There are the blues. The downfalls. The times in life when you feel kind of crummy. Of course you don’t want to, but it is more so an accepted norm in everyone’s lives. We all get bummed out.
Yet when you experience “the blues” to an extreme when they will not go away, you may want to consider getting checked for depression.
In the past, this emotional illness was thought to be nothing more than “the blues” mentioned above. Today we know that this illness is very real, yet can be overcome.
So what exactly classifies someone as depressed? If more than four of the following symptoms occur for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing mild depression, which can lead to chronic depression.
The symptoms are Loss of energy; poor appetite, significant weight loss or increased appetite or significant weight gain; insomnia or excessive sleeping; loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, or decrease in the sexual drive; feeling of worthlessness, or excessive feelings of guilt; diminished ability to think or concentrate; indecisiveness; and recurrent thoughts of death, wishes to be dead or suicide attempts.
The best thing to do if you think you may be clinically depressed is to see a doctor. Sometimes a therapist may be better than a family doctor. They can usually get to the root of the problem in a more thorough way.
A lot of controversies have stemmed from the reports of family doctors “giving away antidepressants”. Medication is an option to be considered by your doctor, and it should be considered carefully. It is estimated that half of the people on antidepressant medications do not need them.
So how do you overcome depression? Popping a pill won’t do it, although medication is sometimes necessary. During my own bout with depression, I uncovered a few tips that can work for you.
- Meditate. Your depression may fall prey to its sister disorder, anxiety. Whether it does or not, taking the time to learn deep breathing and relaxation.
- Force yourself to go outside. Even if the weather isn’t good, getting outside to walk, read or write is always good. Even if you don’t feel like it. I found that I was more depressed when I didn’t do anything, even if I didn’t feel like it. Don’t push it, but do get out a bit, in whatever way you feel comfortable.
- Write. Get the feelings out. Holding everything in will do no good, and depression doesn’t “just go away”.
- Find support. If you do not feel that you need to seek therapy (but don’t rule it out!) then go online or buy some books to educate you on the illness. It is embarrassing, but once you find others who can relate, you’ll heal faster.
- Don’t watch the evening news. This one sounds sort of silly, but trust me here. Keep yourself around the positive.
With a little work on your part, depression can be healed or alleviated. If all else fails, please seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with it, and you’ll thank yourself in the long run. You deserve every bit of happiness there is.