Depression is a common yet serious medical illness that affects your mental wellbeing. It greatly impacts how you feel, how you think, and how you act. The cause of depression varies from person to person and gender to gender. Problematic relationships, professional workload, competition, career, postpartum disorder, the reason could be anything. The seriousness of the illness could be estimated from the fact that in most cases a depressed person does not show any obvious symptoms. In this article, I am going to share with you how does reading help with depression and how I recovered from it by reading books in my life.
How I Battled Depression by Reading Books
I have been battling depression for most of my life. Every time the reasons for my misery were different but the consequences were the same. That is getting stressed and depressed. I remember when nights seemed long to me, petty things made me emotional and sad, talking rudely to my loved ones or not responding at all.
I was in bed most of the time, a lot of stress eating, and of all, I remember how often I broke into tears. It is hard to say but at a certain point, life seemed meaningless. I went to doctors for my illness, which helped to a certain extent, but I couldn’t heal completely.
“Time is the best healer.” I really don’t know who said it but I am sure that person must have been through real thick in life. One morning I woke up and decided to change the way I have been thinking and that was magical, that felt like I woke up after ages. I focused my energy on creative activities and started reading books.
I started reading autobiographies, non-fictional, and books on lifestyle, spirituality, religion, comics, etc. I started noticing positive changes in my attitude, the way I thought, and my attitude towards people. If depression was a sea, reading was my lifeboat. I started with the self-help book about depression.
Connecting with the Author
“Radical acceptance is to know that painful things are still going to happen, but how we respond makes a difference. We don’t have to condone our current reality, but we have to accept it for what it is instead of staying stuck, wishing it were different” these lines from the River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope by Naomi Judd.
These lines are all that a person wants who seeks answers to his depression. Reading is a form of therapeutic relief; it engages our minds and calms our senses. I read books where the author shared their anxiety and depression, I felt I was not alone.
I could relate to the book as if the writer was illustrating my story. I was not embarrassed by my emotional breakdowns anymore. Rather I learned to channel my sentiments accordingly. I followed in their footstep and started talking about how I felt with my confidants which made me at ease.
I started communicating with the people whom I pushed away, started going to social gatherings, and joined meditation groups. I started reading spiritual and religious books that helped me to connect with my creator. That journey through reading gave me a feeling of elevation, understanding the deeper meaning of life, and valuing life, companions, people, and surroundings. Moreover, it made me realize that depression and anxiety are not modern age problems rather they weren’t acknowledged often in the old times.
Reading Calms Down Mind
Reading also provides an opportunity to relax and de-stress. Reading helps you relax by taking your mind off the stresses of life, which in turn improves your mood by lowering stress hormones like cortisol. In addition to this calming effect, reading also boosts serotonin levels in the brain which can lead to fewer depression symptoms. In the book, The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to Act, Russ Harris, said, “The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.”
Work as a Psychiatric
Reading books is a tool to overcome depression. I’m not talking about the books that you read with your eyes, but rather the ones you read with your mind. If you have been feeling down and need some help getting out of it, reading can be as much of therapy as medicine.
Reading is a great way to exercise the mind the more you read the more your brain will expand and grow, which is important for keeping depression at bay. It helps us relax and unwind after a stressful day by taking us to another place, whether it’s in the world of Harry Potter or Jane Austen.
Reading Takes Your Mind Off Irrational Thinking
“There was nothing dreadfully wrong with me, I was just upsetting myself with my irrational thinking. I just couldn’t admit it until I knew for sure. Now, I feel like a whole man, and I had to call you up and let you know where I stood . . . It was hard for me to do this, and I’m sorry it took so long for me to get around to telling you.” Says David D. Burns in his book Feeling‘Good: The New Mood Therapy.
Reading helps me understand my own emotions better by putting myself in someone else’s shoes and seeing the world through their eyes (or ears). Reading also gives you something to look forward to when you’re feeling bored or depressed. It can take away some of that emptiness and make the world seem less bleak.
The Final Thought
In conclusion, I would recommend you to be patient and empathize with yourself, know that this is just a phase that will have to overcome, and know that you are not alone there are people like you and me. Sooner or later each one of us wakes up and decides to change things and help ourselves. Seek medical help, and talk to your loved ones. Nobody will judge you and yes understand that this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Get started reading books that will cool your mind, and release yourself from unnecessary harmful thinking.