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Defying Depression

Updated on July 8, 2015
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Do You Suffer From Depression?

This page is not about down days, bouts of sadness caused by external events, or general unhappiness. This is about clinical depression. It can feel like a death sentence, but it is possible to find happiness even if you are diagnosed with chronic depression. It might not feel possible now, but with the right tools, happiness can be an attainable goal. Trust me, I've lived this for over 30 years.

An estimated 16 million American adults—almost 7% of the population—had at least 1 major depressive episode last year. - See more at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression#sthash.no2SeEQg.dpuf

Untreated depression is very serious. Friends and family can attest to the fact that it's not only the depressed person that suffers consequences. If you are the one depressed, then it isn't always easy to take the first step alone. Find someone to confide in that can help you through the process.

Symptoms of Depression

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Changes in Sleep Patterns:

  • Not able to get to sleep - mind racing.
  • Not able to stay asleep - waking in the middle of the night.
  • Sleeping too much.

Changes in Eating Patterns:

  • Eating for comfort. Binge Eating.
  • Not able to eat. No appetite.

Fatigue, Loss of Energy


Loss of Control Over Some Emotions

  • Crying easily and more often
  • Angry, frustrated with little things

Lack of Interest and Lack of Concentration

  • Loss of interest for things that you previously enjoyed
  • Unable to concentrate at work or in school

Thoughts of Hopelessness and Feeling Like a Failure

  • Feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, and suicidal thinking.

Get a Diagnosis

There are varying types of depression, and causes for depressions. It's best to get a professional diagnosis so you can receive the appropriate treatment. There are some types of depression that aren't chronic, such as postpartum depression, acute depression due to life circumstances and/or recent trauma, and medication issues. These are treated differently than chronic depression.

Once you have a diagnosis, you can examine the various treatment options. Most medical doctors will want to prescribe medication to ease the symptoms, and will refer you to a professional counselor. Not everyone chooses or benefits from medication. Do your research and keep an open mind. The choice is ultimately yours. There are also alternative medications and treatments available. As hard as it seems to find motivation at this point, following the doctors orders can speed recovery time.

If it's your first time experiencing a clinical depression, it can be very overwhelming. Confiding in a close friend and allowing them to check in on you can make the process a little easier. If it becomes chronic depression, you will need to continue to keep updated with your doctors to be sure you are getting the proper care as your life changes.


Finding Happiness After the Diagnosis

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Whether you choose medication, talk therapy, or alternative treatments, you may find you cycle in and out of depression many times during your life. It could be seasonal, in which case you know the short days of winter will be a challenge each year, or you might have no warning at all. Each time it hits, the lows can make us think we will never feel good again. Each time you make it past those dark times, you learn that you still can experience happiness.

Accepting the diagnosis and learning what works for you can be key to maintaining your positive outlook on life. Just because you have been diagnosed with depression does not mean you can't be positive and happy. It does mean you will have to work at it when your condition makes life more difficult.

Think of yourself like an athlete, but the muscle you need to condition is your brain. When it starts misfiring, you have to take action to get it back in shape. Each person is different, but here are a few suggestions to help you get past the chemicals in your brain.


Tell Me How!

  • Get up and force yourself to shower and put on clothes that make you feel good. It doesn't have to be expensive. I love my wolf T-shirt, or my pretty white shorts in the summer. I also surprise myself when I put myself together with makeup and earrings. Feeling good about ourselves is a great place to start.
  • Eat something yummy! Healthy is better, but if you must have sugar, make it special. What's your favorite food? The more the taste buds react, the better. Hot peppers are known to trigger good chemicals in your brain.
  • Coffee anyone? I love coffee, so this helps in many ways. I love the taste, and the caffeine gives me a slight boost in the morning when I'm struggling for energy. Drinking it all day defeats the purpose, because it can deplete essential B vitamins and other nutrients and leave you fatigued. Everything in balance.
  • Get outside. Go to a coffee shop, a friend's house, or for a walk. One of my most recent lessons in my journey is that staying inside for two days in a row is bad for me. I have too much time to let the negative thoughts linger. Going out helps us to remember there is more to life than the isolated world we see in our homes. Go places that provide positive energy.
  • Exercise, if you can. It could be a walk, a run, or a hard workout, depending on your fitness level. Endorphins are triggered by exercise, and we feel better about ourselves too.
  • Is the day too much to face to do any of the above?
    Look up positive music on YouTube, or play your favorite music at home.
  • Pick one thing that you've been putting off, and do it. Maybe just a quick phone call to schedule or cancel something. Or pay one bill you've let go too long. Depression makes it hard to stay organized, but accomplishing one thing can give you the boost to turn things around.
  • Journal. Writing is known to help. When you express your feelings, even on paper, it helps you to organize your thoughts and get a different perspective. Write down triggers, like rainy days, and write down tools that work for you.

What are some of the tools you use when you battle with depression? Please leave a comment below and help keep the discussion going.


Have You Ever Been Depressed?

Have you been diagnosed with Depression?

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Remember, It Does Get Better

Life is always changing. That doesn't always sound appealing, but it means that the bad times we're experiencing will change. I've been on this Earth over half a century. Ugh, sounds long, but guess what? Even times I could see no way out, things have changed for the better. I am so happy I didn't miss the joy that followed. Don't miss out on future happiness by giving up now. You can do it. I promise. {{{HUGS}}}

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

— Dalai Lama

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • ExpressionsForLif profile imageAUTHOR

    Lorena Wood 

    3 years ago

    It helps to speak with others who have experienced it themselves. I've been reading some of your hubs. They are very helpful. Keep in touch!

  • denise.w.anderson profile image

    Denise W Anderson 

    3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

    Depression is tough! I have been in and out of it many times, and just as many times in and out of treatment. It wasn't until I discovered my own system for keeping my thoughts in order that I was able to stay away from it. Now, I help others.

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