While we cannot choose everything, we do or feel in life, we do need to remind ourselves that we do have the capacity to choose and regulate how we feel from moment to moment more than we might think. Depression is real, and you cannot simply choose to “no longer be depressed.” Therapy, medication and life situations are all real factors in treating depression, but it does not simply go away.
There are numerous causes of depression, and when and why it appears is not always known or understood, which is beyond frustrating when you are in the middle of it. One technique I have found helpful in dealing with depression is to accept it. Don’t try and fight it, or pretend it will “just go away.” Once you have accepted that your depression is real, you can begin to see where there is some light. Every moment of every day does not have to be dark and miserable.
A patient of mine recently told me that while she has accepted she is depressed she has also chosen to “not be unhappy.” While this may seem contradictory, I began to see her point. How can a depressed person not be unhappy? She said that while she cannot control her overall depression, she can control her happiness or unhappiness from time to time (some of the time). Using affirmations such as “I choose to not be unhappy” can help, as well as taking a few moments to notice how the breeze feels on your face, or notice the beauty of the yellow flowers popping up out of the sidewalk. While I know these things will not cure depression they can help you connect even for a few moments with not being unhappy.