Take Back Control: Identify and Manage Your Relationship With Depression

by 26Health Staff

Many therapists enter the field as a result of their own therapeutic experience, their own search for healing. My journey with depression has yielded learnings that I pass on to clients, and this blog is another place to share.

In sessions, I often ask people what their relationship with their depression is. If they seem puzzled, I explain that when my depression was at its worst, I looked at it like a comfortable old slipper. My depression became something I could cling to or use as an excuse or escape from anything I didn’t want to deal with at the time.

During arguments with my boyfriend, I would throw my hands in the air and retire to my bedroom. I would dim all the lights, put The Cure’s “Disintegration” on repeat, and lay in bed for a whole weekend. This “freed me” from having to deal with his nonsense. If I had a project due for school, forget about it. I now had a valid excuse to avoid parties and people. I looked at my depression like a long, lost friend coming into town for the night. You know shenanigans will ensue. It will be fun while it lasts, but the consequences will be hell to pay.

At some point, though, I realized that my relationship with depression would have to change if I was going to achieve other goals: a healthy romance, thriving friendships, good grades, a degree. My depression was actually robbing me of all those things I claimed to want.

Whether you realize it or not, you have an actual relationship with your depression. Is it part of your identity? Are you comfortable with it? In love with it? If so, you have an opportunity to make a change.

Manage, Don’t Embrace Your Depression

My depression used to haunt me and taunt me, taking shape as a looming figure and saying things like, “You’ll never be good enough,” or “You can’t do that.” Now, by identifying depression as an unwelcome guest rather than an old friend, I have created distance between myself and depression – an important step toward managing it.

You have to be careful with how you identify with your diagnoses. I talk to a lot of people who feel it’s just their burden to carry and it’s never going to get better. If that’s your perspective, I encourage you to pivot.

Find Your Focus to Manage Your Depression

Getting to a point where you can manage depression is true freedom. Management success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds better management skills. It’s a positive feedback loop that my clients find compelling.

My journey started with changing my mindset. Join me on this journey and thereby create a future for yourself that is full of the rewards that come with a life lived fully.