I try to cover a wide range of topics on my blog, but depression is one thing that has been very familiar to me so I figured I would share. Not only does it run in my family, but as a cancer sign AND as someone diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder, depression is practically a part of my everyday life struggle (when I’m not really, really, excited and hyper.) I posted this in case anyone else has “down days” more often than not and wanted to seek help. Depression isn’t anything to be ashamed of! It isn’t your fault that you may have a chemical imbalance that blocks the “happy chemicals” from reaching your brain! But understand that the people you surround yourself with will have to know how to deal with you and their understanding and support is of the utmost importance. It is important that they dont “blame you” for the way that you are or make you feel worse about it. Easier said than done, right? Meditation helps and loved ones can make all the difference!
DEPRESSION (via HELPGUIDE.org)
Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won’t go away, it may be depression. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. No matter how hopeless you feel, the first step to recovery is to understand the problem.
We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.
Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.
Signs and symptoms of depression
Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that’s when it’s time to seek help.
Common signs and symptoms of depression
• Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
• Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
• Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
• Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
• Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
• Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
• Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
• Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
• Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
• Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
Ask for help and support
If even the thought of tackling your depression seems overwhelming, don’t panic. Feeling helpless and hopeless is a symptom of depression—not the reality of your situation. It does not mean that you’re weak or you can’t change! The key to depression recovery is to start small and ask for help. Having a strong support system in place will speed your recovery. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to others, even when you feel like being alone. Let your family and friends know what you’re going through and how they can support you.
Make healthy lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes are not always easy to make, but they can have a big impact on depression. Lifestyle changes that can be very effective include:
• Cultivating supportive relationships
• Getting regular exercise and sleep
• Eating healthfully to naturally boost mood
• Managing stress
• Practicing relaxation techniques
• Challenging negative thought patterns
If you are feeling suicidal, SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP!