As a mental health counselor, there is one topic that I find often comes up in one way or another: self-care. You’d think that we would naturally identify and respond to all of our needs. After all, who knows us better than us? Unfortunately, self-care is an art that we have to learn. Even though our nature and our conscience send us warnings when something is amiss, we don’t always have the awareness to notice or the tools to act accordingly. As a person who suffers from depression, I’ve had to learn the axiom of self-care: balance.
Balancing our physiological needs, our social needs, our mental needs, and our spiritual needs is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to manage it. As I’ve learned to balance and meet all of my needs, I’ve learned to manage my depression without medication because I’ve been able to root out unnecessary stress. I am not saying that I am against medication per se. I do think, however, that we can be mistaken to believe that they fix our problems. They’re a Band-Aid solution. At the root of depression is often unhealthy stress or needs that are being ignored. In cases where there’s significant chemical imbalance causing the depression (either due to genes or to external circumstances), I advocate for medication.
What have you found to be most helpful in your own battles with depression? We all have our own battle stories we can share.