You can try fighting clinical depression as much as you want, and might even succeed at it temporarily. However, if you do not have a firm goal or purpose to continue living, then it’s almost inevitable that you will succumb to the disorder again.
Drifting about in life without purpose is one of the most common causes of clinical depression. If you find yourself adrift, if you find yourself wondering why people around you seem to be able to find a purpose strong enough to motivate them every day, even if their purpose seems superficial to you, stop focusing on those negative thoughts and start focusing on setting a positive goal or purpose for yourself.
You might have reasons for viewing society, or life in general, differently than others. You might strongly believe you are right. Perhaps you encountered a rude awakening to “reality” from the perceived falsehood of your previous way of life or your thinking, and now feel completely disconnected from the community you once engaged with actively. However, resentment towards society at large can, without a doubt, lead to severe depressed emotions and feelings. Perhaps your purpose could be to awaken society to your different viewpoints. This will not happen easily, but again, having a goal to focus on is much better when trying to overcome depressive disorders without directly seeking help, rather than just wandering aimlessly.
Altruism is a noble goal to pursue. This is why many people report feeling much better when they perform volunteer work. Helping others doesn’t just keep the volunteers busy; it helps the volunteers focus on other people’s pain instead of their own, and can even get them to perceive life in a different way. Best of all, altruism is a goal that’s never quite finished, which means you can continue keeping your depression at bay as long as you focus on your altruistic goals.
When you have managed to identify your purpose, however lofty it is, you need to plan the small steps you can take to accomplish your goal. Without a solid plan, your purpose is still not properly defined and you are really still just drifting along in life.
If you find that you are constantly failing at your goals, redefine your small steps. Plan out even smaller steps that you can take, so that the success you gain can motivate you to accomplish your main goal. Never lose focus of your larger purpose, unless you now feel it is incongruent with yourself. If that happens, then you must identify another purpose for yourself that is congruent with your new self, before depression takes control of you.
What happens when you actually manage to accomplish the main goals you have set in life? This is a time when you are most vulnerable to depression. Once you do manage to accomplish your goals, you can revel in your success for a time, but you should then start focusing on new goals. Otherwise, the success will be short-lived, and you will find yourself falling into the pit of depression yet again.
Having a purpose in life is key to fighting off depression, and finally overcoming it permanently. Identifying your purpose or goals is not easy, but is necessary if you find yourself adrift in life. A purpose provides you with a sense of worth as well as the motivational push you need to finally climb out of the hole of despair. This purpose does not have to conform to societal standards, nor does it have to be immutable; it is something that is unique to yourself, and something you can personally derive satisfaction from. As you find yourself growing as a person, your purpose can change if it is no longer suitable for you, and this is perfectly fine.