Depression and I go way back; it started in early childhood. Before I was diagnosed Bipolar, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. Depression is hard to explain to someone who has never had it, but I think everyone has it from time to time, may be in varying degrees, but we’ve all dealt with it on some level. Depression can be triggered by a life-event, whether positive or negative. For instance, my mother’s death caused a breakdown; but, my wedding also caused a depression after it was over because it was so life-altering. A major move, loss of a job, diagnosis of a major illness, etc., all can potentially lead to depression. Depression can also have no trigger, it just happens.
So, what does depression feel like? Well, it depends on the person, and varies, but there are some basic symptoms. Symptoms can include an effect on sleeping, whether too much or not enough; also, a similar effect on appetite. An overall feeling of loss of interest; crying for no apparent reason; difficulty concentrating and making decisions are all symptoms as well. It also distorts reality, making you feel that no one cares about you and that you are unworthy of being alive and have no purpose in this world. There’s more but those are the basics. So, what do you do when you have depression? Since I am always trying to answer that question myself I can’t give you a solid action plan, but I do have a few suggestions.
- Seek professional help, starting with a therapist. The therapist may recommend a psychiatrist who will undoubtedly put you on psychiatric medications and that is a personal choice. I am on meds and it is something I have had to come to terms with over the years, but I have never been more stable; however, it took a number of years to get me on the right ones at the right doses for them to be effective.
- Now this suggestion is not going to be easy. Trust me, the last thing I want to do is ANYTHING when I am depressed; but, exercise helps release endorphins and helps alleviate symptoms. Plus, you will feel better physically which may lead to feeling better psychologically.
- Have a pet, but one you can truly take care of properly. Don’t have one and then neglect it. Having my pets have always given me comfort; essentially, I was never alone, I always had someone to take care of, who depended on me, so even on the worse of days I still managed to get out of bed to take care of my pets.
- Surround yourself with things that remind you of happy times. Pictures, trinkets, whatever it is that promotes the feeling that there are good things in this life are really imperative to help with depression.
- Do your best to remember that the depression is temporary. Even if it’s been going on for a while, it is still temporary. You will feel better. It may not happen right away, but you will feel better. Depression is not a permanent state of being, it may be something you battle all of your life, like I will, it still is not a 24/7 thing.
- Lastly, find your spirituality. If it’s God, then seek Him. If it’s being a Buddhist, then seek that out. Just get in touch with the idea that there is something bigger than you in this universe and that even something as simple as meditation may help you feel more grounded.
Like I said, I have no fast and easy answers on depression. It is insidious and very difficult to overcome. But you can overcome it, and maybe just knowing that will help you. I know personally, God has been instrumental in helping me come to terms with my depressive episodes because through Him I was given the medications that helped stabilize me and then my relationship with Him, knowing that He loves me and knows what I am going through is a comfort to me. All I can say is that depression is a state of mind and you need to do your best to overcome that state of mind to get back to reality. People love you and you are worthy of feeling happiness and peace. If you want to contact me to talk about it, just fill out the contact form and I will listen, because sometimes all you want is someone to listen and understand.
Blessings to you all,