Depression is one of the hardest topics to speak about with others, and I’d like to shed a little light on this topic to help others understand that they aren’t alone or “stuck.” And no, a person suffering from it cannot simply “get over it.” There are, however, many ways a person can cope with depression, and there are several things which can ease the symptoms, but according to medical specialists, depression is a disease – it isn’t some made-up fiction by someone looking for attention.
Everyone gets down from time to time – when you spill your soda on the carpet, when your dog passes away, when you don’t get that promotion you were looking for, or even because of seasonal reasons (Seasonal Affective Disorder being one) – but depression is another thing entirely. In fact, there are many aspects to it doctors are still trying to understand.
Someone suffering from this disease thinks differently. It’s easy to look from the outside and judge someone for being or acting different, but understanding where they are coming from takes a whole other level of thinking. For a severely depressed person, their thoughts run them, not the other way around. According to Psychology Today, many of these thoughts have no factual basis, but a person cannot help but believe them. The thoughts say things like, “You aren’t good enough and never will be,” or “You are broken and unfixable,” and even, “It’s all hopeless, pointless.” When you live in a constant state where your thoughts run you instead of the other way around, and you are constantly bombarded by mental and physical pain, suicide begins looking like a very reasonable alternative. Suicide isn’t a cry for help – it’s escaping the pain which has become unbearable.
Depression Can Effect Relationships
Since everything seems hopeless and pointless (and even if it isn’t, the feeling of not being good enough to do anything about it runs rampant), people with clinical depression can’t help but affect those around them. They see the world through a negative screen – what is funny and comical to others can only muster an inauthentic smile. When a person gives constructive feedback all the person suffering from depression hears is how incapable they are, and how they are a failure.
In turn, they can be angry, hurtful, mean, vindictive, and/or rude without realizing it. This destroys relationships, both personal and professional, despite if it is with family, a spouse, coworkers, or friends. No one wants to hang around crabby, negative people, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for the person suffering depression.
“I am not worthy of love,” turns into no one wanting to be around them.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression vary from emotional, mental and even physical manifestations. Here are a few symptoms of depression:
- Feeling hopeless or irritable,
- Feeling helpless, worthless or guilty,
- Loss of energy,
- Loss of appetite or overeating,
- Lose interest in things you love,
- Trouble concentrating,
- Change in sleep patterns,
- Bodily aches and pains,
- Fatigue or exhaustion,
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts,
How to Cope with Depression
Reach Out, Stay Connected!
Who is your support group?
A support circle usually includes close family, friends, and significant other. This is a place where you can talk about issues and concerns that you are trying to address. These are some of the most important people in life, so the first step for someone suffering from depression is to not cut themselves away from them.
If family and friends are nowhere to be found, there are plenty of support groups which can help you cope and can offer advice and a shoulder if needed.
Push Yourself To Do Things You Enjoy
Where a depressed person may have no motivation, they can choose to push themselves to do things they once loved. Will they enjoy it? Maybe, maybe not, but the act of getting out there and engaging in something can help a depressed individual.
Choose to Engage in a Healthy Lifestyle
Someone suffering from depression, again, may have no motivation, but they can choose to push themselves to sleep a full 8 hours, exercise, eat healthily and so on. Does it seem like a lot of work? Yes. Especially exercise is a great way to fight depression as endorphins are released from the brain into the nervous system while moving around or building muscle.
Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation and/or emotional journaling can help soothe the stress they are experiencing.
Stick with it!
For someone suffering from depression, it is incredibly easy to give up. Maybe they start making small changes, and after a couple weeks they go back into a hole again. Whatever they do, it is important they stick with it. It takes time to rewire those neural connections – as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Challenge Negative Thinking
Examining a thought without making it who you are can be difficult. Byron Katie’s “The Work” has helped many people turn negative thoughts around and has helped many people subscribe to positive thinking patterns.
TALK WITH A DOCTOR!
This is so incredibly crucial – having a person suffering from depression talk to a doctor in order to see if there is some kind of program available to aid in recovery. Whether that may mean taking medication or seeing a therapist, listen to your doctor!
If You or Someone You Know is Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts…
Someone cares! In fact, people have cared enough to start whole organizations based on saving lives. There are always hotlines, suicide prevention lines, and therapists/school teachers/counselors/parents/friends that are always ready to listen. Having depression is incredibly debilitating, but there is always a way out.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please note the numbers below. Help is a phone call away!
1-800-784-2433 National Hopeline Network
1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-448-4663 National Youth Crisis Hotline
1-800-662-4357 SAMHSA Substance abuse and Mental Health Services