Depression is a serious illness that can easily affect your everyday life. It can be described as a disorder that controls the mind and its functions causing loss of appetite, sleeplessness, mood swings, and a deep sense of despair.
Symptoms of depression are varied and the severity typically changes with time. Depression can also be an inherited disorder, or caused by life threatening illnesses, trauma, or stress. Other causes are certain diseases, medicines, drugs, alcohol, or mental illnesses.
Women are seen to more frequently experience depression when compared to men, and this is attributed to hormonal swings, menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-menopause, and post-menopause.
Common symptoms of depression to look for are:
- It can manifest as an unshakeable sadness, anxiety, or emptiness.
- A feeling of guilt and/or no sense of self-worth.
- Hopelessness accompanied by pessimistic feelings.
- Loss of energy, a slowing down of metabolism and activity levels. Being plagued by constant fatigue.
- A sense of helplessness along with an increasing inability to focus and indecisiveness.
- Loss of sound sleep and development of insomnia to varying degrees.
- Inexplicable weight loss or weight gain. This can be triggered by loss of appetite or eating binges.
- Brooding and suicidal inclinations.
- Irritability, short temper, as well as restlessness.
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, and chronic pain for no particular reason.
- Crying a lot more than usual; being extra “teary”.
If you experience any of the above along with a marked change in behavior, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor and/or a mental health professional. A doctor will usually want to give you an examination to rule out physical causes for depression as well as any underlying medical problems. They will often also recommend that you consult a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Depression Can Trick Your Mind!
One important thing to note: Sometimes depression can even be difficult to recognize, because it doesn’t feel like depression. You may just feel a lack of willpower or motivation to do things, along with not really feeling happy nor sad necessarily.
Depression is also known to warp how you see most things. While depressed, you can get this sense that the depression is showing you the truth of things, while everything positive or things people say to try to cheer you up seem totally fake. This feeds into the cynicism/pessimism that depression is creating. Note when this is happening and you’ll be able to see that it’s the depression causing this and not actually true outside of that.
Things YOU Can Do to Help the Depression
It is important to know that you can definitely take the reigns when it comes to lessening or eliminating your depression. One thing you must do is to work hard on erasing negativity from your mind (easier said than done, I know).
Part of being able to do this might be working on getting to the bottom of the negativity. Why is it there? Many times, it can simply be caused by fear, even if it doesn’t feel like fear. Negativity can be a way that your mind is building up walls against not only others, but yourself.
The more you get to know your own mind and what kind of thoughts you have the majority of the time, the more you become a master of it. It can take years to really become a master of your own mind, but when you do, it is incredible and you’ll find yourself way ahead of most others.
Start by watching your self-talk closely. Watch how often you use negative terms against yourself, others, and the world in general. This is such a common sign of depression and it also will cause depression to stay with you.
Try setting some goals for your life, but start small and make sure they are realistic and achievable. Congratulate yourself for each achievement — no matter how small! Navigating through depression is tough and you deserve it.
Look up some breathing exercises you can do regularly, as well as some meditations. Try starting new activities that absorb your time as well as interests. Go out and meet people and participate in group activities. Do your best to avoid the company of negative people.
Have Faith in Yourself
Be positive and have faith in yourself. Faith is important, as faith in itself is a great healer. Decide to change your world for the better. However do follow the doctor’s advice. Treatment can include: anti-depressants, psychotherapy, as well as lifestyle changes. In extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy or light therapy are prescribed.
If you are worried about going on anti-depressants, know that you’re not alone. I absolutely did not want to go on anti-depressants when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Sometimes if you feel your depression is fairly mild, you may not need them and can manage your depression through lifestyle changes and perhaps some sessions with a counselor. Or, you can try them out for a few months and see what kind of difference it makes. Just know that you have options and you will get through this!
If your depression escalates or you are suicidal seek help from your family physician or health care provider. Don’t hesitate to call the local health department, a community mental health center, or hospital or clinic. Someone will extend a helping hand and talk you through the crisis.