomes a struggle: logically you know you want it and need it, yet the feelings and states brought forth by depression will take you in the opposite direction.
Lack of willingness does not refer to one’s lack of strength or ability, rather it is a direct result and a symptom of depression.
Once you found that sliver of hope, start exploring your willingness and motivation to start acting towards feeling better. The secret ingredient to progress in general, is your level of willingness to pursue it. Without being willing and putting in the time and effort, not much can be accomplished.
Certainly many times a lack of willingness is accompanied by a lack of information and inappropriate tools and resources.
When willingness gets tricky
Sometimes we say we are willing and by looking at our actions it turns out that in fact, we’re not. Many people take the leap of going to therapy (which in itself is a declaration of willingness) and soon realize that the prospect of having to confront their depression is too scary, thus trading willingness for safety. Such a reaction is quite understandable, sometimes you have to try things a few times before you feel ready to stick to it.
The bottom line
Being willing to work through your depression represents much more than the answer to “Do you want to feel better?” Of course you do, who likes dealing with depression? The more accurate question is “Are you willing to face some parts of yourself that might cause some temporary pain for the purpose of feeling better long-term?”
The answer is yours.