Depression: You’re Not Alone…
I decided to write about this as I have experienced bouts of sadness and depression in the past several months. Nothing major though as it would be just a wave of sadness and depression every now and then. But most of the times, I managed to snap out of it in no time.
I know when I was depressed and I am sure majority of us have bouts of depression once in a blue moon due to stress and struggles in daily life.
Hence, I decided to read as many articles/reports as I could with a hope that whatever I (read) and eventually wrote here would help us in getting through depression.
It seems that depression, either mild or severe, can be prompted by a variety of factors. Some episodes of depression are situation-induced. For example, the death of a loved one, the loss of one’s job, financial difficulties or the disappointment of failed efforts to get into your dream job or graduate school can all initiate an episode of depression.
Only when we can discern the source of our depression, the outlook is more favorable. Specific steps can be incorporated to deal with the pain. However, when no source is clear, the depression may worsen due to lack of treatment.
In addition to situational factors, there are other stressors that prompt depression. Things such as chemical imbalances, personality factors, drug and alcohol use, physical illness, and inadequate dietary practices can influence the onset of depression.
The sad part is depression drains our energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what we need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. And no, you can’t just will yourself to “snap out of it,” but you do have some control — even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.
Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. Impossible even. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting. And it is going to be hard and slow process.
The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There’s a big difference though between something that’s difficult and something that’s impossible.
From my reading, and I think I agree wholeheartedly, that we all should start small and stay focused.
Start with a few small goals and slowly build from there. Draw upon whatever resources you have. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one.
Take things one day at a time and reward yourself for each accomplishment. The steps may seem small, but they’ll quickly add up.
- Have supportive relationships — Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective. While isolation and loneliness can trigger or worsen depression, maintaining emotionally close relationships can be instrumental in overcoming it. Turn to friends and family members who make you feel loved and cared for. Spend time talking and listening face-to-face with trusted people and share what you’re going through.
- Move About — When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a herculean task, let alone exercising. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, major studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue. You can start small. Short, 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood. Try incorporating walking, running, swimming, dancing or another rhythmic exercise — that requires moving both your arms and legs—into your daily routine. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to stick with it. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.
- Fight the negative thinking — Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future. Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts. For instance, think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Socialise with positive people. Keep a “negative thought log.” Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation.
- Do anything that make you feel good — In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energise you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, adopting healthy habits, and scheduling fun activities into your day. Aim for eight hours of sleep. Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Spend some time in nature. Read a good book. Watch a funny movie or TV show. Take a long, hot bath…
- Eat healthy — Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet. What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet of low-fat protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, saturated fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones (such as certain meats). Don’t skip meals. Boost your B vitamins.
Some suggested that you consider taking a chromium supplement. Some depression studies show that chromium picolinate reduces carbohydrate cravings, eases mood swings, and boosts energy. Supplementing with chromium picolinate is especially effective for people who tend to overeat and oversleep when depressed.
The next thing to do if you find your depression getting worse and worse, is to seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better! But do practice these self-help tips too, though. With or without professional help, these tips are helpful. A