Continued from last week…
Depression is a serious mental health illness with the potential for complications such as weight gain or loss, pain, social isolation, self-harm, thoughts of suicide, use of substance problems, panic attacks or relationship problems if left untreated.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION
Depression can be broken into categories depending on the severity of symptoms. Some people experience mild and temporary episodes, while others experience severe and ongoing depressive episodes.
There are two major types: major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder is the more severe form of depression characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that don’t go away on their own.
To know if you are having major depressive disorder, you must experience 5 or more of the following symptoms over a period of 2-week:
- Feeling depressed most of the day.
- Loss of interest in most regular activities.
- Significant weight loss or gain.
- Sleeping a lot or not being able to sleep at all.
- Slowed thinking or movement.
- Fatigue or low energy most days.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- Loss of concentration or indecision.
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent depressive disorder used to be called dysthymia. It’s a milder, but chronic, form of depression.
To know if you are having persistent depressive disorder, you must experience 2 or more of the following symptoms at least over a period of 2 years:
It’s important to note that PDD can affect your life more than major depression because it lasts for a longer period.
People with PDD experience:
- Lose interest in normal daily activities.
- Feeling hopeless or useless.
- Lack productivity.
- Have low self-esteem
HOW TO DEAL WITH DEPRESSION
Depression is not a death sentence, it can be treated successfully, but it’s important to have a positive mindset.
- Stay in touch: Don’t withdraw from life; socialise to improve your mood. Keeping in touch and building strong relationships with close friends and family members and talk to someone when you feel down.
- Be more active: Take up some form of body movement such as exercise to help lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently by walking for at least 20 minutes every morning. Exercise can increase the hormones that improve your mood.
- Face your fears: Don’t run away from your fears or avoid the things you find difficult to handle. When people feel low or anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to people. Some people find it challenging in going out, driving or travelling. Turn it around to your advantage and face it head-on.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: For some people, alcohol can become a serious problem. You may drink more than usual as a way of coping with or hiding your emotions, or just to fill time. Drinking or misusing drugs may make you feel better for a little bit. But in the long run, these substances can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse. Remember that alcohol won’t help solve your problems rather could also make you feel more depressed.
- Eat a healthy diet: Some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight. While others find comfort in food and can put on excess weight. If you’re concerned about weight loss or weight gain is affecting your life, talk to specialist who will help you with tips on how to eat healthily. Try to carry on cooking and eating regular meals instead of junks.
- Have a routine: When people feel down, there’s every tendency they can get into poor sleep patterns, staying up late and sleeping during the day. Its not easy but try have a routine to get up at your normal time and stick to it as much as possible.
- Care for yourself: You can improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, avoiding toxic and negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.
- Seek help: Get help immediately if you’re still feeling down or depressed after a couple of weeks.
TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
Depression can be temporary, or it can be a long-term challenge. Living with depression can be difficult as there isn’t a quick fixfor depression. Treatments for depression include psychological therapies, where speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings amongst others. It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle but sometimes depression doesn’t respond to medication.
Depression isn’t generally considered to be preventable. It’s hard to recognize what causes it, which means preventing it is more difficult. But once you’ve experienced a depressive episode, you may be better prepared to prevent a future relapse and help improve your quality of life.
TIPS FOR DECREASING DEPRESSION
There isn’t a quick fix for depression but, there are techniques or tips that can help lift the emotional paralysis that often accompanies depression. Both of which make it more difficult to focus on the behavioral changes that are necessary to prevent a relapse.
- A Different View: Depression often comes with psychological myopia. This is when the depressed robotically repeats to him or herself negative thoughts such as “Nothing I try ever works out”, “How could I have been so stupid?” “I am not worthy of being loved”. Someone deep in that kind of thinking can, if unchecked, will be suicidal. Have a different view and say positive things about yourself.
- Visualize A Happy Memory: Usually when someone continually re-visits a painful memory (say, for instance of a romantic rejection or failed business enterprise), it can tip him or her into near emotional numb. In such situation, I’d suggest you close your eyes and go to a happy memory. Remember the things you did and your family felt proud of you, relive that wonderful experience, amazing and powerful moments. Try to counter the gloom with an immediate dose of positivity.
- Tell Me Something Good: A depressed person has earned a PhD in the Art and Science of Self-Hatred. When ask, “How do you see yourself?” you’ll get answers like: “I’m boring.” “I’m a coward.” “I’m ugly.” “I’m not smart.” “Am not good enough” etc. As long as these negative beliefs rule your self-image, nothing good can break through.
- Make Plans: When a person is depressed the only place he or she wants to be is in bed, preferably under the covers with the blinds drawn. Picking up their mobile phone to hear a friendly voice, much less having plans going out to work, school, grocery store etc feels way too difficult.
The Internet has made it dangerously seductive to keep to oneself. Studies show that limiting social media to approximately 30 minutes a day decreases depression.
When you are depressed the last thing you feel like doing is getting out of the house. But it’s essential to make the effort to take a shower, get dressed, take a walk, go to the gym, and socialize. It lifts one’s mood lifted.
LOOK FORWARD TO SOMETHING GREAT
When I’m down I search for something to do that makes me happy and excited. You will get an emotional lift when you contemplate a future fun event, versus looking back on a fabulous activity from the past.
Go on a trip, go watch movies at the cinemas, plan a party—whatever brings a flush to your cheeks and rumble of joy to your belly, do it. One of the biggest mood-turnarounds arises when you begin a project that can potentially create some good in the world and lead to fulfilling connections.
The point is: stop telling yourself nothing good will ever again happens—you are the best and the world is waiting for your manifestation.
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