There are a number of pathways to coping with depression, but the person undergoing a mental illness crisis of this type needs to know or be aware that he or she is in a state of depression, in contrast to a temporary, short-lived fit of depression. The sad thing is that we don’t know if we are in a state of depression for some time unless a medical practitioner who has been treating depression tells us so.
When extreme sadness, fatigue, stress, and irritability settles into a person’s body and mind for weeks or months combined with thoughts of killing oneself, and an immense loss of interest in everything that an average person wants, then someone has to tell that person that he or she is in a state of clinical depression.
A person needs a minimum of self-awareness and a specific will to survive to cope with depression. Without these two essential values or self-action, it would be impossible for one to deal with grief.
Most people who have something creative to do can use these talents and develop the attitude of coping with depression. One could go into a do-it-yourself (DIY) creative activity, such as making something out of recycled material at home, or learn and do some painting. Others go into photography or engage in electronic gaming. Whatever the activity is, it could help reduce the psychological pain caused by depression.
However, coping is to prolong the depression if the clinical condition persists for a long time. The cost is too much time consumed on the coping mechanisms unless the mechanism used agreed with what the individual wants and jibed with the skills and talents of the person. The case of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh is remarkable, since for some years before reaching the age of 37, he was able to produce 860 oil paintings and 2,100 artworks.
Van Gogh’s productivity was so high that his art-making activities and artworks were able to sustain him in the form of a therapeutic mechanism and at the same time, he contributed a lasting legacy to society. Even then, in 1890, after experiencing prolonged poverty combined with heavy drinking, the Dutchman shot himself in the chest. His behavior shows how severe his depression was.
For many peoples, the coping mechanism is in the form of a learned social and cultural tool called “resiliency.” This value turned into an attitude, and a cultural practice enables individuals to optimize their survival under harsh social, economic, or environmental conditions.
Resilient populations can go through the most robust and most dangerous of life disasters and still survive.
Forms of resilient behavior can be shown concerning the individual and group undertakings in the economic, social and cultural aspects of society. These include buying and selling of products, creating a product, organizing workshops, constructing new forms of habitation, exploring the forest environment, opening a restaurant, developing new food menus, developing new methods of engaging with natural and human-made disasters, and so on.
After a widespread and destructive disaster, a general condition of depression sets into the population, but this condition is short-lived except perhaps for some individuals where depression becomes clinical. Resiliency enables the people to bounce back and continue living without any sign of severe depression.