The Roller Coaster of Depression
The up and downs of life are possibly the most distressing part of dealing with depression. Its variable symptoms not only make the experience of depression particularly difficult for the person who is going through it, but they also confuse those who are interacting with them. Whenever a positive change occurs in a depressed person’s life, many assume that it will be a permanent improvement. When this turns out not to be the case, people sometimes mistakenly assume that the depressed person just isn’t trying. If the depressed person could get to a good place emotionally, why can’t they stay there, some wonder?
Why Some Don’t Understand
Depressed people often encounter these fair-weather friends, as they are sometimes called. They only want to be around when someone is in an “up” phase of life. When someone is down, they tend to be avoided. These people are able to get on and off the roller coaster experience of their friend’s depression when it suits them. They do not realize, however, that someone who is depressed can never get off the ride, and having friends and a support system fade away when they are needed the most can contribute to downward slides that occur.
The Onset of Depression
The roller coaster of depression is much more complicated and confusing for the person experiencing it than for those who can just walk away when the going gets rough. Life can be going along pretty well sometimes. You may be feeling pretty good when you suddenly feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. You may not know why this happened, but you can’t seem to get up again. Depression has reared its ugly head. You’ve reached a crest on that ride, and now you’re headed down that deep, sometimes devastating slope. When that happens, you may not know how to handle it, or how long it will be before there is an uptick in your life again. That is the depression roller coaster.
How to Tolerate the Ride
There are several ways to tolerate, if not manage, your depression. Often depression and anxiety surface as a result of basically being too hard on yourself. You are probably a people-pleaser — someone who feels good about themselves when they can please other people. When you can’t, you feel bad and begin to harbor negative feelings, which build and build. One day, for seemingly no reason, you start heading down the slope of the depression roller coaster and can’t stop. There is a reason this is happening, though. Once you realize what it is, you can do something about it.
By holding in all of those negative feelings for so long, you have dealt a healthy blow to your self-esteem, leaving it whimpering in a corner. Now you have to figure out the best way to heal that injured self-esteem. Therapy is the best option for many people. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, proves to be very helpful with feelings of depression. For others it takes medication, sometimes just long enough to get to a place where they can face their feelings and deal with them. Other times, it can take much longer before they are able to drop medications, such as anti-depressants, and face the world on their own again.
Keep in mind that you can help yourself head back up that slope. It takes time, but eventually you will be able to deflect the negative feelings that you anticipate and begin to feel better about yourself. You will realize that, just because a negative comment is hanging out there in the air, it is not your responsibility to claim it.
Depression Recovery and Prevention
Eventually, you will begin to feel better about yourself and start heading up that roller coaster once again. This may not mean that you will constantly stay on the upswing of the ride — everybody has slips and falls occasionally — but you’ve put yourself on the right road. When you feel that roller coaster start to take a downward turn, use the tools you have developed to minimize that dip. In time, you may be able to prevent it from happening at all.