Whether you’re worried about yourself or someone you love depression can be a crippling illness. Luckily it’s becoming more and more recognized and it’s losing its taboo culture, therefore, encouraging people to be more open, seek the help they need, and get better.
Depression is a mental illness; you cannot treat it with antibiotics until it goes away or put it in a plaster cast for six weeks. It can take years to fully beat it and even then you always know it’s waiting at the back of your mind. Gender, age, and ethnicity are irrelevant; it can strike anyone at any time although younger women are asking for help more than men at the moment.
Depression doesn’t have to have physical symptoms, depressed people don’t walk around reciting bleak poetry and slashing their writs on a regular basis, it’s about how their feel inside. Unless you’ve been through it yourself it can be very difficult to really understand.
Depression can be hard to diagnose and there aren’t any obvious physical symptoms like a high temperature or a rash but there are a few things that are signs someone might be depressed. The most obvious sign of depression is a lack of interest in usual activities, things you used to enjoy don’t seem as fun anymore because you’re so preoccupied with negative feelings, and feeling worthless or hopeless is common for people suffering from depression.
This means things like eating or sleeping take on a different meaning, depressed people might struggle to sleep at all or they might find they’re sleeping more than usual and the same goes for eating, another common sign of depression is overeating or not eating enough.
Helping Someone With Depression
Depression still has a stigma attached to it, although it’s getting better there are still a lot of people that don’t fully understand it. If someone close to you is depressed (or you think they are) it’s important you understand it first. Things like telling them to pull themselves together or to just get over it aren’t going to help. The best tool to help someone with depression is patience, they might want to talk about it, and they might not.
The single biggest help for someone who’s depressed is just to know there’s someone there for them when they need it. It might be awkward to listen to what they have to say but never just dismiss it or call them silly if you can help them walk through their problems and give practical examples when you’re trying to make a point. If you’re seriously worried about someone you care about you need to seek medical help, they might not be happy with you but they’ll thank you in the long run.
Helping Yourself If You’re Depressed
It’s very uncommon for depression to just disappear itself but asking for help is the hardest part about it. The top concern most people have with asking for help is a fear of being medicated but this doesn’t have to be the case. Even if your doctor does want to medicate you, you have to understand anything is better than feeling the way you do at the moment. Most doctors will only use medication as a last resort, there are plenty of lifestyle choices you can make first and therapy will also help. If you have someone in your life you know you can trust try talking to them first, explain you’re not being dramatic but you feel you’re suffering from depression.
Lifestyle Changes To Beat Depression
In some cases, medication will be the only thing that can really help but for most people, there are simple changes they can make first that can make a real difference. First look if there was a trigger, losing a job, miscarriage, or having a baby are all common causes of depression. The first thing you can try is tricking your brain by giving it something else to think about, a new hobby or an evening class where you’re challenging a side of your brain or body you’ve never challenged before can give you a new shred of hope.
An erratic diet can add to the feeling of depression, too many chemicals or sugars can make your mood crash so try and maintain a healthy diet. This can be tricky for people with depression as a suppressed or increased appetite is a common side effect but it can make a huge difference. Exercise goes hand in hand with diet, finding motivation can be hard but the natural endorphins released when you exercise can counteract the negative feelings. The more you do it the more your natural mood will improve.
A lot of people find it hard to talk to a stranger or even someone they know about their innermost feelings especially to begin with but as cliché, as it sounds it really will help to talk. If you can’t bring yourself to talk to a real person try writing about what you’re feeling, you might even want to start your own blog. This can be very therapeutic and it’s important to document the good days as well as the bad.
You don’t have to just write about what you’re feeling, you can write about your hopes for the future, what you’d like to achieve, and your dreams and write about your past. The best way to start a new journal if you are depressed is to write down your happiest memories, no matter how long ago they were or how insignificant they might appear, anything that made you happy should be documented.
Also Read: How To Deal With Depression