Life After Depression: How to Thrive – What Helps. What Gets in the Way

Life After Depression: How to Thrive - What Helps. What Gets in the Way

Depression keeps itself alive with an intense, overwhelming sense of hopelessness. This hopelessness kills the motivation to reach into the world for support, something that is already fragile because of the stigma that is so often attached to mental illness.

New research, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, offers a reason for hope. There is life after depression – a strong, healthy, happy life – and the research has found the factors that will help to make this possible and those that will get in the way.

In a study involving more than 2,500 people who had experienced a major depressive disorder at some time in their lives, researchers found that about two in five people (39%) were able to fully recover and experience full mental health. The researchers defined full mental health as:

  • experiencing happiness or life satisfaction almost every day for the last month;
  • a full year without depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or substance abuse; and
  • positive social and psychological well-being. 

The research revealed important findings about what helped, what hindered and what had no bearing at all on the likelihood of thriving after depression.

Life After Depression. How to Thrive

What makes the difference.

The research found that social support played a major role in achieving full mental health after depression.  Having at least one trusted friend quadrupled the likelihood of a full recovery.

Sometimes depression can make people feel as though they are just out of reach and loving someone with depression can be lonely, frustrating, painful and deeply worrying. If you’re close to someone with depression, you might feel as though you’re not making a difference, but that’s what depression does – it’s the dirty little liar that tries to pull the fight out of all of us – those who have the illness and those who care who would do anything to make it better for them. What this research is telling us is that being there, as a trusted friend, has the power to make an enormous difference in helping your loved one find the way out of depression. 

Formerly depressed adults who had emotionally supportive and close relationships were four times more likely to report complete mental health than those without such relationships. Having at least one trust friend was critical to cultivating complete mental health.” Mercedes Bern-Klug, Associate Professor, University of Iowa.

The research also found that hose who fully recovered from depression were more likely to deal with stress through exercise or spirituality.

There is so much research showing the remarkable capacity of exercise to reduce the symptoms of depression. Exercise restores the levels of two important neurotransmitters, glutamate and GABA, to healthy levels. It also seems to have a healing effect on the damage done by inflammation. Increasingly, research is finding that systemic inflammation is a major contributing factor to depression. Regularly exercising for periods between 8-20 minutes seems to be enough to make the difference.

The surprising factor that makes no difference at all. 

The length of time someone has been struggling with depression makes no difference to their ability to reach full mental health. According to the research, people who had experienced depression for over two years were just as able to fully recover and flourish in their lives after depression, as those who had the illness for only a month. 

What gets in the way of recovery.

The research also found a number of factors that seemed to undermine the likelihood of achieving full mental health after depression. These included poor physical health, chronic pain, insomnia, and a history of substance abuse.

The take-aways.

One of the reasons that depression is so debilitating is because the core symptoms of depression make it hard to reach out for support or to keep up the for the way out. When they combine forces, lethargy, sadness, emptiness, and intense feelings of hopelessness put up a mighty push against even the strongest, bravest and most determined human spirit. The social isolation and stillness that comes from this feeds depression and makes recovery even harder, but where social isolation hurts, social connection heals.

This research gives hope and encouragement to keep up the fight. Many people who experience depression will fully recover. Many others will find some level of relief from their symptoms. There is no quick fix for depression, but there is great hope for healing. The fight is worth it – the capacity to flourish in life after depression is there.



Social support is the one thing that pushed me down the depression cliff. My parents are the most supportive people I have ever encountered. When I failed the testing system in Asia, they brought me overseas. When I failed to pursue my dream, they told me to get another dream. As I’m still struggling with my life right now, they told me it’s okay to quit whenever I feel like, for they have enough savings to support me until I’m old. Same goes with my co-workers, my friends, my mentors, and very people around me, willing to provide any help. But I can’t stop feeling like a loser. I have failed every single step. I’m tired of disappointing the ones who love me. I freeze up in bed, can’t move for days. I know I’m in trouble. I need to talk to loved ones. But I can’t. I don’t want to let them down again. I don’t know what to do anymore. I know enough to “break things down into small steps, prioritize thing, try one step at a time.” But I can’t find the will to keep moving forward. Only guilt is pushing me every now and then, when my boss asks for updates and when loved ones demands to hear that I’m okay. I feel like I have ruined everything.


Our mental health is our own responsibility. It is hard to change with thinking there is a cure outside our own mind, body and soul. Do small steps to get from underneath the rumination of what once was the expectation of happiness. The reality is that you have to take small steps each and everyday to achieve small goals and be content that you have accepted life on its terms. I am not preaching-I have and continue to choose a better way to live. It’s a process but only you can work it. Life is a gift.

Alona K

Thank you for this clear and realistic attitude. It makes all the diffrence to hear this simple and direct wisdom from someone who experienced the darkness and came out with conclusions based upon intimate knowledge. I can’t listen anymore to health practitioners reciting their textbook based recommendation, with eyes empty of true pain.

Not real name

I think one of the reasons I went into depression was because at one point a strong part of me realized that I won’t be able to fulfill my dreams.
In my early 20s I became a member of a cult which taught me few things which helped me in my life. Being an achiever mentality person I used what I learnt and remained focused on achieving one dream after another. But the cult members realized that I wasn’t much dedicated to their “Cause” and set up a trap to destroy my journey on my path. Being trustful of them I stepped into that trap and suddenly lost all motivation and dedication towards my dreams. This resulted in growing sense of frustration then anger then grief then fear and then hopelessness or despair.

Family members didn’t knew what happened and my mother also had her own anxiety and depression issues which further aggravated the situation.
However, luckily I got first into Yoga which gave me some energy to move and then even more luckily into meditation which quickly (one year) helped me to build my energy and clear up my blockages. Also a lot of help from different sources have helped me to understand about my “inner child” and the harm done by cult learning and experience. One of the biggest problem faced was that nobody was able to understand what I was going through. But luckily financial help from my father and emotional support and love from my wife kept me going.
Although a lot of years have gone by but the good thing is that I am back on my journey to initial dream and have started to experience moments of happiness and joyfulness. Whether I will be able to achieve my dream or not I don’t know but as long as their is hope it keeps me alive.
I personally wish you all a lot of love as I now understand what you all are going through.
If anyone of you need help or guidance please feel free to mail me.

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake

Hello, your story resonates with me, even though I’ve never been involved in a cult. I, however, had been telling myself the story I am special and I will achieve all my dreams one day. After a few mishaps in my career, I came to the realization that life does always go up and my dreams can surely fail as well if I don’t do the right things. What’s worse (or just more real) is that I am not special as a human who struggles in this society and who suffers from any pain in life. I started meditation, as well as talk therapy, one year ago and it has been a life-changing experience. From not having an interest in anything in life to being capable of a full-time job and a healthy daily routine, I have seen so much progress in myself. Nonetheless, I don’t feel I am fully recovered. I am just able to keep anxiety and depression away from me but the feeling of it is deep under my skin and they can emerge if I am not careful. Also, I don’t even think I can recover back to the old me because so many things about me have changed. I embrace the Buddism idea of “not self” and that’s how I make sense of what happened to me. My new truth is, life is full of pain, but all the pains are just sensations and I don’t need to suffer from them. And nothing lasts, so all the aspirations and ambitions are just fictional. I sure want to strive for them, but my failures won’t make my life any less valuable. As spiritual as it might sound, I also feel less motivated than before and I consistently wonder what the point is in doing this and that. That’s not particularly motivating my life and it remains a “problem.”

I thought about writing this down and I saw your post, so I figured that my words fit here. It’d be appreciated if you have any more experience that you want to share after a few more years since your journey.


I feel my depression might be starting to lift. What can you recommend doing when it starts to lift. Day by day please 🙏

Skylar W

It’s interesting to learn that social support played such an important role in recovering after depression. My mother has struggled with depression for years now, but she’s never got help before. I’ll do my best to support her while also encouraging her to see a professional.

Jostine Gafane

I lost my loved one because I was depressed, all my frustration I took it out on them. And now they want nothing to do with me.


Hey I Don’t know you but I have a similar situation to yours. The advice I want to give you is have courage to ask help from them even if things are really messed up. I realised the longer you push them away the more miserable you get and the more your thoughts take over and convince you that they can’t help. Accept support! And rebuild your relationship with your loved ones you will feel so much better once you try


I know I’ve lost the love of my life to severemajor depressive disorder. She left me . I’m struggling to stay afloat. But know Your not alone. You and I are kindred and pained souls.


I have suffered from deep depression and anxiety for 20 years. I lost my mom when I was 11. I was raised by an abusive father after that. I just recently had a major heart attack at 31. In good health, just stress. But I’m finally getting out of this depression, and it’s starting to feel amazing. I feel like I’m myself again. I have joy in the little things, I was always so stuck in just trying to survive. That I never lived. Now I’m living every day. Therapy has been amazing. I just wanted to say, if I can do it. All of you can!


How do u live life after depression and have still some depression. How do u make friends when u haven’t been around people 48 years, it’s a vicious cycle. Need to be around people but u really don’t or can’t make yourself be around people. How do u make friends or even acquaintances?


Hey beth.
My name is Yasmin.
Even if you do not care and everything seems stupid and pointless and we are all going to die one day mentality is evident. My advice is be open, engage in conversation ask questions and mantain the habit of going there. <3

Sianny M

Hi, long term depression isn’t easy but what about joining a yoga class or art class? Choose something that interests you? Good luck x

Sarah A

With all due respect, this comment kinda rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t want to sound condescending since you clearly have good intentions, but in my experience with depression, trying to push myself out of my comfort zone (ex go to a yoga class like you suggest) was one hell of a task- borderline impossible at times. Sometimes it can be extremely benefitial, but let’s say maybe the yoga class was a bit disappointing in some way or another or I didn’t perform to some standard, felt embarassed, etc. If I have any sort of negative experience no matter how insignificant it would be unbearable and give me a negative association with yoga class that would be hard to shake. This would even affect activities within my comfort zone as well, since I was terrified that one day that activity that was in a way promised to be helpful turns out to be a huge disappointment that makes me feel 1000x worse. It is a completely irrational and toxic way to think but it was the reality. Additionally, in my experience I could not think of any personal interests I had since everything I once enjoyed was horribly painful to me. I think a good alternative solution is to find a way to negotiatie with that depressed version of yourself that tells you that trying anything new just makes you more depressed. Maybe a yoga class is too far out of your comfort zone, so a baby step towards going out and doing something around people could be closer related to something you don’t mind as much or is comforting- maybe even in a slightly unhealthy way, like sitting down in the mcdonalds instead of the drive thru. its quite funny and sad but so are you if youre depressed. embracing it was also helpful for me in the sense that I allowed myself to accept the dark painful reality of what a depressed loser i had become in a more lighthearted/sarcastic/ironic way to take the edge off. The line between tragedy and comedy is thin- not a far leap to make and very worth it. Just hard to joke about it around people who arent depressed because they just get concerned but hey- fuck them! if being depressed takes everything away from you, at least it makes you cooler than mentally stable people even if you are worse in literlaly every other way! Anyways, rant over, best of luck to you Sianny.


Thank you for your comment, Sarah! I’m dealing with a deep depression that I just can’t seem to shake. I remember long ago I used to have a sense of humor and I appreciate what you said about accepting the darkness and maybe looking at it with a lens of sarcastic or dark humor at times can help a little. And I agree with you that jumping into something like a group class can have an effect opposite to what is desired. Your idea of dining in instead of drive thru just to be where people are isn’t half bad! I’ve been forcing myself to make plans with one or two friends maybe once a month or so. While it hasn’t helped tremendously, it gets me out of my head for a bit. I make myself exercise daily because that’s supposed to help. I need to get outside more—they say that can be helpful as well. Anyway, I thank you for sharing your perspective—I could instantly relate to the feelings you expressed!


First of all, let me address your idea Sianny. I don’t know if you have been unfortunate enough to live with depression. My father used to say “just get over it” because he had no idea what it was like. Your idea of go to a yoga class, art class or any class of a hobby you enjoy is like telling a depressed person blah blah blah blah blah. Can you imagine starting the day with the thought of I really want to go out today and enjoy the world but you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom because you are so depressed? Getting out of bed and even thinking about taking a shower and getting dressed to go out to a class is just simply impossible when you are depressed.

Thank you for your suggestion and it’s a nice thought but for a person with depression, it’s just not reality. Many days I’ve stayed in bed when it’s a glorious sunny day outside. And you get depressed because you can’t go out and enjoy it. It’s a vicious circle. Nice in theory but not reality when you are depressed. The safest place is your bed.

Sarah, thank you for everything you said!!


Exactly what I was thinking. Good suggestions when you’re on the outskirts of depression, but there have been many days when getting out of bed In the morning felt like climbing a mountain. Motivation is just not there when you are in full on depression. Try setting daily goals that are small and doable. And yes, some days that goal will be to get out of bed and shower. Watch your diet (beans and protein are great), exercise(even if it’s just walking to the mailbox), no alcohol, find a therapist, talk to God.

Christopher F

Hi… I really can identify with your thoughts on getting put there do to speak. Example… My therapist would suggest exercise which in my case was simply impossible at the time I spent in hell for 5 straight years. I tried every conceivable treatment known. One time I was at the gym on a treadmill crying terribly. I was so sick with depression it was unbearable. My point is.. I agree with you because if you can’t lift your head off the pillow how the fuck can you exercise? Yoga etc. On top of that I felt a sense of guilt if I couldn’t perform what people were suggesting. I also felt I was letting myself down on top of the devastation that depression causes. I’m 55 now and while no where near as DEPRESSED I am still lost. I was 50 when I got steam rolled and I was 295 lbs do to the side effects of POISONOUS antidepressants etc. They were just not for me. So… I trashed all of that shit… Changed my nutrition and lost 70lbs. Now.. I’m slowly recovering. Breathing exercises and trying to change my thinking to be more optimistic is helping. Educating myself etc… I stopped watching tv and listening to the negativity of the world. Anyone going through he’ll and is trying to recover be easy on yourself.. It’s not your fault! Tiny tiny changes can help you. I wish I could hug anyone suffering and help. This is the best I can do. Breathe correctly and don’t fight it. Roll with it and your brain will respond slowly but surely. Bless u all! I don’t know you but I love you!


Christopher, I wish we could connect. I absolutely see myself at this exact point. No meds, forget therapy. I want to change my diet and my mindset. I know I can do this and it is small changes and I’m doing the work. If you somehow see this, I’d love to hear from you.


Hi. It’s refreshing to see your answer. Most people have the idea that you can ‘just’ get a friend or go out or find something that makes you happy. Nothing makes you happy isn’t that the problem?? How contour get passed that!?!?!

neil s

There is a time, you have to cut the cord, and look after no. 1. Most of the time, this makes the cared for ( or sometimes the narcissist, I’m afraid it’s true) work on them selves, knowing it’s sink or swim. This is not selfishness. 2 people drowning is no good to anyone…..


❤ I wish I had some advice. In my relationship, it’s me who has the depression and I don’t know how he can stand being around me most of the time. He’s not ready to talk to about my feelings… but for some reason, he stays. Best of luck to you in this very difficult position ❤

Vickie A

My family is why I am depressed and it has been for many years. Being a child of divorce is never easy. I think this is when my depression began. I wanted to get away from this situation so bad that I married before I was ready. I loved someone else, but his family didn’t think I was good enough. He was a son of a doctor. I was the daughter of a mechanic. Just another reason for feeling rejection. I had felt rejected by my mother when my father kicked her out for committing adultery. Something she says didn’t happen.
I eventually fell in love with my husband. He is a good man. But, I still had family issues that kept me torn up. Because of the divorce, my brother became an alcoholic. He got a girl pregnant and when the baby was born, I begged him to marry her. A BIG MISTAKE! She was a whore from a low life family! I don’t mean to stand in judgement, but it is the truth. My brother’s wife had sex with her own brother. So I have been told.
My brother worked away, and while he was gone, she let her 10 and 13 year old daughters smoke pot and drink. Nothing good ever happened in this family. My brother went to jail several times for spousal abuse, trumped up accusations. My father and I had to help keep his family up for over 20 years. My father remarried twice and the second wife, as well as my father got tired of giving them money when they wouldn’t do the right thing with their money, which was to pay the bills. So finally, my father washed his hands of him, but years later after grandchildren came into play. As a result, I was placed in the position by my brother to be the sole provider for his family. His wife began selling drugs to support their habits. His daughters ended up being drug addicts because of the crowd they hung out with and each produced two children a piece who all have different fathers that want nothing to do with the children. So, I felt sorry for the children and would buy them school clothes each year as well as help my brother keep the utilities on for their sake. The grandchildren ended up being in the care of my brother.
Well, on October 3, 2017, my brother and his wife were arrested for dealing drugs. So they lost custody of the grandchildren. They were placed with family members. My niece, Ashley, ended up being arrested a few weeks later for several reasons and her children had to be placed somewhere. Her oldest had already went to live with her father’s brother and wife when she dropped them off on my brother and abandoned them to chase after another man.
All that being said, Ashley’s youngest had to end up being put in Foster Care. I was asked to take her, but I am older with health issues who never had children of my own. I didn’t feel like I could handle it. So, now I can’t have any contact with her. I was used to buying her clothes and seeing her on a regular basis while she was placed with an Aunt by marriage, who ended up having to giver her up because she was too old and not able to care for the child. Now I feel guilty about that and have to deal with my brother and his family being in jail. I am the only member of the family that has anything to do with them because I am in charge of their finances.
In addition to all of this, my sister, her daughter, and me have had words because I didn’t approve of my niece getting engaged before she finished school. They said some things that really hurt me and I don’t think I will ever forget. I have since apologized and my sister and I are kinda talking again, But, my niece won’t have anything to do with me and that hurts.
But to back up several years, I need to explain that after 27 years of working with American Standard, my husband lost his job because the plant shut down. He had worked there since he had graduated college, so he had worked his way up the ranks and became Controller of the plant making good money. He was fortunate enough to find another job at the age of 50, but with a decrease in pay. While waiting to completely shut the plant down, he lost $700,000.00 when the market collapsed. Our future had been grossly affected. I was a school teacher, but had retired early due to illness, so I wasn’t drawing the max amount that I could have been drawing. I felt like my life was over and tried to kill myself with an overdose of sleeping pills. Needless to say, it didn’t work and I had to start seeing a Psychiatrist. I was given medication for depression. But, I didn’t care if they worked or not. I had to take a job making minimum wage and it was humiliating for me, someone with a college degree who had been a teacher. So I started drinking. Now I think I have become an alcoholic, not only for everything that has happened to me, but because I don’t get along with my stepmother. Therefore, I have very little contact with my elderly father. I wish to die everyday. But, I know my punishment will be to have to live all alone with out my husband or parents.


wow ,what a history. The alcohol won’t help. I’ve used the 12 rooms. Some relief there. In fact, I’ve been avoiding my program for some time. I’ going back.

rose p

I thank you all for your bravery it is hard sometimes just to write what is happening you think you are crazy and alone like looking out of a window and you are not in the real world you lost normal activities dressing caring about how u look everything is work if u get dressed u can not know what to wear everything is work in your head, so lost the pain I feel for everybody that is stuck in depression can so feel your pain please fight I am no choice I am going to try these suggestions God Bless


The best way to deal with depression is cutting all ties with everyone who knows you, except one or two you are completely comfortable with. And, then, meeting new people and making a new circle. Getting yourself occupied with new things like fitness, travel, healthy food. And, then, never give up on those things. This is what worked for me.

Loretta R

I completely agree with this approach. This is what I have been doing for about a year now. Making new friends, contributing to friendship and the community are what it is about. Fitness is another thing. Yesterday I went on an 8 mile walk! Today I am doing restorative yoga. I keep chugging one day at a time.


I’ll try your 3rd step. I have already done that cutting all ties with everyone and keeping one or two friends. I am gonna meet new people like finding a job. I also started in fitness like mountain biking.


This seems interesting; as I thought about doing this. Do you think that even family is necessary to cut out of your life ?


For the question of if you need to cut your family out of your life, it depends. The people closest to us influence our lives a lot. And so, if you have people who don’t support you or people who bring you down most of the time when you are around them, it would be best to try and separate from these people. If you keep them in your life, it will be hard to combat depression. However, you don’t necessarily have to cut these people out of your life… if you work hard on trying to repair your relationship with them. I used to have a horrible relationship with my parents but to my surprise, I was able to repair my relationship with them. This had to do with me and my parents both listening to one another, forgiving one another, and trying to understand one another. Of course, if the person you are trying to repair a relationship with isn’t willing to do any of these things, then it is best for you to separate from them.

Nasim k

Hello friends in 9 th standard I got depressed now I am in class 12 I was struggling from anxiety but now I am full mentally fit full physically fit and ?have lot of friends. Socially fit I have 2 year of medical treatment. But i cannot fully fit .so I started friendly life and forget the all past. I saw in month that I am changing .i believe in god very much. Now I am fully fit and enjoy every moment.


Anone else have that feeling like you don’t know what to do with your everyday life because when I had depression my life was all bout trama or thinking about it day and night now I barley know myself…And if you think about it it’s kinda sad I gotta take pills to be happy but at least I’m not in deep thought each day I guess but still don’t feel as normal


Completely agree with you. I’ve lost my whole personality and everyday is a struggle even with medication. I’m just hanging on to that one day when it’s over, keep fighting. There are lots of people struggling, communicate with others.


That happened to me, When my Grandpa died when I was 7, I was devastated, he was my best friend, my security. My dad wasn’t really my image of security like other teenage girls, it was my Grandpa. My Grandpa taught and talked about a lot of life advice, not only with my dad but with my mom when she was growing up. (this Grandpa was my mom’s dad) He was sick, had bone cancer, his liver was failing, and other cancers, etc. So when he died I completely shut down, I became more introverted than before, and it just continued to grow and grow and grow. I shut everybody out, I stopped eating, I started to fail in school. But the worse thing was my parents didn’t know how serious it was, or was becoming. I started to have more and more panic attacks, and adding on the fact that I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, (my mom has it) even though I had medication to help with my ADHD, I was in an emotional & mental hell. My Grandpa’s death killed the little girl I once was, a happy, innocent of depression, very chatty little girl. Now I can’t say that I’m the same as I once was. I am getting better though, once my parents found out how serious it was, they responded immediately, I got the treatment I needed, although it took a long time for me to get out of the darker place, I’m honestly still fighting it. But it’s not as bad as it was before. Now, I always think what he would think of me now….


My GOODNESS Adam!!! I have been trying to verbise your statement for years! Depression hit me in my mid teens and now I am 30, was diagnosed at 27.

People at my age have so much life experience and direction. I have scars, an able body, an “able” mind and no self-motivated reason to live.

For now, I will hold on to the idea of a better tomorrow as presented in this article.


I have the same problem. No direction in life. I got sick at 20 and now that I’m better I’m 30. I lost all my friends, family, and really just lived in bed. Now that I’m better it’s hard to know what to do with myself. I sit at home all day without a single thing to do and that in itself is pretty depressive. I often ask myself “what do people do all day” I’m not healthy enough to work yet, otherwise I think that would keep me busy and motivated for something. Had agoraphobia for so long as well and a fear of germs so sometimes it’s still easier to stay inside. I just feel trapped in a whole different way, because I can leave my house now just have nothing to do. Nothing to progress towards or goals to reach. Everyday really feels meaningless and like this is all for nothing.

Ronda Conley

That’s is the way I feel it’s seems like my depression has got better which it came on me 3 years ago but I feel like I have to get to know myself again and how normal life feels again and I’m wanting to get a job but still have the feelings and thoughts if I will be able to be myself again and put all this behind me does anybody feel like that?


I would desperately love to leave my family as I feel it is the only way I am going to heal. But I have tremendous guilt at the thought because of how I was raised. My entire life has been a sacrifice for others and I have rarely ever felt I had agency in my decisions and anything that has happened to me. I never chose my life. It is as though the whole of it happened to me rather than me making it happen. I am so frightened of being controlled by others I basically have no friends now. My partner is a nice person but he is also a liar who has done so much damage to me emotionally through his lies. I have two dependent children and an adult son living with us but I feel I have no capacity to care for them. I don’t know what to do. Every time I try to take some control over my life something bad happens and I have hit wall after wall. I am so tired.

Phil Hamilton

As someone who almost died from depression 30+ years ago, I appreciate your informing the public in this article.

Instead of saying a variation of “A study has shown” or “Research has found”, I wish you had cited the research you referred to in a number of places. The Internet is packed with information, some of it reliable and some of it not. Citing the studies would let your readers check out the research.

Thanks again for publicizing a topic that some people still feel afraid to talk about.

Karen Young

Hi Phil – the original research article is hyperlinked to the name of the journal in the second paragraph. Just look for the blue writing and it will take you to the original research papers. All the ‘research’ in that articles refers to this study unless it is otherwise mentioned or hyperlinked. Hope that helps.

say so

I have have had supersized depression for decades probably 30 years or so. Mostly cane about through abusive family.
What has really helped me was to deal with my abusers. The in usual thing was that my abusers were close members meaning family starting with mother. I had to bite the bullet and deal with these people. My mother was always to threatening to curse me so I asked her to do it and basically cut her out of my life. I did not even attend her burial. My damaged brothers and sisters were too damaged for my mental health. So again it was painful to kick them out of my life. They have continued to struggle to continue abuse but I have got better and better.
I almost feel cured.
The point is I dealt seriously and aggressively with the sources of my mental illnessness.
It was not easy. These were family.
The collateral damage was massive.
But my mental health comes first. I am glad I took the hard road. I am glad I am now healed.


I’m reading through these comments and while I empathize with most people who have been bullied etc, I felt relieved when reading your experience.

Having grown up in an abusive family, only after cutting them out of my life I started to understand what a game that environment had played on me and how the things I was used to (my coping habits) were the worst parts of my character.

It’s only been a year but day after day I’m feeling negative stuff coming out of my system, when I’m at work, in my dreams, it’s almost surreal. Toxic conversations and imagery that have happened decades ago that I didn’t even remember just pop up in the middle of the day, crystal clear.

If anyone reading this lives with an abusive family, don’t just walk away, run. Your mental health should be your top priority. Even the most beautiful memories you have could be just you in denial.


I’m fighting depression for years ,l was bullied in a factory years ago.l live in the past all the time .lm trying to feel well but it is hard.


I got depression when i was in 9th grade now i have passed 12th …but being from a less aware family about mental ilness i didn’t get the well medication..any how i passed my 10th and for further study i went to a city where i started my medication after a log hardship as people started thinking that its not a illness but just my thoughts…but anyhow i started but it didn’t help me muc.then i came to Delhi as i am currently living here and started my medication in aiims i am improving day by day but i think each day is still harder..iys my 5th months of treatment , everyday there is a trauma ,sadness,lonliness, hopelessness..i am unable to concentrate on my studies…plz give me suggestions what to do now..and yes i have not told anyone even my parents don’t know i am depressed and having medication

Karen Young

Zeeshaan I wish you could know how many people have depression and would absolutely understand what you are going through. Depression is so common and there is absolutely no shame in it at all. It is a physiological condition, and although we aren’t really sure exactly what causes it, it is likely to be a combination of factors that could happen to anybody. Perhaps the most important things you can do to help your recovery are exercise, meditation and sleep. There are many articles on this link about the things that can help. Please take your time to look through them and see what feels right for you If you are taking your medication, it’s important that you continue to do so under the supervision of your doctor. I also want you to know that you can get through this. Your are brave, strong and resilient – you’ve proven that. Hang in there and keep fighting for you.


how do i deal with the constant thoughts of taking my own life, when my medication isnt helping me any. in fact im afraid its making me worse. i feel like my only support is my girlfriend, but shes in a different state and i currently have no way of communicating with her other than through letters. i just constantly think about ways to end my life and im tired of crying everynight and having these episodes of rage or complete sadness. i just want to get better but its been 5 years and ive just been getting worse. any advice please? at this point anything would help.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Tori please please please go back to your doctor. Antidepressants can take a little while to work, but if you’ve been on them for a while (longer than six weeks), or if you feel as though they are making you feel worse, it might be that these are the right ones for you. There are plenty of other options though in terms of medication. Your doctor will be able to help you with this. Also, read this article. There are other things that can help. Mindfulness and exercise done together can reduce symptoms by up to 40%. This is because of the way they change the brain and help to protect it against depression. There is a lot of really reliable, strong research that has found that mindfulness and exercise can really help with depression but when they are done together, they can be powerful. Here is an article that explains it.

It’s really important to keep in your mind that one of the symptoms of depression is feelings of hopelessness. What this means is that your feelings of hopelessness aren’t because things are hopeless, but because that’s what your depression is telling you right now. Things won’t always be like this. I know how awful and debilitating depression can be but it really can be managed. Please talk to your doctor and read the article I have linked to in this comment. You won’t feel like exercising or meditation but it can really make a difference. Exercise can just be a 30 minute walk outside. For the meditation part, there are plenty of apps that can help you but one that I like is the Smiling Mind app. You can download it for free here Do this two things and give it at least for weeks. If in the meantime you feel as though you are really struggling and thinking about suicide, please call one of the numbers here. I can’t tell which country you are from, but wherever you are there will be somewhere you can get 24 hour support

You will get through this. Keep fighting for you – one day, I promise, you will look back and be so grateful that you did. Love and strength to you.


Hi Tori, I’m a 57 year old and had depression for over 10 years.
My suggestion is to read “Lost Connection” by Johann Hari.
I’ve just finished it tonight ( 2-10-2020 ) and think it is so good it may have helped me simply by reading it.
Tomorrow I will not consider myself depressed.


To add to the above, with which I agree, children of those suffering depression are vitally in need of understanding, compassion and support.


I’d be interested in hearing how people cope with a depressed spouse who is self absorbed even when well, won’t talk about his depression yet expects support and cannot show any empathy in return.
More focus should also be attached to those who care for, or live with, someone with depression as their stories are untold. Carers are very likely to get depressed themselves.

Hey Sigmund

Anita your stories are untold – I absolutely agree with you. Depression never only affects one life. Loving someone with depression can be such a lonely thing. This it what depression does – it isolates people. I know there would be so many others who would relate to what you are going through. We desperately need a cure for this don’t we. Know that there is a lot of research happening in the area so hopefully they aren’t too far off.


The carer also needs a friend and supporter away from the main depressed person.


Gosh, I was so relieved to read this. My spouse is exactly like this. It’s exhausting. Also if I’m going through a bit of stress, he is doubly stressed and I’ve learned to be pretty emotionally self-sufficiet and keep my emotions contained as much as I can. Thankfully I’ve got wonderful friends to support me.


How do u develop friendships when u r trying to live after depression with some symptoms still? It’s a vicious cycle & making friends is next to impossible.

Jenny Bohner

That is spot on! There is a support group called ARAFEMI in Australia to help carers of depressed people. They will send you some literature if you request it. Unfortunately, depression does seem to cause the person to become self-absorbed, and it can actually be quite helpful for the person to do some volunteer work. Being helpful seems to make them less depressed. Good luck to you.


Hi Anita. What you described about depressed spouse is exactly what I am going through right now with my husband. He shows no emphaty and shuts down totally. I am very lost and in depression. I can’t find my way out.

neil s

There is a time, you have to cut the cord, and look after no. 1. Most of the time, this makes the cared for ( or sometimes the narcissist, I’m afraid it’s true) work on them selves, knowing it’s sink or swim. This is not selfishness. 2 people drowning is no good to anyone…..

Luke B

He can’t help it he comes off as self absorbed because he’s battling to feel the way he used To feel and read what he said going through… rn ting the feel confidence so instead he’s talking to you about the man he used to be or what’s wrong because he knows something is wrong there’s something underlying factor emotional more than likely that’s hurting him and preoccupying his mind so he can’t do the things he used to do. Trust me he doesn’t mean to u need to show love support And help him remember the man he used to be.. he’d be there for u in time.


hai guys,

So sorry to hear you are all going through this,
As someone who is at the end of a depression and can finally see what it did to the people around me I thought it might be useful to send a message.

As others said, please please know that it is never meant to hurt you. When I was in my deepest, darkest place I was fighting so hard to stay alive that I really couldn’t do anything other than that. Even tho I tried to be there for others. It just wasn’t possible. I do not know how some of them kept up with me but boy am I grateful to this day.
So I would like to thank you on behalf of your so for being so incredibly strong. Second to that tho. Please do not forget about yourself. Do everything you need do to do to be ok too. Nobody that feels the dark of the depression wishes it onto somebody else! So please take care of yourself even if that means choosing yourself over the other.
What I found really useful was that some of my friends sometimes completely ignored that the depression was there. They would just get a game out and play it with me. Talking freely about a football game or what not. Even tho in the beginning I found it hard, those were the moments where I finally wasn’t the depressed person and could feel like a normal person even if it was only 5 minutes.
Then the last thing I hope to tell you is that what I needed most was someone beside me. knowing that someone would take my hand when it was hard. I did not need someone to stand in front of me and protect me or stand behind me to catch me. I needed someone next to me. Just to know that I could grab their hand if I needed it.
Let’s say the depression put me in the woods at night, I couldn’t see, i was lost and afraid. I wouldn’t want you to run into the woods and possibly get lost too. I would love for you to shine your light at the edge of the forest so I could look for it and follow it.
I’m not sure anything useful is in here for you, but I hope that you know that no one expects you to lose yourself and your happines for that of the depressed person.
Talk a lot. Communicate well. and know that standing next to someone is more than enough!
You are amazing and thank you for being so kind!


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I LOVE being able to work with early childhood centres and schools. The most meaningful, enduring moments of growth and healing happen on those everyday moments kids have with their everyday adults - parents, carers, teachers. It takes a village doesn’t it.♥️
Thank you @lori.desautels!💕

“An amazing new children’s book by @karenyoung_heysigmund -  arrived this past week and I’m obsessed! Explores Polyvagal states in the most fabulous and understandable ways! Going to read to my 5th grade class today! Thank you Karen!! #childrensbooks #students #Ieducators #education”
Sydney! We’re coming to you. The Resilient Kids Conference is a one day event for parents and professionals who live and work with kids and teens. 

Can’t make it? There’s now an ONLINE option so you can watch from anywhere in the world, with the recording available for 4 weeks after the conference. 

I’ll be talking about anxiety in young people, but this information is relevant for ALL OF US. We need to  change the way we think about anxiety and respond to it - so let’s talk about how. I’ll give you practical, meaningful ways to support and strengthen your kids and teens with in ways that will serve them not just for now, but for the rest of their lives. 

Two things I know for certain. 1. All kids have it in them to be brave and do the things that feel bigger than them sometimes. 2. Parents and their important adults have the most profound capacity to strengthen kids and teens against anxiety and build their confidence and courage. 

I love these conferences and I know parents walk out feeling excited and empowered. 

Since 2016, the Resilient Kids Conferences have attracted up to 800 attendees at a single event. It is beyond beautiful to see parents, educators, and many other professionals stream through the doors in anticipation of a soul fulfilling experience. By the end of the day their faces are beaming, and so is our teams. It’s a community of people, redefining resilience together.

I’ll be joining Maggie Dent, Michelle Mitchell, and Dr Justin Coulson. In person, online and group license tickets are available for this event.

Tickets (online and live). Link in bio.
When times feel uncertain or your own anxiety feels big, come home to the things that make sense. 

Come home to each other, to stillness, to play, to rest, and conversation. 

Come home to listening more openly and caring more deeply, to nature, and warm baths, and being more deliberate, to fighting for what we can control, and the soft surrender to what we can’t. 

Come home to stories, and music, and to the safety of your tribe. 

Come home to that part of you that is timeless, and strong, and still, and wise, and which knows that, like everything that has ever felt bigger than you for a while, you will get them and you through this.♥️
Separation anxiety can come with a tail whip - not only does it swipe at kids, but it will so often feel brutal for their important adults too.

If your child struggle to separate at school, or if bedtimes tougher than you’d like them to be, or if ‘goodbye’ often come with tears or pleas to stay, or the ‘fun’ from activities or play dates get lost in the anxiety of being away from you, I hear you.

There’s a really good reason for all of these, and none of them have anything to do with your parenting, or your child not being ‘brave enough’. Promise. And I have something for you. 

My 2 hour on-demand separation anxiety webinar is now available for purchase. 

This webinar is full of practical, powerful strategies and information to support your young person to feel safer, calmer, and braver when they are away from you. 

We’ll explore why separation anxiety happens and powerful strategies you can use straight away to support your child. Most importantly, you’ll be strengthening them in ways that serve them not just for now but for the rest of their lives.

Access to the recording will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase.

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