When Youre Depressed You Cant Just Will Yourself To Snap Out Of It But This Guide To Depression Help Can Put You On The Road To Recovery
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us are dealing with social distancing, isolation, and lockdowns that make it even harder to cope with symptoms of depression. Whatever your circumstances, though, there are ways to overcome feelings of sadness and despair, improve your mood, and regain a sense of hope. In addition to the tips in this article, you can also find help for depression in our Coronavirus Mental Health Toolkit.
Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight
Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.
- Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
- Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
Meet Yourself Where You Are
Depression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.
Every day with this disorder is different. Its important to take your mental health seriously and accept that where you are right now isnt where youll always be.
The key to self-treatment for depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what youre going through.
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Are There Treatments For Depression
There is comfort in knowing that there are many options for treating depression. These can include psychotherapy , antidepressant medication, and natural approaches, such as eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and following good sleep habits.
With the help of a healthcare professional, its up to you to decide which combination of approaches works best for you.
In one of people with a lifetime major depressive disorder diagnosis:
- 53.1% used medication
- 62.5% talked with a professional
- 14.9% received nonprofessional support
- 11.8% were hospitalized overnight or longer
This report shows that treatment approaches are broad. If one approach doesnt work, try to remember that there are other options for you.
Whats The Difference Between Sadness And Depression
Whether youve lost a loved one, moved to a new place, or missed out on a job opportunity, there are plenty of stressful and upsetting events that can get you down. However, the difference between sadness and depression is that sadness usually passes with a little time, while depression is a mood disorder that can appear without any specific cause and last for two weeks or more.
Depression impacts almost every part of your life, interfering with how you think, feel, and go about your daily activities like sleeping, working, and socializing. Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling empty
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than normal
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Irritability or restlessness
- Aches and pains without clear physical causes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
To be diagnosed with depression, these symptoms must be present nearly all day, every day for at least two weeks.
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Upgrade Your Mind Mood
In my work with clients, I like to teach what I call three different mind moods:
- unkind mind,
- kind mind and
- quiet mind.
Theyre all pretty self-explanatory. But suffice it to say that an unkind mind dishes out negative and critical thoughts. A kind mind is when were thinking positively or kindly toward ourselves and others. And when were in a quiet mind mode, were simply in the present moment and our minds are at peace.
Lets say you become aware that your unkind mind has been running the show. Here you are going about your day and you become aware of thoughts like, why bother, things are hopeless, Ill always be depressed, Ill never be happy or everyone else has more fill in the blank.
Now youre at a crossroad. You can keep recycling and believing the thoughts that your unkind mind is dishing out, or you can make a conscious decision to either upgrade your thought to a kinder one or to quiet your mind by turning your attention to something that is actually factually present in the here and now, otherwise known as reality.
As you gain more awareness of your depressive thoughts and more willingness to upgrade them, you will start to get some breaks in the regularly played unkind mind programs.
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The Painful Difficulty Of Living With A Depressed Person
There is a great deal of information available about depression. But when you live with a depressed person, it can be painfully difficult. Anti-depressants are the number-one prescribed medication in this country, but they are not a panacea. Many with depression continue to suffer, or at least have symptomatic periods. This, in turn, affects those who love them.
It can be especially difficult when the person with depression is your child or a partner. Many parents feel it is their duty to rescue their adult children. But the feeling of helplessness often prevails when you live with a depressed individual. It may not be healthy to feel it is your duty to rescue a partner, and it’s also not healthy to take responsibility for his or her feelings.
For men who have depressed partners, feeling helpless is especially common. Generally, men are fixers. When they hear of a problem, their reaction is to fix it. But depression is not so easily fixed, therefore the result is helplessness and frustration. This can complicate the helping process.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are nine possible criteria that contribute to a diagnosis of depression, of which five must be met, for the majority of the time:
These criteria can lead to a multitude of other symptoms, including a lack of sex drive, angry outbursts, irritability, withdrawal, and more. People experience different symptoms of depression, one persons depression might appear much different than anothers.
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Learn The Symptoms Of Depression
If you think youre living with someone with depression, take the time to learn as much as you can about the condition, including the symptoms of depression to look out for. Some of the most common symptoms of depression include:
- Intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that they once enjoyed
- Anger, irritability and frustration, and taking these feelings out on people who are closest to them
What Are The Different Types Of Depression
The most common types of depression are:
- Major depressiondepressive symptoms that interfere with a man’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy most aspects of life. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime. But it is common for a person to have several episodes. Special forms of major depression include:
- Psychotic depressionsevere depression associated with delusions or hallucinations . These psychotic symptoms are depression-themed. For example, a man may believe he is sick or poor when he is not, or he may hear voices that are not real that say that he is worthless.
- Seasonal affective disordercharacterized by depression symptoms that appear every year during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight.
- Persistent depressive disorder depressive symptoms that last a long time but are less severe than those of major depression.
- Minor depressionsimilar to major depression and persistent depressive disorder, but symptoms are less severe and may not last as long.
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Other Ways To Help Include:
- Offering him support, understanding, patience, and encouragement
- Listening carefully and talking with him
- Never ignoring comments about suicide, and alerting his therapist or doctor
- Helping him increase his level of physical and social activity by inviting him out for hikes, games, and other events. If he says, no, keep trying, but don’t push him to take on too much too soon.
- Encouraging him to report any concerns about medications to his health care provider
- Ensuring that he gets to his doctor’s appointments
- Reminding him that with time and treatment, the depression will lift
Do You Feel Depressed
You may also be referred to a mental health professional, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or mental health counselor to discuss your feelings and symptoms. During your first therapy session, you may feel anxious and nervous, and that is perfectly normal. Try and stay calm, because the more relaxed you are when speaking with a mental health professional, the more you will gain from each session.
In the beginning, you will be asked questions about your family history of depression or other mental health disorders. If sharing this kind of information causes shame or embarrassment, it may help to remember that depression is a common problem and that you are not alone. Seeing a mental health professionalâand approaching therapy with a positive attitudeâwill help you feel better and is an important first step on your road to recovery.
Depending on your level of depression, a prescription drug may be recommended. If that happens, be sure to ask about side effects, dietary restrictions, how long the medication is typically prescribed and the amount of time for the medication to take effect .
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Changing Your Eating Habits
Why Is Dealing With Depression So Difficult
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
Its the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There is a big difference, however, between something thats difficult and something thats impossible. While recovering from depression isnt quick or easy, you do have more control than you realizeeven if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. You may not have much energy, but by drawing on all your reserves, you should have enough to take a walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one, for example.
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favorite music, for example, is something you can do right now. And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hourslong enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend. By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, youll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.
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How To Reach Out For Depression Support
Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you they just need to be a good listenersomeone wholl listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.
Make face-time a priority. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they dont replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression and keeping it away.
Try to keep up with social activities even if you dont feel like it. Often when youre depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
Find ways to support others. Its nice to receive support, but research shows you get an even bigger mood boost from providing support yourself. So find waysboth big and smallto help others: volunteer, be a listening ear for a friend, do something nice for somebody.
Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being neededboth powerful antidotes to depression.
10 tips for staying connected
When To Seek Professional Help
Any level of depression should be taken seriously and the faster you address the symptoms, the less likely you are to develop a more severe type of depression. Seeking professional help is a sign of bravery and self-respect because it shows that you are dedicated to caring for your mind and body. A therapist can offer more clinical advice and guide you through treatment with approaches that are more tailored to your specific situation and needs. However, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, tell someone you trust and seek assistance immediately.
Everyone experiences low points in their life and their mental health, but depression is a treatable mental illness and you can recover. Whether you or a loved one is feeling depressed, every persons experience with mental illness is different but help is available. Visit our Key Services page to learn more about the treatment methods we offer and to explore our list of additional health and wellness classes to support your overall mental health.
If you are in a crisis, please call us at 303-425-0300 or by calling the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
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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.
Help The Person With Depression To Get Help
While there are lots of things you can do to help when living with someone with depression, this condition can become gradually worse over time and often needs expert depression treatment.
As an initial step, you could make a GP appointment on behalf of the person and then offer to attend it with them for moral support. This will give them the chance to get things off their chest with a medical professional, and their GP may be able to refer them for specialist mental health treatment.
In addition, while we prefer people to have a GP referral, this isnt essential and you can also contact Priory directly to discuss your loved one’s needs and options for treatment.
At Priory, we provide expert depression treatment at our hospitals and wellbeing centres, including outpatient therapy, day care or residential stays if needed. We can help someone with depression to address their symptoms, learn coping strategies for the future, and take steps towards the healthy and fulfilling life they deserve.
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