Depression often comes with the feeling of wanting to hide. Just getting out of bed in the morning can be a monumental task. To pick up the phone to call for help can be daunting. Isolation and lack of motivation feed the negative feelings and a vicious cycle takes over.
This sounds like a very dark place to be and it is for those who suffer from depression. There are many therapies, medications, and programs that can help alleviate these feelings and bring hope for a brighter future.
One avenue that even professionals sometimes overlook is volunteering. While depression makes one want to hide, helping others demands that we go outside of ourselves – becoming “other minded.” Many avenues can be used, depending on your interests. Volunteering at an animal shelter for those who love animals, holding babies in the church nursery can bring joy, volunteering to read to someone in the nursing home, and the list goes on of worthwhile ventures.
Many clients report that they go to help someone else and find they get as much or more out of it than the ones they were ministering to.
It wouldn’t hurt all of us to do something outside our comfort zone. As we do for others, we forget about ourselves, at least for a little while.
—by Shirley Verhey, M Ed, LPCC-S