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Not all those that are sad are depressed, but all those suffering depression are sad.
Disclaimer: This article talks about megrims and blues from everyday life. There are deeper levels of clinical depression that go beyond the scope of this article and are meant to be handled by a professional counselor.
“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad.” ― J.K. Rowling
In recent years, depression has become a heart-wrenching epidemic, with little signs of getting better. Millions of people across the world struggle with depression on a regular basis. It resonates with bystanders just the same. There is no single reason for it, and it does not seem to discriminate in age, gender, or race. It is a pervasive feeling, manifested in symptoms such as chronic apathy, sleep disorders, unfounded bereavement, suicidal thoughts, irritability, anxiety, and decreased will to live.
We all have heard about depression in one way or another. Almost everyone goes through a distinct period of sorrow at one point in their lives. Sadness is a normal response to a loss or non-preferred change of circumstances. Most people curb their sadness within a reasonable amount of time, but for some, their low spirits far outstrips their well-being. Those who have suffered depression depict it as an aggregate that forgathers into a physical, mental, and emotional whole. Countless people with depression do not seek help on the count of the stigma that comes with the diagnoses.
A depressed mind falls trapped in a continuous loop of negative thinking that breeds hopelessness and despair. A common cause for depression always seems to be an emotional hole – like having to re-evaluate who you are as a person. Downtime is the worst for a depression stricken individual. Staying busy usually is an effective way to counteract depression. Some counselors recommend to practice mindfulness to break from mulling over everything that is wrong. Nevertheless, a large number of people who have slipped into the murky waters of depression tend to exit this pattern by attempting against their own life, even committing suicide.
While depression is not a part of the normal aging process, it is said to affect the lives of a good number of seniors age 65 and older. A long list of biological, social and psychological factors make women twice as likely as men to become depressed, and more prone to rumination. For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Other people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without knowing why. Children and teens may show depression by being irritable or cranky rather than sad.
When depression occurs accompanied by any substance abuse, it is referred to as a “dual diagnosis.” The main danger of this situation lays in the fact that when both diagnoses are untreated, each condition becomes mutually worsening.
Pessimism is usually accredited as the driver for people's lives to take on a darker shade, becoming socially withdrawn and even struggling to function. Rather than thinking of depression as simply a disease, we can think of it as a state of mind that originally may have had some evolutionary advantage. There are two kinds of depression. One is known as biochemical depression, caused by a neurochemical imbalance in the brain (this can be treated with medication). The other kind is environmental depression, caused by one's responses to external factors in one's environment (medication won't help this kind). In cases other than those caused by a chemical imbalance, depression very often educes from constant thoughts of worthlessness, feeling that one can't fulfill one's most deep-seated needs. Things that were once enjoyable become a chore.
Some myths about depression include:
- Depression will sink and drown you forever (uncover the core of the issue in order to resolve it and push off the weight of depression).
- Open struggles are the only symptoms of depression (many people silently battle this devastating stronghold).
- Only vulnerable people suffer from depression (there's no shame in admitting one's suffering).
- Medication is the only answer to depression (there's no quick fix for a depressed individual).
- Depression is incurable (a true cure would be to resolve the problems that cause depression in the first place).
- Getting help or going to therapy is overrated (this claim is often made by those who just don’t want to go through it).
- Depression will heal in time (the more time it passes the greater the chance of depression to worsen).
Recognizing that you are depressed is the first step to finding suitable solutions to meliorate this condition, however, there gets to a point where seeking help is needed to avoid being dragged under. A trusted friend or counselor might help uncover causes and deal with them. Thoughts and feelings can be controlled much more than most people realize. With enough work and effort, you can change habitual thoughts and feelings. Talking is a powerful way of combating your depression. If you feel bad, don't let anyone tell you it's no big deal or that you'll just get over it. There is nothing shameful about recognizing you have a problem you alone cannot seem to resolve.
Although you need to be careful not to dwell in your depression, you do need quiet times to cope and think about why you are depressed and what the root causes could be. Only by dealing with the source can you throw it off completely. Meditation, prayer, contemplation and so on can help you to quiet your mind and think past the distractions of life. You can change the state of your physical brain by working on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Important skills to overcome depression – or to enhance life in general – include mindfulness, breathing, relaxation, imagination, and developing a compassionate mind. All of these are skills that can be learned.
Multitudinous specialists and therapists will agree that depression, fear, and anxiety, usually hold hands while embracing misery. Depression prevents us from getting past the fact that we are hurting so bad, but this is temporary. Getting drawn into a pattern of negative thinking can be likened to building a prison in your own mind: it holds you captive. A solution can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Helping someone through a hard time just takes one person listening and providing hope. It takes an army to battle life-or-death problems, oftentimes an army of one to beat depression.
What can you do to overcome depression? It depends on why you are depressed.
Whether depression is in for a reason or a season, here are some recommendations worth pursuing.
1. Be aware: recognize that something is different, understand your situation and learn to live with it.
2. Keep feelings and thoughts in check: process, analyze and address some of the feelings before they grow stronger.
3. Decompress: release the burden of internal conflict, disclose your feelings of utter despair, along with the possible reasons of your mental, emotional and physical distress.
4. Seek support: engage with others, release additional and unnecessary stress related to wondering about others’ considerations about your depression.
5. Deal with challenges: life is about cumulative moments, which won’t always be great.
6. Find purpose: steer the course, don't derail your life's potential due to momentary struggles.
7. Cleanse negative emotions: rid of emotional clutter, stop holding on to things that can't be changed, practice self-control and move on.
Feeling embarrassed or self-hating over your depression will only increase your symptoms and discourage you from seeking help. Critical thoughts toward yourself will try to keep you down any way they can. Have compassion for yourself during those difficult times. Take your mental health seriously. Reflect on the fact that depression is a very common and highly treatable, temporary condition. It is just a matter of finding the treatment that works for you.
Though easier said than done, the times you feel most like slumping on the couch are the moments you should force yourself to take a walk, cook a meal, or call a friend. Coping strategies that have worked for you in the past are a great place to start. Activities that help you calm down and that raise your spirits are important, even simple things like baking cookies, taking a bath, or listening to upbeat music. Act against the critical inner voice that tells you nothing will help. Remember, its only purpose is to keep you from feeling better.
Mehmet Oz, MD-- host of The Dr. Oz Show-- suggests three tips to overcoming depression: exercise, guided imagery, and fix your diet.
The Center for Applied Research In Mental Health & Addiction - CARMHA - offers a guide for teens with accurate information about depression. Dealing With Depression is not a psychological or medical treatment, and is not a replacement for treatment where this is needed.
Alex Shalman shares 10 Simple Ways To Overcome Depression and Sadness in this acclaimed blog post.
Licensed Psychologist, Guy Winch, posted a TED Talk about How to beat loneliness, and mentions the ripple effect of distorted perceptions.
The Center For Conscious Living has this opinion about Overcoming Depression.
Linda Wasmer Andrews mentions Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as one of the best established treatments for depression, in her article Overthinking? It Could Be Depressing You.
Overcoming Depression: A Self-Help Guide using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques, by Paul Gilbert, 2009.
Maria Shevtsova contributed 12 Interesting Ways to ovoercome depression in this post.