Overcoming Dysthymia: Low-Grade Depression

What is Dysthymia?

Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a long-lasting, mild or low-grade depression that comes and goes over time. It can last for many years or even a lifetime. Unlike major depression, dysthymia usually doesn’t make you unable to get out of bed or feel suicidal, but it can make you feel like life would be better without you.  It is important to discover a purpose in your life!

Common Symptoms of Dysthymia

People with dysthymia often feel self-blame and distress during times of boredom or confusion, until they find something to focus on. This kind of depression can appear suddenly, like an annoying pop-up message on your computer, making you want to get rid of the troubling thoughts. Doing any activity can help distract you for a while, providing some relief.

Challenges in Treating Dysthymia

Unfortunately, overcoming dysthymia is challenging. While antidepressants are generally prescribed for moderate to severe depression, many psychiatrists prefer talk therapy, supplements, and lifestyle changes as the initial treatment for dysthymia. Stronger medications come with side effects, so trying recommended supplements may be a beneficial first step.

The Impact of Dysthymia on Self-Worth

Dysthymia often makes you feel inadequate or unhappy with your life, even if you have achieved a lot and live comfortably. This ongoing, mild depression can slowly wear down your self-esteem. You might often feel unaccomplished or unworthy, even when you have done well in your personal and professional life.

People with dysthymia often deal with negative self-talk and a constant feeling of not measuring up. This can create a cycle of self-doubt and failure, where no amount of success seems to make you feel good enough. You might compare yourself negatively to others, ignore your successes, and focus on what you think are your flaws. This skewed view of yourself can make it hard to see and celebrate your achievements, deepening the negative feelings caused by dysthymia.

Effective Tools and Techniques for Managing Dysthymia

The good news is that there are effective tools and techniques to help you. One such tool is keeping a gratitude journal. By consistently practicing gratitude journaling, where you write down things you are thankful for each day, you can gradually improve your self-perception and outlook on life. This simple practice helps shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones, fostering a more optimistic mindset.

Success Story: Overcoming Dysthymia

Consider the experience of Sarah, a 40-year-old IT executive. Despite her career success, she often felt a lingering sense of inadequacy and emptiness. After receiving a dysthymia diagnosis, Sarah’s therapist recommended a combination of talk therapy and lifestyle changes. Through therapy, Sarah learned cognitive-behavioral techniques to challenge her negative thoughts and adopt healthier thinking patterns. She also incorporated regular exercise and mindfulness meditation into her routine. Over time, Sarah began to notice a significant improvement in her mood and self-esteem. She felt more connected to her accomplishments and experienced a renewed sense of purpose.

Professional Support for Dysthymia

As mental health professionals, we have assisted many individuals like Sarah in managing their depression and gained valuable insights into effective treatment strategies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective for managing dysthymia, as it equips individuals with practical methods to control negative thoughts.

Recognizing and Managing Dysthymia

Recognizing the presence of dysthymia is crucial. By staying vigilant and employing various visualization techniques to combat negative thoughts, you can effectively manage this condition. For instance, visualizing yourself overcoming obstacles or dissipating dark clouds of negativity can be empowering and provide a sense of control. Additionally, incorporating regular meditation practices helps to calm the mind, reduce stress, and increase overall mindfulness. Together, these strategies can significantly improve your ability to handle dysthymia and enhance your overall well-being.

Take Action for a Better Life

If you suspect you have dysthymia, take action to improve your quality of life. First, seek a proper diagnosis from a licensed professional. Clearly communicate your symptoms to your doctor to avoid any guessing. Second, follow your doctor’s advice diligently. Finally, prioritize therapy. Most insurance plans now cover mental health services, and many universities offer low-cost counseling centers. Talking with a therapist is one of the most effective ways to process and release the pain you’re holding onto. Regardless of who you are, letting go of this burden will enhance your life.

Help in Lakewood and Longmont

If you or someone you know is grappling with your purpose in life, it’s important to recognize that there is help available. At Self Care Impact, we are dedicated to supporting individuals through the journey of becoming your best self.

Take a look at our Depression Treatment Page for more information. Then we invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with a specialist. You can schedule your appointment via phone, or the contact page on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.

Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples, and groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.