I CAN Manage Depression
A – Act
Choosing the best action for the situation is crucial. Lack of action is always a bad idea, though. Doing nothing is no different than deciding to leave things as they are. Change comes through action. You may be thinking that the unchangeable situations require no action. This is incorrect as there is still work to be done. If something is unchangeable, you need to find solutions that move towards acceptance. Rather than being frustrated or annoyed by someone’s lack of understanding, tell yourself that not everyone is enlightened when it comes to GSM issues. Finding acceptance does not mean that you condone or approve of their behavior, it only means that you are not willing to sacrifice your own mental health to fight them.
If something seems changeable, there is a long list of interventions to choose from. When the change involves another person, assertive communication is a must. Without it, there is less chance that the other person will be interested in working with you. If the change involves you, look for helpful techniques and interventions that deliver results. Depression treatment usually starts with looking at your self-talk to see how this contributes to low mood and pessimism. If you typically feel disappointed that the world is not a fair place, revise your self-talk to aid in a positive change of perception.
Consult with others in your situation for their advice. Their experience and understanding of the issues you are faced with is invaluable. Therapists are always a fantastic resource to address your needs. Many therapists have extensive training and experience working with the LGBTQ community so be sure to interview your therapist thoroughly at the onset of treatment.
N – Navigate/ No Stopping
The “N” stage is two-fold. First you have to navigate through the repercussions of your action. Assess and evaluate if the desired result is being accomplished through your action. If the answer is no, take a second look at your problem to make sure to accurately identified it as changeable or unchangeable. At times, you may think that a simple conversation about your sexual identity will be enough to modify someone’s perceptions only to find out that they are less accepting than you had hoped. In this case, consider changing the issues from changeable to unchangeable. The change might not be permanent, though. Time and experience can work in your favor to further change their point-of-view.
The no stopping part of the stage refers to the idea that people give up on the chosen intervention far too easily. If something is showing positive results, you may feel the need to back off and allow momentum to carry you. If you have been met with mild barriers, you may also end the intervention. Persistence is necessary for change. Putting forth the effort is the only way to bring about the results you are looking to achieve.
Know yourself and your history to guide your level of persistence. Some people tend to be easily discouraged. If this is you, fight the trend by sticking to your original plan. Some people tend to continue fighting for change in hopeless situations. If this is more your pattern, you can work to change your strategy or admit that the problem is unchangeable. Having an unchangeable problem is not a failure on your part. Acknowledging that you are powerless over something is one of the best successes you can have.
People in a gender or sexual minority face a much tougher road than those in the majority due to the lack of understanding, criticism and negativity of others. Rather than accept any level of depression, gain a clearer image and acceptance of your own identity. Only you can create this for yourself. Once your identity is comfortable, put your resources towards changing the changeable and accepting the unchangeable. If happiness is what you seek, this is the path. The first step starts with you.