Self-Help for Depression:  Can I Make Myself Happy?

A Story of Self Help. How One Woman Was Able To Help Her Own Depression

Sally R. Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

Janie has been through some really difficult times. She is a single mother with an ex-husband who cannot be counted on to pay child support regularly or to show up for his time with their two children. Janie likes her job, but not the pay, and occasionally has to work overtime to make ends meet. She is close to her family and they help when they can but they have lives of their own. She has a couple of really close women friends but is not dating anyone, partly because she has not met the right person and partly because she does not have a lot of time for herself.

 If you met Janie, you would think that her life is in such a sunny place. She always has a smile on her face and if you ask her about things in her life, she will share a cute story about her children or something interesting going on in her life or job right now.

Janie’s closest friends know that

she struggles and has times of feeling angry, disappointed or sad but they would tell you that she does not let things get her down. She has the attitude that you only worry about things that you might be able to change and that the worry should be more about solving problems than stewing about the injustices and wrongs.

How Does Janie Impact the Depression?

Janie would also tell you that she has decided that she must find ways to let go of the things that she cannot change, maybe accepting that the situation is not a good one but also knowing that her energy is better spent on making her own life, and that of her daughters, the happiest and healthiest that it can be.

You may be wondering how Janie can see the good even when life is tough. You also may be wondering if she is deluding herself about reality.

Janie is actually one of the lucky ones, born with the ability to think positively on her own. She was reared in a loving and supportive family who, while they were certainly not perfect, found many ways to help her know that she was a good person with lots of good qualities and the ability to achieve whatever she put her mind to doing. Janie grew up believing in and liking herself.

Janie also makes sure that she has time for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, eats healthily and does her very best to get a decent night's sleep.  She knows the importance of keeping herself healthy and recognizes that slogan all airline people say before a flight "Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others."

Others in tough situations are not as fortunate as Janie and have to struggle with finding ways to appreciate the good in their lives. Their self help is a little more challenging. They have to teach themselves new habits of thinking, talking and acting positively. They have to find ways to focus on the good that is present in their lives rather than the bad. Very, very hard to do when you are, or have been, programmed to think of, talk about and act as if all of the bad things have and are happening to you … and yet not impossible.

If this is something that you are struggling with, we might be able to help.  We have met with other men and women who battle depression.

Consider calling or emailing
us to talk over what you might do to think and feel better about yourself and your life. You do not have to go through this alone.

Research has shown that online counseling for depression can have a significant impact on depression. Click here to get started.

A Self-Help Suggestion To Start You On The Path of Self-Help for Depression

One place to begin is to end your day, each night, by writing down three things that you are proud of or grateful for, in your life … just that day.

Check out the other resources that we have to help you on our reading and resources page.