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The Path to Recovery: Overcoming Situational Depression

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 9/12/2010

Overcoming situational depression requires a proactive approach toward returning to a stabilized and content state of mental wellness by following some important guidelines and engaging in the steps to recovery we’ll discuss here. This is part one of a two-part article series.

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    Taking Action

    Overcoming situational depression is all about embarking on a path to recovery that involves taking responsibility for bouncing back from the external factors that caused the temporary condition in the first place. The suffering can be alleviated and eliminated with this course of action.

    In the second article we’ll discuss the specifics of a necessary treatment plan that involves the assistance of trained mental health professionals. But here, the focus will remain on getting the person suffering from this condition, and the people who care about them, to see the necessity of getting to that important step.

    Whether you are suffering from this form of depression, which is also known as adjustment disorder, or you want to help someone else who is laid low by it, being proactive and solution-oriented is the key. As the old adage states, if you’re stuck in the problem, you can’t possibly be thinking about the solution. It is very important to note that if situational depression isn't dealt with effectively, it could result in lapsing into major depression, and can also lead to substance abuse problems.

    Drugs and alcohol are not an effective coping mechanism and over-indulgence will only lead to a whole lot more trouble than the initial strain which brought about the condition.

    As explained in Situational versus Clinical Depression: Determining the Difference, the former condition is brought about by an external and life-disrupting condition that a person is unable to cope with temporarily. It shares many of the characterizations of clinical depression in that the afflicted person can feel totally hopeless, intensely sad, exhibit anxiety, miss work or school, have changes in appetite, sleep problems, and other similar symptoms.

    But with situational depression, no matter how terrible and despondent a person might feel from it, the upsetting event, situation, or circumstance (i.e. death of a loved one, job termination, end of relationship, shock, or hurt) that triggered this condition can eventually be coped with effectively. In essence, the person must come to terms with whatever happened and move on.

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    Asking for Help

    A New Day Dawns A person who is in the early stages of depression will not find much solace in hearing that they just need to get over it. What they need initially is emotional support, someone who will listen and understand without judgment, so that they have a trusted confidant to share their feelings with. Dismissing their worries and concerns as trivial will only prolong the condition because they’re likely to turn more inward and suppress the very things that need to be brought out and dealt with.

    Everyone reacts differently to what life throws at them, and dictating the way another should feel is almost never a good idea. The person will feel alone. Although it is said that time heals all wounds, it is the positive and helpful things that you do in that time that bring about healing and mental homeostasis quickest.

    A five-year career plan is a worthless scrap of paper unless you have being a good friend/sibling/father/mother/husband/wife/citizen prominently displayed on the list. Being there when someone close to you is down is the true test for that. Fair-weather friends bail out of the fox hole at the first sign of trouble. In a sense you are helping to liberate a mind from the tyranny of depression.

    So take heed of the words Thomas Paine wrote to inspire America to achieve its independence in the dark days of the revolution; "These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph."

    The days will indeed be much brighter after you have worked hard to overcome personal strife. Anyone attaching a stigma to someone else who is experiencing these dismal feelings has a whole lot more issues to deal with than you. The next article in this two-part series discusses the most successful and effective treatment plan for overcoming the trials of situational depression.

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    Sources

    Sources:

    Mayoclinic.com

    Dr. Amen: Depression & Mood Disorders: http://www.amenclinics.com/clinics/information/ways-we-can-help/anxiety-depression/

    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-adjustment-disorder?page=2

    VA Behavioral Health, Fort Harrison MT