How Do You Know If Your Friend Is Going Through A Tough Time
Sometimes its hard to know the difference between the regular ups and downs of life, and mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Someone experiencing mental health concerns might feel ashamed, and worried about how their friends might react if they talk about it.
Not everyone experiences depression or anxiety in the same way, and symptoms can vary; however, there are changes in the way a person going through a tough time acts that you can look out for. If your friend is experiencing depression, they might:
- seem down or tearful a lot of the time, or cranky more often
- stay up really late or sleep in a lot, or have problems with sleep
- miss a lot of school, work or their regular activities
- miss hangouts or often cancel at the last minute
- eat more or less than usual
- drink alcohol or take drugs more than usual
- talk about feeling empty, tired or worthless
- seem more pessimistic and hopeless, and like they have less energy in general.
If your friend is experiencing anxiety, they might:
- be obsessed with details, such as being a perfectionist or wanting to plan things out thoroughly
- have difficulty making decisions
- avoid new people, situations or unfamiliar places
- have trouble keeping to schedules or plans
- seem disinterested, forgetful, distracted or scattered
- have digestive issues
- have a need to reassurance; about how you feel, whether plans make sense, triple checking times
- have difficulty sleeping
Learn more about what anxiety is and how to recognise the symptoms.
How To Effectively Respond To Just Snap Out Of It
First Things First Why They Say Just Snap Out Of It In The First Place
Its one of the most annoying things to hear others tell you;to just snap out of it and think positive when all you want to do is blow your head off, but we also have to understand why they say that.
The average person, especially someone that has never experienced depression, has;no idea what is going on when you tell them things like, I feel horrible and just want to die. ;My life sucks. ;I dont see the point in going on.
For;a person that is simply down or sad all they actually have to do is go for a run and spend half a day shaking it off and they feel better! To them, a small feeling of sadness is on the same playing field as full blown depression. ;They have just never actually crossed into the territory of real depression, so they have no real understanding of what you are experiencing.
Once you understand where they are coming from, you can begin to form the bridge of understanding to your situation.
The Alcohol Analogy
I came up with this analogy years ago and it has yet to fail me once in helping someone else understand what I meant when I was depressed and couldnt just do a few jumping jacks and feel better.
Depression is a physiological;state that you are in and cannot get out of.
They would say there is nothing they can do in that moment to just stop being drunk.
The bridge of understanding has been formed.
How To Never Hear Just Snap Out Of It Again
Differences Between Grief And Depression
Everyone grieves differently. Some people may have symptoms that are very similar to depression, such as withdrawal from social settings and intense feelings of sadness. However, there are very important differences between depression and grief.
Symptom duration. People with depression feel depressed almost all the time. Grieving people often have symptoms that fluctuate, or come in waves.
Acceptance of support. People with depression often begin to isolate themselves and may even shun others. People who are grieving may avoid vibrant social settings, but they often accept some support from loved ones.
Ability to function. Someone who is grieving may still be able to go to work or school. They may even feel that participating in these activities will help occupy their mind. However, if youre clinically depressed, you may experience symptoms so severe that youre unable to go to work or do other important tasks.
Grief can be a trigger for depression, but not everyone who grieves will experience depression.
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How To Lift Depression
The main task in any counselling for depression, which is very commonly accompanied by anxiety, is to lower emotional arousal and help patients stop their negative introspection as quickly as possible. This can be done by drawing on the human givens in realistic, practical ways.
We routinely find that, using a variety of appropriate approaches that are attuned to the human givens, we can make, in one session, much faster progress, even with severe depression, than if we slavishly follow one particular model of therapy.
The approach has been demonstrated publicly and filmed for training purposes many times .
Therapists working from the human givens will integrate behavioural, cognitive and interpersonal approaches with relaxation and visualisation techniques, to motivate people to widen their life view, raise their self esteem and solve problems. We can work alongside patients giving practical guidance for breaking problems down into manageable chunks . We can use humour to jerk them out of their black and white thinking; we can reframe their negative comments in a novel, positive way; we can inform, set tasks, get patients to exercise, engage again in fun activities or involve themselves in helping others , rouse their curiosity, and so on.
Find A Mental Health Counselor For The Two Of You
Depression affects both of youand your whole family. The Lowes suggest finding a therapist or counselor who has worked with depression in couples. You may have issues to deal with individually as the depressed person, and the two of you may have issues to deal with that stem from coping with depression, Lowe says. We found it very helpful to have a counselor we could see together at times and separately at other times.
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Its Not A Cure For Depression But Exercise Does Enhance Psychological Health
Therapists and other healthcare providers are often asked by their patients if theres an exercise that can target depression. As often as not, they provide a vague or open-ended response. They might say aerobics, jogging, swimming, cycling, or yoga. They might even suggest that their patients adopt any physical fitness routine that makes them feel good. A person who dislikes running might not get the same benefit from that exercise as one they enjoy more like rowing or swimming.
Fortunately, most forms of exercise can deliver a real mental health benefit just as they support physical health. But depression sufferers shouldnt expect to snap out of their mild depression after a single session of working out. The key to experiencing the mental benefits of physical fitness is to adopt a workout routine. Moreover, once someone experiences the mood uplift that exercise provides, theyll want to continue exercising because it can help them maintain their stable mood. While there may not be just one type of workout that can benefit a persons mood, there are fortunately many.
Depression Can Be Treated
Even the most severe cases of depression can be treated. Depression is commonly treated with medication, psychotherapy , or a combination of the two.
Antidepressants are medications commonly used to treat depression. People respond differently to antidepressants, and you may need to try different medicines to find the one that works best. Researchers also are studying and developing other medications for depression, such as brexanolone for postpartum depression, and esketamine. You can learn about recent developments on these and other medications at NIMH’s Science News webpage under the topic Treatments.
There are many different types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. The particular approach a therapist uses depends on the condition being treated and the training and experience of the therapist. Therapists also may combine and adapt elements of different approaches.
Depression affects each individual differently. There is no one-size-fits-all for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best. You can learn more about the different types of depression treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies, on the NIMHs webpage about depression. Visit the Food and Drug Administration website for the latest information on warnings, patient medication guides, and newly approved medications.
What to Consider When Looking for a Therapist
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Don’t Tell Them To Try Harder
Avoid making comments like:
- “Snap out of it!”
- “Just try harder!”
Having someone tell you to try harder when you are already giving it your best effort can be demoralizing and may make a person with depression feel their situation is hopeless.
There are many reasons depression develops and a person cannot necessarily control all of the risk factors involved. Once a person has become depressed, it’s not a matter of just “talking themselves out of” a low mood.
Like diabetes or hypothyroidism, depression can happen because the body is not making enough of substances it needs to function properly. A person with diabetes cannot will their body to make more insulin.
A person experiencing depression due to low levels of neurotransmitters can’t simply “think” themselves into having more.
Similar to how people with diabetes might need treatment with insulin, people who have depression need medical intervention and support. For some people, this may mean taking medications that address chemical imbalances that can contribute to the condition.
Tips To Help You Through A Depressive Episode
So youre doing okay, cruising right along. Suddenly you realize that youre slipping into a depressive episode. Once that depressive state starts to hover over you like a dark cloud, remind yourself that its only temporary. You will get out of it.
Its so much like a rollercoaster ride that it can make you physically ill as well.
Here are six helpful tips to get you through on not just a daily basis, but an hourly basis. Dont look too far ahead too often that can be overwhelming.
1. Art therapy.
Put on your favorite upbeat, happy music and dance the day away if you need to. Draw or paint. Sculpt with clay. These can help to give you a physical release of tensions built up inside you.
2. Pet your pet.
Give love to a pet that you already have. Just petting your dog or cat or bunny or whatever you have also gives that release feeling and takes away feelings of depression and sadness.
If you dont have a pet, try to pick yourself up and get yourself to a pet store or an animal shelter. And while youre petting your animal, talk to him or her. The loyalty of a good pet is irreplaceable.
3. Light therapy.
Do you seem to become depressed in the winter? When we have less light, we are cut short of vitamin D, according to MayoClinic.com and WebMD.com. Besides our feel-good brain receptors, vitamin D also aids in bone health, kidney function and osteoporosis.
4. Physical activity.
5. Have a sanity buddy.
6. Make a happy list.
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No We Can’t Snap Out Of It
The good news is that depression is treatable. The bad news is that finding treatment that is effective, affordable, and accessible is extremely difficult. You have to become your own advocate, and do your own research. You have to ask a lot of questions, especially about medication, particularly if you’re drug intolerant like me. It sometimes feels like a full-time job, and managing this can be difficult for someone who is depressed.
I once had a doctor who switched my meds; he told me to simply stop taking the old one and start taking the new one. I know now that this is really dangerous because you need to be weaned off of prescription medication, but back then, I didn’t know that what my doctor was advising me might be incorrect. Within a few days I was crying uncontrollably, taking dangerous risks while driving, and I couldn’t stop shaking. I thought I was losing my mind, but in reality, I was intolerant to the new medication while simultaneously experiencing sudden withdrawal from the old one.
Luckily, I also had a therapist who was also a registered nurse, and she recognized what was happening right away. She advised me to refill my old prescription, and to promptly switch doctors. She basically saved my life. Now, I ask a ton of questions about any suggested medication. It might come off as annoying, but I do what I have to do to advocate for my own mental health.
Volunteer Somewhere To Help Someone Less Fortunate
Get out of the narrow focus called me-myself-and-I. Best way to stop thinking about yourself? Think about someone else. Happy people are people who serve others. They are reminded that their glass is half full when they serve someone whos got it worse than they do. Go find something like a convalescent home, a food kitchen, or a homeless shelter and get your hands dirty. One of my favorite quotes comes to mind, someone is praying for the things you take for granted.
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Severities Of Clinical Depression
Clinical depression can often come on gradually. So it can be difficult to notice when something is wrong. You might try to cope with the symptoms without realising you’re unwell. It can sometimes take a friend or family member to suggest something is wrong.
The severity of clinical depression depends on how much impact it has on your daily life:
- mild clinical depression has some impact
- moderate clinical depression has a significant impact
- severe clinical depression almost impossible to get through daily life
You can have clinical depression and other mental health disorders. For example, anxiety, psychosis or other difficulties.
Oxytocin: The Feeling Of Love
Oxytocin is a little hormone nicknamed the cuddle hormone because it makes us feel loved and connected. It plays a major role in childbirth and childcare, helping mothers and fathers feel connected . But it also affects an incredible amount of behavioral tendencies. Specifically, researcher Inga Neumann found that oxytocin changes pro-social behaviors and emotional responses for relaxation, trust between people, and psychological stability.
Ding, ding, ding!
Oxytocin is crucial to understanding our moods. Oxytocin primarily is produced and affected by the people around us. Interestingly, one study found that new lovers have higher oxytocin levels than single people for the first six months of their relationship. Oxytocin is high because our mind and body are working together to make a connection. This is why other people can change our moods so greatlyeither flipping us into a happy state or spreading toxicity to our mental state.
Oxytocin Boost: The best way to tap into your oxytocin is by tapping into your support system. The moment you are in a bad mood, think about the person who can boost your oxytocin. Specifically, whos the person who makes you laugh? Whos the best listener? Call in the team! Not only are moods contagious , but they also can produce that warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging in you!
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Depression Is An Illness Not A Lifestyle Choice
While depression is a medical condition, like a broken bone, finding treatment for it can be much harder than finding treatment for physical conditions. Finding someone I like and trust who provides both medication management and talk therapy, and who also takes insurance, is like finding a unicorn. If I could find either one, I’d be over the moon.
Psychology Today reported that extended schooling and a lower earning potential are responsible for many med students not choosing psychiatry as their speciality, which has resulted in a shortage of mental health doctors. Additionally, dealing with insurance companies adds another layer of frustration to the process for people trying to get help for their depression.
For example, most HMO health insurance plans require authorization from your primary care doctor to seek mental health treatment through your insurance. Additionally, the Atlantic reported that, according to the American Psychological Association, 30 percent of psychologists don’t take insurance at all.
And, according to Mental Health America, one out of five adults actively seeking treatment for a mental illness reported that they are not able to get the treatment they need, in part because, on average, there is only one mental health provider for every 529 people seeking treatment.
Can You Snap Out Of Depression
While you cant immediately snap out of depression, there are steps to take in overcoming depressive disorders and their symptoms. Because people often feel they should be able to pull themselves out of their depression, many people resist taking medication. They really believe that they can modify their thinking and behaviors in order to manage their depression. For some, traditional “talk therapy” works, but for many it isn’t enough to make a significant change in their mood.
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Depression Is A Real Medical Condition
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. Depression symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy your life. Although researchers are still studying the causes of depression, current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Most people with depression need treatment to feel better.
Find A Creative Outlet
What floats your boat? Figure it out and go do it. This can be writing, painting, gardening, or fixing motorcycles. The only requirement is that its creative, making or doing something with your hands. Its physical and experiential. Your whole body is involved, not just your mind. The key here is to access different parts of your brain besides cognition, or thought, because when were depressed, we get stuck in certain thought patterns. Mine was rock climbing
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