Your physician should be the first place you go when you’re stuck in depression to at least make sure it’s not stemming from a medical condition.

That said, whether you’re going to counseling, or managing it on your own, knowing a few things about what’s happening subconsciously can provide some much-needed breathing room to help you through it.

Mental Associations: We’re constantly forming mental associations. Some of the easier ones to recognize are our emotional associations with smells, music and other sounds, tastes, temperatures, humidity, and even locations/environments such as at home or work.

Mental associations we form while dealing with depression can make it much harder to pull out of it. We can find ourselves associating where we are with the feeling of being depressed. 

Mental Habits: We develop habits around everything we do on a regular basis. If we’ve been battling depression for a while, being depressed can emerge as our default mental state through force of habit.

When we’re depressed we can find ourselves just sort of sitting around waiting for some sort of recharge to kick in. We usually don’t feel like going anywhere or doing much of anything. The mental associations of our physical location, and the depressive mental habits we’re forming, can really take hold and contribute heavily to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

It can be really hard to motivate ourselves to do anything when we’re depressed. We usually just don’t feel like going anywhere or doing much of anything. But if we can motivate ourselves to do even some small things to disrupt the mental associations and habits that have been keeping us down, we can usually emerge much more quickly.

So try to go other places and do absolutely anything at all you can that you haven’t been doing recently. Even short walks, wandering around out back, go for a drive, plop down on a park bench…just anything different you can get up for. Try to make some changes to your daily environment. Maybe re-arrange furniture, change out wall hangings, get some house plants, change out any scents you might use to something different.

Don’t worry, it gets easier as you go and can sort of feel like you’re finally able to catch your breath.