How You Feel On The Inside Doesnt Match Up With How You Act
Karla Campos, who runs a digital marketing agency in Tampa, Florida, and lives with high-functioning depression, said people always talk about how cool, calm and confident she acts. But appearances can be deceiving.
When depression hits, all I want to do is be alone, curl up in a ball and sleep, she said. I cant, however, so I play my part. It feels like Im acting.
In order to look confident I ask myself, What would Karla do on a normal day? Karla would say hi to people, shed feel present, shed be excited about life, she added. But on days that Im depressed, I dont want to say hi to Mr. Jones or anyone. Its not because Mr. Jones or anyone did anything wrong I want to be alone because everything is draining and exhausting.
Depression I Cant Make A Decision Everything Feels Wrong
When Im depressed I cant make decisions because everything feels wrong. I know thats really vague but thats how it feels. If feels like doing thing A is wrong but so is doing thing B. Doing something feels wrong and so does doing nothing. When Im actually doing something, it feels like I should be doing something else, something more. When Im depressed it feels like every decision is the wrong decision, every move is the wrong move. Depression makes me not able to make a decision.
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Learn About Depression On Your Own
Imagine having to educate each person in your life about a mental or physical health condition youre experiencing explaining it over and over again. Sounds exhausting, right?
You can talk with your friend about their specific symptoms or how theyre feeling, but avoid asking them to tell you about depression in general terms.
Read up on the symptoms, causes, diagnostic criteria, and treatments on your own.
While people experience depression differently, being familiar with the general symptoms and terminology can help you have more in-depth conversations with your friend.
These articles are a good starting point:
Ask Them If They Want To Talk
Sometimes the most important thing you can do for a depressed friend is to just listen sympathetically while they talk about what is bothering them, allowing them to relieve the pressure of pent-up feelings.
Make sure to listen without interrupting. We all wish to fix things for those we care about and often offer quick fixes to cope with our own feelings of helplessness. Sometimes people who are depressed just need to talk without having the conversation taken over with well-meaning advice.
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How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. Its not easy dealing with a friend or family members depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved ones recovery. You can help them to cope with depression symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, dont forget to look after your own emotional healthyoull need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Understanding depression in a friend or family member
Depression is a serious condition. Dont underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a persons energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one cant just snap out of it by sheer force of will.
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Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a condition that occurs in children and youth ages 6 to 18. It involves a chronic and severe irritability resulting in severe and frequent temper outbursts. The temper outbursts can be verbal or can involve behavior such as physical aggression toward people or property. These outbursts are significantly out of proportion to the situation and are not consistent with the childs developmental age. They must occur frequently and typically in response to frustration. In between the outbursts, the childs mood is persistently irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day. This mood is noticeable by others, such as parents, teachers, and peers.
In order for a diagnosis of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder to be made, symptoms must be present for at least one year in at least two settings and the condition must begin before age 10. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is much more common in males than females. It may occur along with other disorders, including major depressive, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety, and conduct disorders.
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder can have a significant impact on the childs ability to function and a significant impact on the family. Chronic, severe irritability and temper outbursts can disrupt family life, make it difficult for the child/youth to make or keep friendships, and cause difficulties at school.
Treatment typically involves and/or medications.
Supporting Your Loved Ones Treatment
One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process. This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression.
Provide whatever assistance the person needs . Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.
Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a depressed friend or family member struggle, especially if progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesnt happen overnight.
Lead by example. Encourage the person to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.
Encourage activity. Invite your loved one to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistentdont get discouraged or stop asking.
Need to talk to someone?
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Everything Feeling Wrong Is Stressful
And when every decision feels wrong it is inherently stressful. Like, seriously. I sit here for ages planning what to do and am seriously stressed out about making the wrong choice. Part of it is that I dont want to do anything that will make me feel worse. Thats a legitimate concern that I face every day and it does cause serious stress. But is sitting here and stressing out about not being able to make a decisions better than just making one and having it be the wrong one? I really dont know the answer to that question. All I know is that I cant make a decision and I feel completely overwhelmed with even the prospect of doing it.
Can I Drive You Somewhere
Depression can sap all your energy. It might not hurt to ask your loved one with depression if they need a ride somewhere.
Some studies have found that people with depression might engage in more aggressive driving behaviors, and could have greater risk of roadway accidents. When depression is present, driver safety might be at risk due to delayed reaction times.
Understanding How Much Depression Impacts Lives
There are varying degrees of depression. Certain people experience depression in lapses, while others are ongoingly depressed. Nevertheless, depression literally has the capability to impact every aspect of an individual’s life. In many cases, depression doesn’t simply wear off or subside. This is why it’s so very problematic when depressed individuals are told to simply shake it off or “get over it.” Depression literally does not work this way.
It goes without saying that depression has a very real impact on people’s mental state. Depression quite literally changes brain chemistry and the manner in which individuals see the world. Someone who is going through depression may feel anxious, habitually empty, and they may also experience thoughts of suicide. It’s not uncommon for people with depression to struggle with even getting out of bed in the morning or doing things which are considered basic by most people. It’s important to remember that just because the mental impacts are not able to be seen with the naked eye , this does not make them any less real.
Reviewing the impacts of depression can be a lot to take in. This type of mental health issue is very scary and nothing to crack jokes about. However, having an awareness of the effects associated with depression allows for a deeper understanding of steps to take if and when you’re going through this struggle yourself.
There’s No One Reason For Depression
Lots of things influence whether a person gets depressed. Some of it is biology things like our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones. Some is environment, including daylight and seasons, or social and family situations we face. And some is personality, like how we react to life events or the support systems we create for ourselves. All these things can help shape whether or not a person becomes depressed.
Research shows that depression runs in families. Some people inherit genes that contribute to depression. But not everyone who has a family member with depression will develop it too. And many people with no family history of depression still get depressed. So genes are one factor, but they aren’t the only reason for depression.
Chemicals called neurotransmitters help send messages between nerve cells in the brain. Some neurotransmitters regulate mood. When a person is depressed, these neurotransmitters might be in low supply or not effective enough.
Genes and brain chemistry can be connected: Having the genes for depression may make a person more likely to have the neurotransmitter problem that is part of depression.
Stress, Health, and Hormones
Things like stress, using alcohol or drugs, and hormone changes also affect the brain’s delicate chemistry and mood.
Getting enough sleep and regular exercise often has a positive effect on neurotransmitter activity and mood.
Daylight and Seasons
Family and Social Environment
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How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you dont know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You dont have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Dont expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Causes And Risk Factors
While some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward, depression is far more complicated. Certain medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and specific blood pressure medicine can trigger symptoms in some peopleas can hypothyroidism . But most commonly, depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors that can vary wildly from one person to another.
Despite what you may have seen in TV ads, read in newspaper articles, or maybe even heard from a doctor, depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, having too much or too little of any brain chemical that can be simply cured with medication. Biological factors can certainly play a role in depression, including inflammation, hormonal changes, immune system suppression, abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain, nutritional deficiencies, and shrinking brain cells. But psychological and social factorssuch as past trauma, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, and lifestyle choicescan also play an enormous part.
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Is There Something I Can Do For You
So, the best way to really support someone is to offer something specific and tangible, like, Im picking up groceries, what can I get you?
If someone is embarrassed by or resistant to offers of help, reword it so it sounds like theyre doing you a favor. For example:
- My dog is lonely. Is it OK if I walk your dog, too, so he has someone to run around with?
- I promised my kids a playdate this weekend. Can I pick up your kids and take them all to the park for a couple of hours?
Living With A Depressed Person
Depression is much more than a bad mood. Its a disorder that casts a shadow over a persons thoughts, feelings, perceptions of the world, and their relationships with others. This makes living with someone who has depressed quite the challenging task. Researchers estimate that almost one out of every five people in the US will experience major depression at some point in their lifetime. So chances are youll have a loved one who has experienced the disorder at one point or another.
Depression looks different for different people, so shake off those stock images of the crying person who cant get out of bed. Though people might experience this intense sadness, others may feel irritable, anxious, or angry. That constantly irritated friend who cant concentrate or sleep at night? He might actually be depressed. Other signs to look for might include loss of interest in activities that were once fun, difficulty making decisions, changes in sleeping and eating, loss of energy or sluggishness, feeling guilty or hopeless, and even suicidal thoughts.
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