Recently, I have become more exposed to the pain that is related to living with depression. I can honestly say that when I work with individuals dealing with major depression, their emotional pain is so deep that I can feel it in the room. By definition Major Depression Disorder is characterized by persistent and on-going feelings of sadness and lack of interest in the outside world. I always explained that depression as a sadness that is so deep that it can become painful to deal with day to day activities. Others say that depression impacts how you feel, think, and behave and it can result in many emotional and physical problems. As a result, you may have trouble doing your normal daily activities and it not in more deep depression cases you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. Commonly as a therapist who has worked with depression I have heard many people say “If I died tomorrow I really would not care”. It is usually not temporary, and it not something “you just get over”. Common symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Feelings of anger, irritability or frustration; this can be over smaller things
- Change in sleep patterns i.e. sleeping too much or too little
- Decreased or loss of interest in things that usually give us pleasure
- Lack of energy, fatigue, every small tasks takes a huge amount of effort
- Change in eating patterns; eating too much or too little
- Feelings of anxiety and or restless
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt commonly fixating on past failures or self-blame or negative thoughts
- Cognitive difficulties such as difficulties concentrating or thinking
- Frequent thoughts of suicide or death; feeling like the only way to end pain is through suicide
- Physical problems such as back pain
Recently, many of us have become more aware of how many people are impacted by depression as there has been a lot of awareness about the prevalence of its connection to suicide. It seems that more and more people realize that depression is real and it can be deadly. In reading more about depression, I have come across many articles and podcasts speaking about how a sense of purpose and meaning in life can really combat depression. It makes sense because as fighting depression really means fighting feelings of worthlessness. Having these feelings comes with constant self-doubt and a cycle of negative thoughts about yourself.
Never the less, if we are able to build a sense of purpose and meaning then we can create feelings of hope. Having a sense of meaning and purpose is essential in our lives. However, more research shows that we many of us have lost this sense of purpose. One reason we lose this sense of meaning is because we are constantly comparing our-selves to others. I mean how can we not if we have so much more access to the lives of others. Today, we are constantly on our cell phones using social media. For so many of us, social media is the first thing we look at when we wake up and the last thing we look at before we go to sleep and this is without the many times we look at it during the day. So I guess it is easy to say that are constant use of social media is resulting in us comparing ourselves many times during the day.
So lets ask ourselves, what is our sense of purpose? What gives our life meaning? If you don’t know right away, that’s okay and that’s normal. However, at the same time it is scary because we also realize that we do not know why we do what we do every day. So somewhere along the way we lost our way. We forgot what our goals are and what makes us feel fulfilled. It might be helpful to take some time and think:
- Do some meditation
- See a therapist
- Talk to a trusted friend or mentor
- Take time away from social media
- Focus on building meaningful relationships
- Read a good book
- Set new goals
All in all what this all means is do something that fulfills YOU and NO ONE ELSE.
For many of us feeling no sense of purpose comes with feeling empty and lost. Remember you are not alone and you can regain this sense of purpose. It is important to really deal with this and try very hard not to avoid it. We avoid because we hope emptiness and lack of meaning in life will magically disappear: it will not. No matter how much you try to run from this, it will follow you. It is highly likely that if you do not address the emptiness it will turn into depression. If you think you might already be experiencing depression ask yourself “where can I get a psychological evaluation near me” or “where is there a support group or therapist near me”.
If you are experiencing a lack of meaning and purpose to a degree to such an extent where you suspect you may be living with depression, it may be just the time to realize that there is no more avoiding. The depression you are experiencing might literally be your body telling you, “STOP” and “TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF”.
Self care is crucial in creating meaning in life. For example :
- Reach out to people who mean a lot to you; even if you have been avoiding them
- Do an activity you used to love; even if you do not feel like it
- Ignore your social media for a long period of time; even if it seems impossible
- Try something you have always wanted to do; even if you are telling yourself you can’t
As you care for yourself, take time, reflect on areas of your life that need changes and take small steps to make that happen. More importantly, think about how you have managed for as long as you have even with the depression and remember if you made it until this very moment; your sense of purpose is attainable. For psychological and mental health services that may help you visit our website https://rkcaregroup.com/.