What is Depression?
Depression can be debilitating and is very different from just feeling unhappy. Usually, there is a reason for unhappiness such as being rejected or not getting the job you wanted.
Depression is a pervasive feeling. It’s almost as if you are in a black tunnel with no light. Hope disappears and the things you used to find enjoyable become a chore. Even winning the lottery would not snap someone out of depression and it is never a good idea to tell someone who is depressed to sort themselves out and pull themselves together. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects millions of people each year. Sadly, most people who suffer from depression never seek treatment for it, fearing about what others may think of them or not having the courage to face change on their own. There remain a lot of misconceptions about depression treatment, how long effective treatment takes, and whether it’s all worth it.
What this article will cover are common themes in effective depression treatment, and some theories on how you can speed the process of depression recovery.
Since you’re already reading this article, it’s likely you already suffer from depression or know someone who is, so we’ll keep this brief.
Depression is just not the occasional feelings of sadness that we all experience from time to time.
Instead, it’s a persistent feeling of overwhelming sadness for at least 2 weeks (and usually much longer). It’s the inability to take pleasure in almost any of life’s activities, and feeling run down or lacking the normal energy you had before depression set in. People with clinical depression also often suffer from problems with sleep and eating — physical symptoms that have been going on for as long as the depression itself.
There is also an overwhelming sense of hopelessness for most people who experience depression — like this is not simply ever going to get better. Ever.
It’s no wonder a person with depression can’t see overcoming it. It seems hopeless. You talk negatively all the time, not just about yourself, but about others too. It’s not just the blues — it feels like someone has grayed out the world altogether.
Below are ways you can overcome depression:
- Stop the Negative Self Talk
Depressed people tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong they blame themselves and when they go right, they put it down to luck. Depression reinforces self doubt and feelings of worthlessness. Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a depressed person, not a healthy functioning person. Don’t take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Acknowledge the thoughts but this doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Keep perspective.
- Bide Your Time
Accept that your mental state is not entirely balanced. During depression, we tend to see the negatives in everything and find it harder to be balanced about what is going on. Gently remind yourself that you are tuned into the ‘negativity channel’ and don’t listen to your thinking. It is definitely distorted when you are depressed. This idea alone can provide some comfort when the world appears bleak. It won’t last forever. Remind yourself that change is constant and that you won’t always feel this way. Be patient and do your best to look after yourself in the meantime. Eat well and get a decent amount of sleep. Say to yourself “This shall pass”.
- Distract Yourself
If possible, do your best to distract yourself from over thinking. Your thoughts are your enemy when depression sets in. Play with a pet or go for a walk. Read a book if you are able to concentrate or finish a puzzle. Do anything that takes your mind off your fears and worries. Keeping busy is an effective way to overcome depression.
- Connect with Friends ( Socialize)
This can be one of the hardest things to do when feeling depressed but it is one of the most rewarding activities. Force yourself to go out. Isolating oneself from others may seem a good idea but put a limit on it and then get out there again. This can have a huge positive effect on your mood.
- Forgive Others
When we hold a grudge, we are the ones that feel the anger. The person whom we are angry with is probably merrily going about their business completely oblivious to your feelings. Don’t allow others to have this power over you. They have may have caused you grief in the past, try not to allow that grief to continue – it only affects you, not them. Find a way to forgive – they are not worthy of your time. Lighten the emotional load and you will improve your mood and help you to overcome depression.
Regular exercise has benefits for helping to overcome depression. Exercise releases endorphins which improve natural immunity and improve mood. Besides lifting your mood, regular exercise offers other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease, cancer and boosting self-esteem. Experts advise getting half an hour to an hour of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking at least three to four times per week.
- Consult with a doctor
Only after a thorough evaluation with a psychiatrist or psychologist can you be diagnosed with depression. Many illnesses and medications may contribute to depressive feelings. Therefore, your doctor will administer a variety of tests, conduct a physical examination, and an interview to get to the bottom of your symptoms.
- Write a journal
Starting a journal can help you reflect on your depression and feelings and monitor your sensations throughout the day. Make a goal of writing in your journal at least once a day, preferably in the evenings, when you can wrap up whatever the day brought you. Writing in a journal can make you feel more in touch with your thoughts, less alone, and more aware of the things that make you happy or unhappy.
- Get enough sunlight during the day
Sunlight is a natural antidepressant that has been proven to balance your immune system, improve cognitive function, improve hormonal regulation, and stabilize and improve your mood. So if you’re working in a cubicle all day, staying indoors all the time, or wearing sunglasses 24/7, then you might be missing out on a natural and effective cure for depression.
Go outside for thirty minutes a day. While you’re at it, walk around. Ideally walk around outside with a friend. If there’s no sun where you are this time of year, supplement with liquid vitamin D and pick up a light therapy kit and use it daily.