“I’m not really depressed, Or am I just sad?”
Our mental health can sometimes feel like a complex maze we are weaving in and out of. It is normal to feel sad, lonely and yes, even, depressed at times. It’s a human condition, everybody does. Feeling depressed can be a reaction to personal or professional loss, bruised self-ego, bad week at work or just general life struggles.
However, when this feeling doesn’t go away and develops deep physical and emotional symptoms and starts affecting your normal life, you’re suffering from depression. And that’s exactly the prime time to seek help.
If depression is not treated, it may worsen and can cause unimaginable suffering that will impact your daily life, relationships and much more. Being conscious of the symptoms of depression often is half the battle. And sadly, more than half the people battling depression never get the proper diagnosis and treatment that they need.
How Do I Know I’m Suffering From Depression?
There’re quite a few signs and symptoms of depression, but we’re going to list a few ones that are really hard to miss below:
Negative Outlook In Life
“It was a lot all at once. Everything did seem like it was falling apart. The anxiety proved too much I stopped eating, lost 15 pounds, and felt tired frequently. I knew I had some personal things I had to be conscious of, but I didn’t realize the extent of my problems.” Jessica C.
Depression affects most people differently and feeling helplessness and having a gleam outlook in life is a common symptom of major depression.
Feelings of Shame or worthlessness
“I was surprised with the diagnosis. I called my mom after the first appointment because I had this feeling of shame. I remember asking her, ‘What if this medication makes me become a new person?’ She reminded me there was no shame in this diagnosis.” Jessica C.
Feelings of Undeserved Guilt
“I lost my dad to suicide when I was 19 years old. It was a tragedy for our whole family, and we all dealt with it in much different ways. But I’ve come to realize a lot of the things that happened to me happened because of the way I lost my dad.” Kathryn G.
According to research, depression can affect both sexes differently. For example, men with major depression tend to be easily irritable, suffer from substance abuse, and prone to risky behaviors.
Anxiety And Restlessness
“If you have been feeling down and just can seem to shake it, the things that have made you happy are not of interest anymore or they’re not having the same effect, then it’s not just sadness” Dr. Jephtha Tausig.
Lost of Interest And Excessive Sleeping
“I started feeling more adverse to going to work. Started to call in sick more, and thought I was just going through a nesting phase after being married.” Maigen Thomas
Reason you might lost interest in what you enjoy doing before is because you suddenly start feeling tired. Major depression is always accompanied with lack of energy. Withdrawal from activities you once love, like; sex, hanging out with close friends can be another sign of major depression.
Loss/Gain In Appetite And Weight
This can differ for people with depression. For some their appetite will increase and so will their weight. While others won’t get hungry at all which will prompt a significant weight loss.
“My emotion was all over the place. And it affected those that are closest to me and ended a lot good relationships because they don’t know how to handle it” Davina – Suffering from Major Depression
Two words; Mood Swings. You’re laughing and having a great time one minute and you’re sad the next. Without any reason at all. Yes, you’re definitely depressed.
According to research, 1 out of every 10 people with major depression ends in suicide. In 2013, more 42,000 people died from suicide in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Coping With Depression
Depression is not fun. It drains your energy, drive and life. It would be easier to tell you to snap out of if but it’s not something you “just snap out of”. It is more complicated than that. But, you need to realize that you have more control than you know. You’re stronger than you think. You can’t just wake up one morning and start feeling better. It takes time and work and you can get there by following the steps below, one day at a time…
Resume Doing thing You Used to Enjoy Doing
Granted, forcing yourself to have fun doesn’t always work, at least not for long. But you can give yourself a little push to try things even when your whole body is screaming NO. The depression might not disappear immediately but you might start feeling much better than you thought you would.
Go out for coffee with friends
Take a scroll
Go to see a new movie with a friend
Listen to good music and try drawing
Take a long, hot, soapy bath
Read a good book (Romance, fiction, non-fiction, erotic, historical – or whatever you’re into)
Watch a funny movie or tv show (there’re many variety to choose from)
Reach out to a friend or family member
Exercise, exercise, exercise
It is a proven fact that a mere 10-minute walk can improve your immune system for at least two hours. Research show that regular exercise can be as effective as meditation for relieving depression symptoms. When you’re suffering from depression, the last thing you want to do is exercise but it’s been proven that exercise is your best ally in this fight against depression. You don’t have to run 20 miles or anything like that, simply taking a walk through the park will get the job done.
Get Some Sunlight
Depression and sunlight don’t get along. And by default, that should make sunlight your new medication. Sunlight help boost serotonin levels and elevate your mood. This can be tricky when based in Seattle. The 150 rain days and 225 cloudy days per year make it tough to get out there are battle your depression with sunlight. However being outside even if it is a bit cloudy can help improve your mental health. Here are a few tips:
Always find an excuse to exercise more outside
Open the blinds and drapes in your home and try sitting near the window more often
Go have some beer or cocktail at Elysian Bar, Seattle
Take a walk on your lunch break
Invest in a light therapy box
Depression is a tough disease. It’s even tougher when you don’t know how to cope with it, but as you can see it’s not ‘one size fits all’. It takes on many different shapes and forms and can impact lives differently. Because it’s not the same for everyone, it is important to remember that reaching out for help and making an effort to work through depression is key. Often times mental health issues aren’t spoken about in our society and they get brushed under the rug, but the more we talk about it and ask for help the better off our lives will be.