Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

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Can Depression be Cured?

By Samantha De Bono

Firstly let me say, anyone who has suffered with depression will know that in the midst of it, feeling “normal” seems a distant memory and an impossible feat. They will know that depression steals your life! Nothing brings pleasure or joy and every day feels like a monumental chore.  I’ve been there, I’ve waded through days that feel endlessly heavy and bleak and when I was going through it, I thought I would never feel better or normal again, let alone happy

But here I am, years away from those days.  Not only have I lived to tell the tale, I decided to work in a field that brings me up close to depression on a daily basis.  I see how it squeezes and darkens the lives of those who feel powerless to defeat it.  I did too!  But it IS beatable!

Here’s what I did and I honestly believe it helped.

  • I saw my therapist every week for 50 minutes.
  • Instead of snacking on chocolate or cakes, I ate nuts (chocolate coated nuts…. haha! not really). I had much bigger meals than I had previously eaten because I wasn’t snacking all day, but my meals consisted of lots of green vegetables. By doing this, I was boosting my intake of Omega-3 fatty acids which is essential to part of the cure of depression.
  • I joined an aerobic class 2 evenings after work and worked out each morning in front of the TV (are you old enough to remember Good Morning TV with Lizzy?). What I was doing was preventing rumination, instead of “cranking up the intensity of my negative mood” I was avoiding the toxic thought process I had got into.  I had introduced my own natural antidepressant.
  • As I had grown up in South Africa, I had been exposed to copious amounts of sunlight. When I was 20 I returned to England where it seemed the sun had forgotten. However, I was fortunate (I realise now) that I lived in the City of London, so didn’t need to catch public transport or drive, I walked to work every morning and home every evening.  What I was doing here was getting the required 30 minutes of sunlight (even grey cloudy light) that crucial to reset the body clock.
  • Returning to England from South Africa was difficult on many levels, but it did have a huge positive.  I reconnected with my family and felt part of something again. It felt good to speak to my mother and sister daily. I made friends from work and the gym and had a much more active social life than I had previously.  Research shows that “people who lack supportive social networks, face an increased risk of becoming depressed, and of remaining depressed once an episode strikes”.
  • Due to being more active, my sleep improved too.  I can’t remember now how many hours a night I would get and if I’m honest, I doubt I always got 9-10 hours, but I do remember not feeling exhausted like I did through my depression, in those days I would fall asleep exhausted and wake up at 3am unable to get back to sleep. Poor sleep can cause depression and depression can cause poor sleep, it's a vicious cycle.

    It’s not always easy to live a healthy lifestyle, and I don’t necessarily think a deviation from it is a terrible thing, but I think the problem comes when none of the healthy lifestyle boxes are ticked over a prolonged period of time.  But being aware of ourselves is important,  if we are self-aware, we can make changes.

    Depression knows no boundaries, it can happen to any one of us, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your life, in fact going through depression and coming out the other side can feel life enhancing.  It’s not easy, it's definitely very challenging, but often the most worthwhile things are.  If you are suffering with this debilitating illness, don’t be scared of it, don’t let it win. Please get help, it’s out there! x