Information courtesy of www.depression.org
Anyone who has ever battled the big “D” will easily relate with the title.
The big “D”, that is Depression, seems to be growing at a phenomenal, scary rate over the past few years. There used to be a time when it was considered ‘mental illness’ and there was embarrassment, humiliation, and hopelessness connected with it.
For anyone who is facing treatment, congratulate yourself on the awareness and the fact that you love yourself enough to want to feel good! Once that first step is reached, it is hoped for best results.
For anyone who has been through it, only you can understand and be there for others dealing with it. Depression is paralyzing. It stops people in their tracks, life seems bleak, black, hopeless, and although they keep moving forward physically, they are barely living emotionally. It is difficult to focus on the positive, there is tendency to shut out loved ones, lose appetite, sleep poorly, neglect the basic self-care needs, cry uncontrollably, act irrationally, lose oneself emotionally, physically, spiritually, and of course mentally.
There are different types of depression, as well as different stages. Winter seems to be the worse time of year for people who suffer seasonal depression. Everyone experiences down swings in their moods but when these feelings are severe and last for extended periods of time, it becomes a clinical illness but very treatable.
Depression is an illness, no less real than diabetes or heart disease, they are not signs of personal flaw, it is not something you can just snap out of, it is not something to be ashamed of, it is treatable and everyone has a right to live in a healthy state of mind. The sooner the awareness, the diagnosis and the treatment, the better the chances are of not going Beyond the Blues!
Often people with depression also find they worry about things more than usual. This is known as anxiety. It can cause physical symptoms like pain, a pounding heart or stomach cramps and for some people these physical symptoms are their main concern. Anxiety may be constant, or it may come and go in certain circumstances. Either way it’s important to recognise anxiety when it occurs, and to seek help.
Ways to get through can include self-help therapies, treatment with your doctor and talking therapies.
Self-help techniques are great for looking after your mental health. The best thing is that you are in control and can try different strategies at your own pace.
A good way to make self-help more effective is to get someone to do the activities with you. For example find a buddy to exercise with, or talk about a diet change with your partner. They don’t need to know why you are making the changes (let’s face it, they are good for all of us), but if you’re comfortable with letting them know what you are feeling, this can help too.
Some basic lifestyle changes you can make that will help clear your head and free your mind include:
The way you respond to events or problems in your life has a big impact on the way you feel. Learning a technique called Structured Problem Solving (SPS) can help you identify and deal with issues more effectively. Learn the SPS technique
The way you think about and approach life plays a big role in keeping healthy. People experiencing depression often get caught up in a whole lot of negative thinking patterns. The good news is that it’s possible, with some practice, to learn more positive ways of thinking about things. This is a great step to take once you’ve tackled the first two strategies.
Learn how to change your thinking
For more help and tips visit www.depression.org.nz