How To Deal With Depression & Cope With The Loneliness It Causes

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How To Deal With Depression & Cope With The Loneliness It Causes
Self, Health And Wellness

When depression and loneliness seem to take over your life, how do you deal with it?

You know those days when you keep saying to yourself, "I'm lonely. Am I depressed?" Those days when you are full of despair and feeling hopeless? Those days where it feels like you just want to crawl into bed and never get out?

RELATED: 5 Things You Must Try Before Turning To Mood-Boosting Medicines When You're Depressed

Managing depression and loneliness is possible — it just takes some awareness and action.

Are you having one of those lonely and depressing days today?

Here are 8 ways to deal with depression so you can learn how to cope with loneliness.

1. Assess the situation

There are two kinds of depression: situational and chemical. They have similar symptoms but different causes. Knowing what kind of depression you have is the first step to dealing with it.

Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad — like the death of a parent or a divorce or the loss of a job — you can become situationally depressed.

This kind of depression usually has a beginning — caused by a specific event — and an end and is often treated differently from chemical depression.

Chemical depression is the result of your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to depression. You are most often born with chemical depression but it can also be caused by a traumatic life event.

Chemical depression can happen to you even if your life is going great.

Look at the depression symptoms you're experiencing and ask yourself about what your life looks like these days. And once you figure out what kind of depression you might have, you can take the appropriate next steps.

2. Do things that make you feel good

If you’re feeling the symptoms of depression all of the time, your natural inclination is to collapse into your life. You stay in bed, don’t shower or eat well, and cut off contact with those you love.

Let me tell you: if you are feeling depressed and lonely, collapsing is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. Instead, it is important to do things that make you feel good.

For me, I keep a list of things to do when I am feeling depressed — take a long, hard walk (the endorphins are great for my depression), do yoga, watch The Walking Dead, take a bath, go to the movies, have sex, and eat Pad Thai.

When I am depressed, I do one or all of those things and my depression is often lifted.

What makes you happy? When you aren’t depressed, write out a list of what makes you happy so that when you are depressed, you are ready.

3. Manage your thoughts

Unfortunately, when you’re feeling depressed and lonely, our worst enemy is that brain of ours.

While we are lying on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves, our brain is actively buying into it all.

"You are a loser," it says. "You have no friends. You aren’t good at anything. You will never find love. You suck at your job."

And on and on.

And, chances are, none of those things are true. You are not a loser, you have plenty of friends, you are talented, love is out there, and your boss thinks you are doing great.

But, your brain, when you are depressed, just doesn’t go there.

It is really important to keep your brain busy when you're feeling depressed.

Yoga is a really good way to do this — you are so busy trying to figure out the damn pose that you don’t have a chance to think about anything.

It also has the side benefit of toning your body and making you feel strong, which can be helpful.

Other options for keeping your mind quiet are reading, going to a movie, hanging out with friends, or working.

Meditation is also an option but I just get more depressed when I try and fail, to meditate. But, if you can do it, go for it!

What do you like to do that will help you quiet that mind of yours, the mind that is feeding into those feelings that are bringing you down? Figure it out and do it!

4. Go for a walk

If it’s at all possible, take some time to go for a walk. There isn’t a woman I know who doesn't say that her stress levels are always greatly reduced after a walk.

The thing about walking is that it kills two birds with one stone. Or, rather, three birds!

Walking encourages deep breathing, which calms you down quickly.

Also, for some reason, the motion of walking encourages clearer thinking. The rhythm of the stride and the increased oxygen intake can make something that was extremely overwhelming just 20 minutes earlier much easier to manage.

Furthermore, the dopamine that your body creates with the motion of exercise works to help alleviate your depression instantly.

So, get outside and get your heart rate up. It’s a great way to manage feelings of depression and loneliness.

RELATED: 10 Agonizing Truths Depressed People Never Talk About

5. Share your feelings

Sharing your depression and loneliness with another person is a key part of dealing with it.

They say that what is kept inside the head is four times more intense than what is spoken. Also, if you share your depression you might learn something that will help you manage it.

We all have things that work for us and sharing them with others can be very helpful.

If you have someone you can talk with about your depression and loneliness then absolutely do it — be it a therapist, a life coach, a friend or a partner.

Let those overwhelming thoughts out of your head and into the world.

From there your thoughts have reduced power and are easier to deal with.

6. Write it out

Do you journal? Or write letters to yourself? Or scribble notes on post-its? If you do, great! If you don’t, it could be time to start.

Writing about things that are overwhelming you can be useful — both for your depression and your loneliness — especially if you don’t have someone with whom to share your sadness.

Much like speaking, writing allows you to get your sadness out of your head and onto paper.

And when you can see your feelings on a piece of paper in front of you, instead of having it rolling around in your brain, it’s much easier to manage.

7. Find a friend

When you are feeling depressed and lonely one of the hardest things to do, ironically, is to get out of the house and spend time with people. I know how difficult it can be.

Spending time with those who love you can lift your depression and loneliness big time, if only for a bit.

If the prospect of hanging with a group of friends is daunting, choose one friend. Perhaps the one who knows you best and can accept where you are right now emotionally.

A friend who will put no pressure on you to "get over it" or "suck it up." A friend who will laugh with you and be silly but who won’t try to fix you.

So, pick up that phone right now and reach out to that person. Make a date and do it! I promise you that that time spent will help you when you are feeling depressed and lonely.

8. Talk to your doctor

If everything else fails and still you find yourself feeling depressed and lonely all of the time, then it’s time to call your primary care doctor.

Feeling consistently depressed and lonely might indicate some serious health problems and getting a complete check-up from your doctor could be really important.

Your doctor can take a look at all aspects of your life and help you come up with a plan for managing your depression and loneliness so that they don’t get worse, which they will if they are left untreated and allowed to persist.

Remember, your doctor won’t judge. There are lots of people who feel just like you do every day and that’s what doctors are there for — to help us all.

So, if you’re seeing the signs of depression and you want to know how to stop feeling lonely all of the time, it’s important that you do something about it right now!

Do a quick assessment of your life and try to figure out what kind of depression you might have.

Take care of yourself, make yourself happy, keep your brain busy, spend time with one friend and, if necessary, see your doctor.

Depression can go away on its own if properly managed but will get worse if left untreated.

Try the things recommended above but always pay attention to how you are doing. If you are getting worse and not better, get help!

You can do it!

RELATED: 14 Things To Do Right Now If Your Spouse Is Depressed — Don't Wait!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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