Those who suffer from depression feel drained, hopeless and in a constant daily struggle to complete simple tasks. Overcoming depression is not easy, but not impossible either. It takes time to feel better. Making positive choices and surrounding yourself with encouraging people are some of the tools that can be used to beat depression. Before you can overcome depression, you need to understand it and how it works.
What is depression? According to mayo clinic, it is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. There are various types of depression:
- Major Depression: Depressed for most days of the week.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: Depression that lasts for 2 years or longer.
- Bipolar Disorder: Depression with episodes that range from extremes of high energy to low depressive periods.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Period of major depression that most often occurs during the winter months, due to shorter days and less sun exposure.
- Psychotic Depression: Major depression along with psychotic symptoms, such as; hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
- Postpartum Depression: Depression in women months after childbirth.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Depression that starts at the beginning of the period.
- ‘Situational’ Depression: Depressed mood during stressful events in your life.
- Atypical Depression: Depression that is reactive to environmental circumstances, and sensitivity to rejection.
Everyone experiences some of these symptoms every now and then, but that does not necessarily mean a person is depressed. Not everyone who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms:
- Feelings of helplessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite changes
- Craving unhealthy foods
- Weight loss or gain
- Sleep changes
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Anger or irritability
- Loss of energy
- Reckless behavior
- Concentration problems
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
Depression is not simple a condition, some people are more susceptible to depressive episodes while others are not. Usually depression does not result from a single reason, but from a combination of recent events and other longer-term factors. Depression can be caused by abuse (physical /sexual /emotional), medications or drugs, conflicts, death or a loss, genetics, major events, serious illnesses, substance abuse, hormonal dysfunction, and changes in the brain.
Depression is diagnosed by a doctor. They will rule out other conditions that may cause depression with a physical examination, personal interview, and lab tests. They will also conduct a diagnostic evaluation by discussing family history of depression or other mental illnesses. After covering all these factors then the doctor will evaluate your symptoms and how to treat it.
It is highly important to understand depression in order to beat it, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. The changes you need to make are the most difficult to do because it is hard to maintain focus and not feel drained. In order to recover you should make small goals and start from there. Take things one step at a time and reward yourself for each accomplishment even if it’s small. For example after taking a walk around the block you can reward yourself with a delightful fruit smoothie. Do not worry about slow progress, each small step will build up towards recovery.
- Surround yourself with supportive relationships: Getting the support you need plays a big role in recovering. It may feel overwhelming to communicate with others, but remind yourself that is the depression taking over.
- Become active: It is hard enough to get out of bed, never mind the idea of exercising. Being physically active is a powerful step to deal with depression. Exercising will lower the levels of fatigue and increase your energy. This will enhance your endorphins and reduce stress. 30 minutes of exercise per day will enormously help, but if it’s too much to start with then 10 minutes will suffice.
- Challenge your negative thinking: It is hard to have positive thoughts during a depressive episode. Replace your negative thoughts with a balanced reflection. By asking yourself what will others realistically reply if you told them what you are thinking?
- Do things that make you feel good: The road to recovery will be a lot quicker if you do small activities that relaxes and energizes you. You can do the things you used to enjoy before depression or try out new activities that interests you.
- Adopt a healthy life style: Depression will make you mentally and physically unhealthy. By adopting healthy habits such as sleeping the adequate amount of time you need, exposing yourself to sun light every day, eating healthy meals and drinking enough water will boost your recovery.
- Eat healthy foods: Being depressed makes you crave for junk food. What you eat impacts the way you feel. Make sure you don’t skip a meal. Aim to eat foods that contain proteins, fruits and vegetables. Try not to eat foods that affects your mood negatively such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fat, sugars and saturated meals. Take vitamin supplements, such as those over the counter multivitamins that are sold in pharmacies.
Here are links to tips written by others that can help you recover. This list has personally helped me and I hope it will help you too.
If you have a cellphone here are some apps you can add to help aid with your recovery. These apps send you daily positive reminders and even gives you the option to adjust the amount of times a day you would like get a positive message. This helped me along the way and I highly recommend it.
After trying all these tips for a while if you feel you are getting worse, not improving or having suicidal thoughts then you need to seek professional help. Looking for help does not make you weak and if you are already receiving professional help then the tips previously mentioned can be added to your treatment to boost your recovery. Are there any other tips you would like to recommend? Do you have other important information you would like to share? If so comment on the bottom of this page.
Amber Erickson (2014). Causes of Depression. http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/causes#Causes3
Help Guide. (2015). Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm
Help Guide. (2015). Dealing with Depression. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/dealing-with-depression.htm
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Diseases and Conditions: Depression (major depressive disorder) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/definition/con-20032977
Web Med. (2015). Depression Health Center. http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types