23

Aug

Don't Let Depression Get The Best of YOU

sadness

What is depression? 

Depression is a mood disorder that causes someone to have a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in the things they enjoy. Many relate depression as living in the past, instead of living for the present moment. It has an effect on how you think, feel, and act, and leads to many mental and physical problems. Depression can cause you to have a difficult time performing your day-to-day activities and may cause you to feel that life isn’t worth living.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.” Depression rates have since tripled in the United States, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Causes and Signs of Depression

There is no exact cause for depression but there are a variety of factors that are linked to it. Factors such as traumatic or stressful events, blood relatives with a history of depression, history of other mental health disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, serious or chronic illness, and certain medications have been linked to depression.

While someone may only experience depression once in their life, they may have multiple episodes, with symptoms that occur throughout the day, almost every day. These symptoms may be severe enough that it creates noticeable problems in job, school, social life, and relationship with others.


Symptoms of depression include:
  • Feeling sad, tearful, empty, and hopeless
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
  • Feeling tired and having a lack of energy
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking or concentrating
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts

What You Can Do TO Manage Depression

 You can’t prevent depression but there are strategies you can try to help manage depression.

- Talk with family and friends. Tell them how you are feeling and what you are going through. The goal is not for them to fix you, but to listen attentively and compassionately without judging you.

- Seek treatment when you start to notice something wrong. Make an appointment to speak with your doctor to discuss any symptoms you may be having. You can also schedule an appointment to speak to a counselor or therapist to discuss how you are feeling and what you are going through.

- Make your physical health a priority. Studies prove that exercise helps manage depression. Try and get at least 30 minutes of physical activity today, whether it is going for a walk, a jog, or anything activity you enjoy doing. Prior to exercising, ask yourself what am I capable of doing and what do I like to do, such as what activities or exercises can you do and enjoy doing like walking, jogging, playing with your kids, or riding a bike. Then ask yourself, when can I do it, and most importantly what is your why for exercising?

- Eat right. Depression can impact what you eat. It is important to make sure you are nourishing your body properly by eating right. Avoid eating processed foods and sugars. Try and eat organic and locally grown foods. Eat foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds to help increase your dopamine levels. Dopamine aids in helping you feel good. Other foods to include in your diet to help manage your depression is eggs, whole grains, fish, and plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables.  

- Sleep better. Depression has been found to disrupt your sleep. Getting better sleep can aid in helping your depression. When it comes to getting better sleep, reduce the use of electronics before bed, and go to bed and get up around the same time every day. Make time to go outside each day. The sun contains Vitamin D, which helps better your mood and helps recalibrate your circadian rhythm. Light influences your sleep-wake cycle. When you reduce your exposure to light at night, your body is able to releases melatonin and helps you fall asleep.

- Write down the recurring thoughts you are having, especially the negative ones. This will allow you to become more aware of your thoughts. Read through the thoughts you wrote down and think about how realistic they are. Try and focus on the thoughts you can control and avoid thinking about the ones you can not control.

- Manage your stress. Stress can worsen and prolong your depression as well as trigger it. You can manage your stress by exercising, practicing deep breathing techniques, or practicing meditation.

Conclusion

If you think you may have depression do not be afraid to ask for help. You can start by taking a depression screening test. Then make an appointment to see your doctor and share your results with them.

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