Start Monitoring Your Sleep And Wakefulness
Sleep disturbance is one of the classic signs of a severe depressive episode. Now is the time to start checking your sleep patterns and habits. Don’t let a disordered sleep cycle get on top of you. Try to stick to a strict bedtime, use no devices before lights-out, drink lots of calming tea, and set a guaranteed wakeup time in the morning. Make notes of how your sleep patterns are shifting, too â your therapist and physician will find those helpful in monitoring how your condition’s changing.
Introspect Yourself And Your Feelings Of Loneliness
No, dont hide under that blanket and hide away from your feelings of loneliness. Rather loosen up your shoulders, take threedeep breaths, and work on your feelings of loneliness. You can start by identifying the cause behind your feelings of loneliness.
It can vary widely from situation to person, just accept it. No matter how discomforting loneliness might feel, it will shrink if you draw attention to it and uncover your expectations.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
You may like to unwind after a long day with a beer or glass of wine, but now isnt the time. Depression and alcohol dont mix.
As a depressant, alcohol will worsen your mood and wreak havoc on your sleep. And when done to excess, drinking creates all kinds of problems on its own.
Youll feel better if you resist the urge to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances.
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Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep and mood are intimately related. A 2014 study found that 80% of people with major depressive disorder experience sleep disturbances.
But, you might feel like you just can’t fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time.
Good sleep hygiene could be key to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Turn off electronics at least an hour before you go to bed. Use dim light to read a book or engage in another relaxing activity.
Only use your bed for sleep and sexual activity. Doing work in bed, or even in your bedroom, can cause you to associate your bed with stress, rather than relaxation.
Are There Other Therapies To Treat Symptoms Of Depression
There are other treatments your doctor may consider. Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is a treatment option for people whose symptoms don’t get better with medicine or who have severe depression and need treatment right away.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, involves using a noninvasive device that is held above the head to induce the magnetic field. It targets a specific part of the brain that can trigger depression.
With vagus nerve stimulation, or VMS, a pacemaker-like device is surgically implanted under the collarbone to deliver regular impulses to the brain.
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Have A Mantra On Deck That’ll Help You Feel Better
“When my depression rears its ugly head, I use a mantra that I made up for myself to help get around it. I tell my depression, ‘I am not depressed, I have depression. You’re there and a part of me, but you don’t own me. I respect you, but I don’t give you power over me.’ It helps clear my head and gives me perspective, reminding me that it will pass and I’ll still be here, like so many times before.”
Their Empathy Score Is High
Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.
People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.
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Accept It As A Feeling
Dont let yourself fall into the trap of believing that loneliness is forever. You might feel lonely today, this week, or even this month, but it doesnt mean you are alone or that you have no one who cares for you.
Like all feelings, loneliness is impermanent and it does not define who you are.
Accept that you feel lonely, then focus on moving forward.
A Body Scan Exercise To Help You Sleep
- Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes closed. Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed.
- Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any tension while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for at least three to five seconds.
- Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. Then move your focus to your right ankle and repeat. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg. From there, move up your torso, through your lower back and abdomen, your upper back and chest, and your shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that feels tense.
- After completing the body scan, relax, noting how your body feels. You should feel so relaxed you can easily fall asleep.
For a bedtime sleep meditation that uses deep breathing, mindfulness, and body scan techniques to help you wind down and clear your head, .
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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
How To Stop Feeling Lonely And Overcome Depression
No matter why you feel lonely, it is possible to feel better. But what should you do, right now, to overcome depression? While you cant miraculously fix every problem in your life overnight, you can learn to feel better today.
Then, you can build on that foundation, gradually creating an everyday reality that actually feels good and right, not inauthentic and sad.
Here are some of the best ways to cope with loneliness and find a new sense of happiness.
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Look For Evidence Of Perseverance
A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.
Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.
Get Curious Ask Questions Find Answers
Do you know what is unlimited and never-ending in life? Knowledge! So, when you feel lonely, set your thoughts free to wander in different directions, get curious about things around you, ask yourself questions , and get engaged in finding answers. This will not keep your lonely feelings at bay but will also help you expand your knowledge bubble.
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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.
Keep Your Room Dark Cool And Quiet
Keep noise down. If you cant avoid or eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Earplugs may also help.
Keep your room cool. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.
Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex. By not working, watching TV, or using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex, which makes it easier to wind down at night.
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Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
Depression And Suicide Risk
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. Deep despair and hopelessness can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and watch for the warning signs:
- Talking about killing or harming ones self.
- Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped.
- An unusual preoccupation with death or dying.
- Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish .
- Getting affairs in order .
- Saying things like Everyone would be better off without me, or I want out.
- A sudden switch from being extremely down to acting calm and happy.
If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
If you are feeling suicidal
When youre feeling suicidal, your problems dont seem temporarythey seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you get help. There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out!
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A Deep Breathing Exercise To Help You Sleep
Breathing from your belly rather than your chest can activate the relaxation response and lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels to help you drift off to sleep.
- Lay down in bed and close your eyes.
- Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
To follow along with a guided deep breathing exercise, .
Socialize With Friends And Family
Even if you are experiencing mild depression or a funk, you might find yourself drawing away from others, avoiding social situations, or not wanting to burden people with your feelings. One of the hardest but most helpful things you can do to see yourself through depression is to find that strong support circle and spend time with the people you love.
Schedule times to visit with family and friends or plan to grab lunch with a coworker so you have a specific time and place where you can lean on others when youre feeling blue. You might also find that some of these people have experienced depression themselves and they might be able to relate with you on the subject and share ideas of what has helped them in the past or just lend an open ear.
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Symptoms And Causes Of Depression
Symptoms of depression can be very different from person to person. However, as a general rule, if you are depressed you feel hopeless, sad and lacking interest in things that used to make you feel happy.
Depression symptoms are bad enough to interfere with work, social life and family life, and can persist for weeks or months.
Doctors describe depression in one of three ways, depending on how serious it is:
- mild depression it has some impact on daily life
- moderate depression it has a significant impact on your daily life
- severe depression this makes it nearly impossible to get through your life day to day
A few people with severe depression may have symptoms of psychotic depression.
Below is a list of depression symptoms it’s unlikely that one person would have all of them.
The Benefits Of Focused Meditation
In this style of meditation, what youre really doing is exercising your mental muscles. Your brain is highly affected by dedicated and concentrated meditation practice.
Scientists have performed countless studies on focused meditation and have found that active meditators have more gray matter volume in their brain and, therefore, offsetting the cognitive decline that comes with aging. So, not only does practicing focused meditation help you learn how to focus better on certain tasks, but it also improves similar functions, such as memory.
Likewise, it helps in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, which our society is currently crippled with. By settling your attention on an object, you are essentially building your ability to observe your thoughts and sensations from a place of objectivity. This allows you to detach from negative self-talk that is often the breeding ground for depression and other mental illnesses.
From a guided meditation for focus to practicing it yourself, daily meditation for focus comes with several benefits:
- Itll reduce stress
- Helps you to focus on the present moment
- Increase your creativity and imagination
- And boost your patience and tolerance for things.
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How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
Look After Your Physical Health
Exercise has long been known to be a great way to fight depression. If you feel well enough, head out and get some fresh air outside even if its just a brief stroll in the park. Again, you should only do what feels right. If you need to build up to this by starting off slowly , then do whats right for your recovery.
What activity is good for depression?
- Walking or running
- Aerobic-heavy sports like tennis or squash
- Mindful activities like yoga or meditation
- Gym classes
Another significant factor in managing depression is good quality sleep. Research shows that 80% of people with clinical depression struggle with disturbed sleep. Small things like turning off electronic devices and ditching late-night caffeinated drinks and stodgy foods may well lead to you enjoying a better nights sleep. With better sleep, you might also find your mood improving in the day.
The evidence shows that exercise can be a way to manage symptoms of depression, thanks to the endorphins, dopamine and serotonin that are released during exercise that make us feel better. If you feel well enough to do so, introduce exercise into your daily routine.
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