Why Talking About Depression Is Important
Lets face it, talking about what bothers us isnt always easy. Especially, if a person is dealing with depression.
So when celebrities like actor Dwayne The Rock Johnson open up about battling depression, it can have an impact on the public, and maybe get us talking about mental health.
Many people in our society look up to celebrities and some model their behaviour after them, says Dr. Mark Sinyor, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. When a celebrity says that they have struggled with depression, anxiety or another mental disorder, it sends several important messages: This is ok to talk about You can struggle and still have a meaningful and successful life Mental distress can be overcome.
In a tweet, The Rock shared this sentiment: Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it all in. Youre not alone.
Dr. Sinyor notes, as a group, men are less likely to share their struggles with mental disorders and to seek help for these conditions. The likely explanation has to do with male gender roles and the socialization of males to avoid vulnerability or perceived weakness.
That said, Dr. Sinyor emphasizes the importance of resisting blanket generalizations. It is not always the case that men bottle up their emotions. There are some men who find it easy to open up and some women who dont.
Its A Proven Approach When Learning How To Fight Depression: Nourish Your Body Mind And Spirit To Boost Your Mood
How to fight depression? One effective tactic is to make exercise part of your daily routine.
Depression manifests differently in everyone. Some people, especially the elderly, may think that feeling depressed is a natural part of aging. But depression isnt normal at any age. How to fight depression? Whether youre 18 or 80, you can take many lifestyle strategies to help yourself feel better quickly.
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How To Talk To A Friend About Depression
Whilst its impossible to predict exactly how your chosen person/people will react when you’ve told them you’re depressed and struggling, it can help to weigh up the different possibilities so you can prepare:
If your loved one has never experienced depression, its entirely possible that they wont understand what youre going through, and why you just cant stop feeling sad. They might feel like its their responsibility to try and fix you and try to suggest things that will cure your depression
Other people may become upset. They may be worried about you and could even blame themselves for not recognising your depression
Some people may simply not know how to respond to the news, having never experienced a situation like this before, and therefore, they may try to change the subject and avoid talking about things
The person may respond really positively. They may ask you questions about your depression, ask how they can support you, and reassure you that they will always be there for you when you need them
It may turn out that the person you confide in has personal experience of depression, as 19% of adults have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. They may also know someone else knows someone who struggles with low mood or another mental health condition. They may therefore be able to empathise with you, or offer words of advice and wisdom that can help you on your recovery journey
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You Have Little Or No Energy Most Of The Time
When youre struggling psychologically, your body feels it, too. Depression can drain your energy quickly, and you might find yourself feeling fatigued on most days. Moving slowly, forgoing exercise and longing just to lie down are all common with depression.
You might lack the energy to upkeep your household or care for children or pets, and even small tasks like showering can feel like insurmountable chores.
What A Therapist Looks For
An evaluation with a mental health professional can give you more answers about your mental health, including a formal diagnosis.
To understand your symptoms and see whether theyre indicative of depression, a therapist will want to know how long your symptoms have lasted and how severely they impact your daily life. A major depressive episode must have lasted for at least two weeks for a therapist to make a diagnosis of a mental health condition.
To make an accurate and informed diagnosis, your therapist will also want to rule out other causes of your symptoms. They will likely ask you about:
- Grief from a recent loss
- Past or recent trauma, including physical or psychological abuse or injury
- Recent life changes, like pregnancy or divorce
- Substance abuse problems
- Your mental health history
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Talk To A Friend About Your Depression
The thought of talking about your depression to others is, understandably, terrifying. You have no way of predicting how they will react in advance.
However, telling those nearest to you about your condition and challenges can be extremely therapeutic, especially if they provide encouragement and support.
Similarly, telling others about your depression acts as a security net, especially if your condition deteriorates or you require assistance or support.
You might even wish to share your crisis plan with some of those trustworthy friends and family members in some instances. This way, theyll know what to do if your depression worsens to the point of crisis or you start contemplating suicide.
The goal is to avoid dealing with depression on your own. Solitude, loneliness, and despair are all intensified when youre depressed.
Surrounding yourself with caring people who tell you that you are not alone and that you are appreciated especially when you dont feel the same way help you overcome these emotions.
Im Here For You If You Want To Talk About It
Its not easy to talk about your depression, but if your loved one knows you are there for them it can be easier. You cant force them to talk about their condition, but you can make it easier to open up about their feelings.
Dont push, either if theyre not ready to talk, thats ok. Just remind them that you are there for them if and when they want to talk.
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Benefits Of Talking Therapies
Talking therapies can help all sorts of people in lots of different situations. You may also hear them referred to as counselling, talking treatments or psychological therapies.
Talking therapy is for anyone who’s going through a bad time or has emotional problems they need help with.
For many adults it may be the same or more effective than medicine.
Choosing The Right Doctor
The first thing you will want to do is to make sure that you are choosing the right doctor with whom to speak. While it might make sense to make an appointment with your family doctor or general practitioner, this might not always be the case.
If you do not see this doctor often or feel embarrassed to talk to this doctor, but there is another doctor whom you do see often , it might make more sense to bring it up during one of your regular appointments with them. If for some reason you end up going to the emergency department, then the ER doctor there will be able to help you.
If none of these seem to be an option, you could also consider going directly to a mental health professional however, you will likely need to work backwards and get a referral from your doctor at that point.
Mental health professionals to approach would include a social worker, counselor, psychologist, psychotherapist, registered nurse, or psychiatrist. You might find these professionals working in private practice or through a community health center, outpatient mental health clinic, employee assistance program, or family/social services agency.
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Ruling Out Other Causes
After you share your symptoms, it is likely that your doctor will want to rule out other potential causes of how you are feeling before jumping to a diagnosis of depression. There are various other potential causes of depression symptoms including the following:
- Thyroid problems
- Side effects of other medications
While there is no medical lab test for depression, your doctor will likely do a thorough physical check-up including a physical exam and blood tests. This is an important first step before prescribing medication or making a referral to a mental health professional.
Why You Should Talk About Depression
Naturally, the prospect of disclosing your depression to other people is scary. You have no way of knowing for sure how they will respond.
But choosing to tell the people closest to you about your diagnosis and your struggles can be very healing, especially if they offer support and encouragement.
In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, simply talking to a sympathetic person can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.
Likewise, letting other people know about your depression provides a safety net of sorts, especially if your condition worsens or if you need help or support.
In some cases, you may even want to share your crisis plan with a few trusted friends or family friends. This way, they know how to respond if your depression hits crisis level or you start talking about suicide.
The key is that you try not to deal with depression alone. Being depressed already heightens feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hopelessness.
You can help counteract these feelings by surrounding yourself with supportive people who remind you that you are not alone and that you are lovedeven when you don’t feel that way.
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Letting Someone Know How They Can Help
Ask me what you can do to help. This is the most effective but often the most overlooked strategy. Just ask me! I might not know straight away, but an idea may come up in the next day or two or three. It also lays the foundation for me being comfortable enough to ask you when something does come up.
Watch out for and counteract the lies that depression tells me. Those sneaky lies above will come back again and again and again. I will ruminate over and over, and it will be hard to stop. Its your job to outsource your healthy mind to me so I can know when Im being tricked, but understand that this requires a lot of trust.
Acknowledge my experience. If I express my train of thought, you can respect how and why I might be thinking that way, but also explain how someone who isnt currently depressed may think about it.
Dont be scared to apologize. Dont be afraid to say sorry if you feel youve said the wrong thing. Let me know that youre not a clinical psychologist and that youre trying your best to try and understand the situation, youre only human and you make mistakes too.
Be patient. Patience is important because as much as I want to permanently overcome depression, my brain may have structural and biochemical differences which means even if I overcome it this time, Ill probably experience it again. 50% of those who experience one episode will have another, whilst 80% of those who have two episodes will have a third.
Recognizing Depression Symptoms In A Loved One
Family and friends are often the first line of defense in the fight against depression. Thats why its important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before they do, and your influence and concern can motivate them to seek help.
Be concerned if your loved one:
Doesnt seem to care about anything anymore. Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities. Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life. Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody talks about feeling helpless or hopeless.
Frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain. Or complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps. Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and out of it.
Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers, as a way to self-medicate how theyre feeling.
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Talking To Your Partner Or Friends
- Explain depression to your partner or friends. Be honest about it. Tell them it’s a health problem, and that you are being treated. Tell them how it makes you feel. Help them understand that you will get better, and ask them to be patient with you.
- Ask for what you need. Whether it’s a ride to a doctor visit or just spending time together, getting exercise or relaxing, don’t be afraid to ask.
- Remember that friendship involves give and take. Everyone has challenges in life that he or she needs help with. When you’re dealing with depression, it can be hard to remember that other people have problems too. Ask your friends how they’re doing.
Ive Bolded The Main Points Throughout The Post So You Can Skim If Thats Your Thing Because Theres A Lot Here
*Just have pen and paper handy and jot down 2-3 options that resonate with you most to start off with. You can add more later or come back here to try something different if needed. Be patient, but its so worth it to help yourself in these natural and safe ways.
Before Jill shares her story and tips below, Ive got a few ideas you could also try to fight depression and anxiety naturally:
- This probiotic alone has helped many people with anxiety and depression, and since gut health and brain health are SO connected, this is the other FIRST thing I suggest people start taking. Again, get a discount with the code KOP here.
- Here are 2 supplements I also take for mood, along with plenty of pastured fats mentioned above, because they all work together: Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 . Use the code KOP at those links for a discount on both of those.
- Also, Rescue Remedy is a safe, natural supplement for episodes of anxiety and its popular for all ages, and even animals. You might want to give it a try or keep it on-hand for a quick-acting calming remedy.
- Another on-the-fly remedy to take as needed is this one, a good friend says it helps with her panic attacks in under 15 minutes.
- My friend Cara said this supplement helped her when she used to have anxiety. Its an amino acid and herb blend. Her daughters anxiety was helped , which is also an amino acid.
What if Im already taking an anti-anxiety drug?
- This combo remedy helps many with sleeplessness or stress.
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Preparing For Your Appointment
Before the appointment it might be helpful to write down what you’d like to talk about to make sure that you don’t forget anything. Take a few minutes before the appointment to write up a list of things you might want to bring up.
Write down any symptoms of how you’re feeling and how your mood might be affecting you day-to-day life.
Write down key personal information, including upsetting events in your past and any current major stressful events.
Make a list of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions and the names and amounts of medications, herbal remedies or supplements you take.
Feel free to take a family member or friend along to your appointment for support if it will help you feel more at ease.
Write down a list of questions to ask. These may include:
- what type of mental health problem might I have?
- why can’t I get over my mental health problem on my own?
- how do you treat my type of mental illness?
- will counselling or psychotherapy help?
- are there medications that might help?
- how long will treatment take?
- what can I do to help myself?
- do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
- what websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared, don’t hesitate to ask questions to your GP if you don’t understand something.
You aren’t alone
How To Talk To Your Friends About Depression
Knowing how to talk to your friends about depression can be an overwhelming process. The initial discomfort of talking to your friends about depression is worth overcoming because it can often lead to high rewards. Connecting with friends can be an integral part of getting out of a depressive state. Talking to your friends about depression will usually strengthen your connection with others and can help provide you with an authentic community.
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How To Talk To Friends Or Family Struggling With Depression
You can’t cure the person’s depression, but your support can do wonders.
COVID-19 pandemics mental health toll on young adults
Throughout my life, I have suffered regular bouts of depression and have learned to coexist with my diagnosis. With medication and therapy, I have managed to keep my symptoms manageable. Until now, I haven’t felt the need to share too many details of my illness with friends and family or to reach out for help to anyone who wasn’t a mental health professional. But this winter was different.
Earlier in the season, I had foolishly tapered off my antidepressants. In the midst of a pandemic, combined with the time for seasonal depression and with holiday blues on the horizon, it was exactly the wrong time to experiment with medications. One evening, that precarious time between Christmas and New Year‘s, I found myself in the midst of a severe depressive episode.
As a psychiatrist, I recognized that I could not attempt to make treatment decisions for myself or battle my illness alone. I recognized I needed help, and so I allowed myself to be vulnerable and reached out to loved ones. To my disappointment, I quickly realized how uncomfortable my emotional state was making those around me.
Clinical depression is not a sad feeling. Its not a bad mood. Its a disease. You cannot talk someone out of it any more than you can talk them out of cancer.