Not all depressions are created equal. Some depressions are major, chemical, hormonal, cyclical, seasonal, chronic, psychotic, persistent, or medical with each having a level from mild to severe/suicidal. But another common type of depression is situational, better known in counseling as adjustment disorder with depressed mood.
Adjustment disorder happens when a change in lifestyle, loss or circumstance creates short-term stress, anywhere from days to months. This is sometimes compounded with feelings of hopelessness, tearfulness, and loss of interest in work or normally pleasurable activities. Examples include the death of a friend or family member, declining medical condition, change in relationship status, the loss of employment, bankruptcy, or empty nest syndrome.
In some cases, a medical doctor can decide if medication is necessary during this time. Otherwise, it is best to walk thru the depression and not ignore it. There are valuable lessons to be learned and at the end, a new perspective to be gained. Here are seven benefits to walking thru situational depression.
- It is a consequence of something else. There is a direct link to an event, loss or circumstance. The depression is not personal or permanent, it will end in time.
- It refuses to be ignored. Trying to deny the depression will only suppress it for later. Many people have delayed grief years later because they would not walk thru the sadness at the time. Make time for it.
- It slows things down. Too often life is spent in fast motion with little opportunity for reflection. This type of depression causes things to go more slowly, don’t fight the pace, enjoy it.
- It releases pent up emotions. Crying has a way of releasing stored up emotional stress such as sadness, anger and anxiety. Emoting can provide relief from this depression as well as previous time periods if allowed.
- It forces reflection. This is a time to look backwards and remember what matters most. Recalling pleasurable events helps to define what is important. This can be used to create new dreams for the future.
- It adds meaning. Depression adds depth to life. Without it, joyful moments might go unnoticed. There must be a balance between both extremes however. All of life is not meant to be a constant state of happiness, there must be some sadness to bring perspective to both.
- It takes time. This depression will not be rushed. Ironically, the more willing a person is to walk thru this period, the shorter it takes to recover.
Journaling this experience is a good reminder for future times of the benefits gained from the depressive episode. This is one depression that is good to walk thru instead of ignoring.