02 Mar Depression Self-Help and Why It Is Not Always Working
Depression self-help for everyone
There are 21 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag #depression and 7 million posts with #mentalhealthawareness hashtag. I’m very grateful to live in a time when mental health is openly discussed and there is more and more scientific research on it.
When nothing works
Two years ago when my own mental well-being collapsed, I went from Googling “something happy” to reading articles starting with “5 tips to ….”. I heard from doctors scary ideas like “Postpartum depression is a beautiful part of motherhood“ to “PMS is just a pain in the stomach”. Reading social media posts of successful recoveries, that did nothing for me. I joined support groups just to hear depressing stories. I soaked it all, with no result but getting worst.
Then one year ago, I found my own short term solutions that helped me to stay positive around kids. I shared it in a free guide, thinking that I am so smart to figure it out.
Today, I’m thinking that while it might have helped a few, it could have also harmed some mothers. When self-help guides don’t work, our confidence drops, we start to feel guilty, and we even doubt if depression is real or it’s just us being miserable. Mental health is very individual, bad advice can be deadly, and costly.
Depression self-help that works better
What helped me, was to ask questions, and if something didn’t feel right, I kept trying in another direction. I didn’t do it alone. I finally got help from a psychologist, who then discovered and helped me with ADHD diagnosis. Then husband support, researching medicine, and reading medical books about ADHD. It was like a part-time job and took more than a year!
My budget was very low and I had to do many compromises to find the right help. I would like to share with you, what type of self-help worked better.
Choose the right support groups
Social media is full of support groups, where members only complain. It can be very depressing to read everyday stories of failure and to see no hope. Instead, pick one that has an empowering leader that helps you to move forward and to leave the group eventually. You are not supposed to stay there forever.
Find acceptance but don’t settle
Acceptance is essential to our mental well being. It helps us with confidence and getting the right help. However, we should try our best to work on our harmful habits. Things that hurt us and people around us.
Talk to an experienced doctor
Some doctors, do not have updated knowledge about mental health issues. If something doesn’t feel right, run and find someone else. Bad medicine or treatment can cause a lot of damage.
Find a solution that works for you
While it is good to be inspired by someone’s path to recovery it can also be demotivating. We are all different. What works for some, might not for you. Mental health is very individual.
Everyone seems to know better what is good for us. Take the advice that seems right but try to also read about your condition and educate yourself. Nobody knows you better than yourself.
Don’t rely on doctor Google
The Internet is full of easy steps on how to deal with depression. Mental well-being is much more complex than “5 ways to fix depression right away”. Talk to a psychologist, if you can or try to get medical literature.
Combine treatment for a long-lasting effect
Medication is important in many cases of mental health issues. However, it is also important to combine it with diet, exercise, and or talking to a professional. It helps to maintain the recovery.
Don’t take my advice
So here is me giving you advice not to take my advice if it doesn’t help you. Not everyone can afford psychologists or have access to one and we all do what we can to feel good. It is hard, it is scary, lonely, and costly. I have been there. Getting help at (almost) all cost, saved my relationships and career.
Just don’t give up and keep looking for a solution that works for you. Seek professional help if nothing works. It costs, but what is the cost of not getting help?