6 Steps To Coping With Depression & Despair In COVID-19 Quarantine

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woman coping with depression in quarantine
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Coping with depression is never easy. Are you feeling trapped in quarantine due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic?

Fortunately, you can outwit despair. Even if you see no clear way out, don’t think it’s dangerous to hope. It’s not.

Hope is a necessary thing. It’s what breaks through those bars of despair.

RELATED: 6 Things To Remember If You Are Struggling With COVID-19 Depression & Thoughts Of Self-Harm

Be inspired to live, even if it’s different.

Don’t give in or give up.

Hold on to who you are — and were. The special music inside your mind? It’s you. And, even in what seems like solitary confinement, no one can take that away.

Here are 6 steps to coping with depression and despair during COVID-19 quarantine.

1. Find that special music inside — it’s you.

What do you love? Remember those things now.

Any creative pleasur, important people, or a cause that you're passionate about.

These are the things that will keep you feeling alive. Things that are your inner music.

Real music helps. Listen. Sing. Dance. Move.

Remember all the things that lift your spirit. Find new ones you haven’t done.

Now is the time. Do all the things you didn’t do. Explore. (Or, even soar?)

Outwit despair by remembering who you are.

2. Outwit despair and don’t let it break you.

Yes, remember who you are, the things you love, and people you care about and who care about you. Reach out and connect to them and to the life you have.

That’s what outwits despair.

It’s hard when so much has changed, and not seeing an end in sight. That can lead to gloom.

And gloom can make the voice of despair inside your head very strong.

Talk back to that voice. Don’t let despair or sadness take away your hope or your plans for the future.

Don’t.

3. If you think hope is dangerous, think again.

Do you think hope is dangerous? That’s the voice of despair talking, telling you, "It’s safer not to hope. You hoped before, and look what happened. Better not."

You might think that makes sense. But really, does it?

It only shuts down possibilities.

Here's a quote from The Shawshank Redemption: "Hope is a good thing. And, no good thing ever dies."

Don’t stop imagining. Feed your hope, starve your fear, and watch an uplifting film while you're at it.

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4. Let real friends help you.

Turn to a friend or a trusted family member. Let them remind you that there's someone on the other end of the phone — a life on the other side.

Give them a chance to be the voice of hope.

People that know you can bring you back to who you are, were, and will be again. They are encouraging words, an ear to listen, understanding, and shared memories.

You can even share a laugh. It all helps.

Use every resource you have — every real friend — to help you get through.

You can outwit despair.

5. Get busy living, and don’t give up.

There’s another famous line in The Shawshank Redemption: "Get busy living. Or get busy dying. It’s your choice."

It’s a deep truth. And now is the time to find new ways to live.

This isn’t the time to give up or give in to hopelessness.

Being down is understandable.

Cry. Grieve for what was. That’s a good thing. Crying helps.

But, don’t let despair stop you.

You can’t live the way you did and, that’s very sad.

But be creative. Find different ways.

6. Realize that freedom has a new face.

Try to visualize. Freedom in this time of COVID-19 can have a new face. Yes, we live in restrictions, social distancing, mask-wearing, and more isolation for some than for others.

Right now, think of it this way: Freedom is inside you.

Sounds trite? It’s not meant to be.

Each of us can be as free as we can to dream, imagine, create, reach out, and hope.

The most important thing? Outwit despair. Do all the things you can to keep your head up and hope alive.

We can get through this. And, we will. Together. Masks and all.

Remember these six ways to outwit despair.

There's a future beyond COVID-19. No doubt about it.

With a different face or not.

Remember: Hope defeats the voice of despair. And, that’s the best thing in the world.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Manage Depression & Feelings Of Hopelessness While Isolated In Quarantine

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Dr. Sandra Cohen is a Los Angeles-based psychologist and psychoanalyst, who specializes in treating persistent depressive states and childhood trauma. Contact her if you have any questions about finding the right therapist for you.

This article was originally published at Sandra E. Cohen, Ph.D's Moving Forward Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.