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How To Guide for Beating Depression, Five Major Goals

Updated on January 13, 2019
Austinstar profile image

L. Cargill, Medical Laboratory Scientist, ASCP. Retired blood banker and laboratorian. Loves to write about a wide range of subjects. Enjoy!

Setting Goals to Beat Depression

Depression affects men, women and children
Depression affects men, women and children | Source

Living With Depression

Living with depression is doable. No, you can't just toss your feelings aside and 'shrug things off'. But you can set some goals for yourself regarding your depression. You can learn to deal with depressing episodes and make yourself stronger and better.

It does not matter what caused your depression. You may have been raped as a child, abused and beaten or neglected. You may have had to endure many injuries both physical and mental. You may have lost key members of your family at an early age. The causes of depression are as varied as the people who suffer from depression.

At some point, depression affects all humans. There are just too many horrors in the world. No one can escape them all. People with certain metabolic conditions can suffer from a chemical imbalance in their brains that presents as full blown depression.

Depression is probably the most widely occurring mental health complaint in the world. When you are depressed, it is hard to cope with the seemingly non-depressed world. But there are steps you can take to have a good life, even when dealing with depression.

The First Goal of Living With Depression:

Get Professional Treatment.

Right off the bat, if you are suffering from depression, you need to get help from others. Your goal would be to discuss your depression with your doctor. Even if you only go to see your family physician, they have the power to prescribe anti-depressive medications that will correct your brain chemistry.

Trying to tough it out on your own can make everything worse. The longer you delay treatment, the longer you will be depressed, so make an appointment the very morning you wake up and feel waves of depression. The symptoms are easily recognized:

  • What is wrong with me?
  • Why can't I sleep?
  • Why do I have these terrible nightmares?
  • Why can't I face the day?
  • Why do I feel like I want to crawl into a dark hole and stay there.
  • Why do I feel worthless and marked for doom and gloom.
  • Why do I blame everyone else for my bad feelings.

All of these things and more are symptoms of the depression experience. And it is an experience. Depression can strike quickly, seemingly out of the blue, or it can build on itself with the sufferer becoming more and more depressed each day.

A doctor is the only person that can effectively treat depression. You think you can do it and say to yourself, "I'll get over it and feel better soon", and you may actually improve a bit. Then on another day, your brain will tell you that you need outside help. Something is just not right.

Anti-depressant Medication Works

Pill boxes can be a huge help when trying to take medications
Pill boxes can be a huge help when trying to take medications | Source

Goal Two of Living With Depression:

Follow the Doctor's Advice.

Do not stop taking anti-depression medicine on your own. Take it for as long as it is needed. Your brain may need those chemicals in order to maintain balance. Sometimes people take the medicine just until they are feeling better.

Stopping some anti-depression medicine cold turkey can make your depression much worse than it ever was. Brain chemistry is not an exact science, but advances have made this type of medicine much more patient friendly. The medicine is to correct an imbalance in the chemistry of the brain, not a cure-all for your parents beating you as a child.

Goal Three of Living With Depression

Learn to Talk to Yourself

Some of us have been taught that we are what we eat. Psychologists now know that we are what we think. Descartes, a noted philosopher, once stated, "I think, therefore I am". This is valid in the truest sense of the word.

If we think about all the bad things in our lives and buy into the terrible things that people have done to us, then we are telling ourselves that we do not deserve happiness. We tell ourselves that people are our enemies. We think we are less than human.

Why not learn to talk to yourself and give yourself a look at reality? The truth is that you have every right to live and breathe on this planet. You have the ability to make your own decisions about things. You especially have the ability to decide who to associate with and who to discard as a friend.

If you have a friend or family member that makes you feel depressed for whatever reason, then stop giving them the power to influence you. Tell yourself not to listen to what they say. Tell yourself to be the happy person that you know you can be.

How To Deal With Depression Video

Goal Four of Living With Depression:

Take Out the Trash

Get rid of anything, everything and anyone who is causing you to be depressed. If you have debt problems, then declare bankruptcy. If your spouse is abusing you, you need to divorce them. You must get yourself away from the sources of your depression.

It is extremely difficult to do things like this, but you must put distance between you and what causes your depression. If you can't divorce your spouse, for whatever reason, then try for a temporary separation or mandatory counseling.

You must make this a goal or you will continue to suffer from depression. There is just no other way around it. Abused children must be removed from their homes. Abused animals must be sent to animal shelters. A depressed person is not strong enough to withstand continued exposure to whatever triggers their depression.

Perhaps with counseling and medical intervention a person can become strong enough, but for the short term, getting rid of the major problem is the goal to shoot for.

Finding a Friend Who Loves You

Dog Love - It's Fabulous!
Dog Love - It's Fabulous! | Source

Goal Five of Living With Depression

Learn to Accept Life's Benefits

Depressed people have lost hope in life. They can't see their lot in life as being good. They only see the bad stuff.

But there are many good things in life. Discover what makes you smile. Find your 'happy place'. Kick depression in the pants.

Breathe deeply of the life giving air. Do what you want to do, not what someone expects you to do (or not do). Find strength in yourself. It isn't all that hard. Half the illusion of being happy is simply to act happy. Enjoy the world while you are here.

  • Give and receive love.
  • Smile, even if you don't want to.
  • If helping others makes you happy, then do so.
  • If being a beach bum makes you happy, then be one.
  • If eating too much makes you really feel good, then thumb your nose at those who call you names.
  • You are NOT responsible for the happiness (or good manners) of others. They must learn to be happy on their own. You may help, but it is all up to them to be happy.
  • You do not owe the world anything.
  • They world does not owe you anything either, but benefits are available for those who choose to find them.

Rate Your Feelings of Depression

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© 2012 Lela

Comments - How do you deal with depression?

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  • profile image

    Bethany Williams 

    7 years ago

    Great topic! I like your positive outlook on life. :)

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

    I wish you luck on your quest to accept the things you cannot change. Remember, you will have good days (cherish them) and bad days (they will pass). You can do this.

  • SunkistGirl profile image

    Ann Pingrey-Korthas 

    8 years ago from Utah, United States

    Accepting is a huge key that you talked about in getting a grip on depression. Just when I think I finally "accepted" the latest plateau, I am faced with one area not yet dealt with in that plateau and I feel knocked off my stable point. My depression comes from a few different areas, including past spousal abuse and having to give up my passion job to take care of my family. Accepting is my stumbling block...hard to bite that one. I count blessings on the good days and work to find a happy place on the bad days. Thanks for sharing your tips, advice, and a good book.

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

    Hi Christopher!

    I have learned to accept my life and all my faults as well as the faults of others. It does not pay to keep that trash in my head. Just accept things for the way they are and move on.

    Also, try to think happy thoughts as often as possible.

  • christopheranton profile image

    Christopher Antony Meade 

    8 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

    Depression is a dreadful scourge that can strike any of us any time. I'm glad you are not plagued by it any more and I hope you continue in that happy condition.

    Thanks for the very useful tips.

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

    from sunny Cancun - trying to have a happy time. cya in a week

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Wow, excellent, practical advice.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    8 years ago from south Florida

    This is very practical, realistic advice, Lela, and should be helpful to anyone who suffers from depression. As you point out, positive self-talk - telling yourself that you have the right to live and love and make your own decisions - is one of the first steps.

    Hope you-all have an outstanding time in Maya-land and don't forget to write! :)

  • HoneyBB profile image

    H Lax 

    8 years ago

    This came at a good time for me because I have been fighting with my employer and then unemployment and right now I'm laid off and have been trying to get a job, getting excited about a prospect and then it doesn't pan out so I've been having bouts of depression and having insomnia one day and then can't stay up for long periods of time. Anyway I have an appointment to see the doc tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    8 years ago from Washington

    As always, Lela--brutally honest--I love it~ Great points and indeed, nothing wrong admitting you have a problem. Been there and done that--I think this week's events testify to when things go wrong, you need professional help.

    I find the self-talk to be very helpful the older I get. I've been lucky enough to live with most of my demons but every now and again--triggers are just that--something you didn't think about just made you go back "there." Realizing that is a great help and even visualizing my rational self (who is that woman?) physically walking my not so rational self at the moment away--it really helps.

    You are right too--forgiving is easier said than done although I've found that almost doable--it's the forgetting that's hard which always makes me think...hmm...did I truly forgive it--probably not. Battling depression though is a road that continues--that's not to say it's all bad--you never know what will be around the next bend. And I try to believe it's going to be something GOOD! Wishing you the same and more happy place moments than not~

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

    We are human beings that come in all sizes, shapes and colors. We all have emotional baggage. We can't change our past. We can only remember that what does not kill us only makes us stronger.

    I tell myself daily that I am a good human. I really like myself now. I still regret not having a "normal" childhood, but as you surely know, there is no such thing as "normal".

    I am responsible for me now. I am alive to enjoy life. My parents, not so much. My stepfather, probably dead. My other tormentors I ignore completely. They have no power over me.

    I don't have to forgive my abusers. I don't have to love or respect them. I do not ever have to speak to them again if I choose not to. Our lives must move forward.

    Into reality we go!!!

    Susan, I sure wish you were going with us. Make some happy memories. I'll take lots of photos and write some hubs about the trip as I am sure RH will too. Hope you get a vicarious thrill :-)

    Denise, thanks for the kind words. Practice accepting yourself and it will become second nature.

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    8 years ago from North Carolina

    Wonderful contribution to this weeks WTI, Austinstar. Tips are so practical and useful. I have also suffered from Depression and have written a hub about it. Thanks for sharing your experience here. Happy Holidays. BTW-how inspiring your last words were, "I am fat. I am getting old, but I can tell you this much, I am happy." Good for you. We all need to lighten up and just get to a place of accepting ourselves. Thanks. :) Rated up/U/I

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    All of these are excellent goals for fighting and beating depression. I was on anti-depressants for years and I finally got one person out of my life that greatly attributed to my depression (or so so I believe), went off the pills and have been great ever since and that's many years ago now.

    Have a great trip Lela and Merry Christmas. Wish I was going too .... maybe next time.


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