Dealing with Depression – Stop being tortured by your mind

depression

We all go through difficult periods in our lives, when everyday life feels like it’s just too much to bear. Feeling down or blue is a natural part of life, but when feeling down stretches over a long period of time, occurring frequently and interfering with your ability to interact with people and enjoy your life, it is likely that you’re experiencing some form of depression.

Depression can be triggered by life events such as bereavement or losing your job, but there doesn’t always have to be a specific reason as to why someone is depressed. Clinical depression is a mood disorder, a devastating illness, it drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better and in severe cases, even the will to live. Depression can creep up on you without you noticing but from there it can spiral pretty fast.

However, with the right help and support it is possible to get through it. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day. It also takes a certain amount of knowledge about oneself and the things that are best avoided when pursuing recovery. Below are some pointers, one should keep in mind while dealing with depression.

Avoiding friends and family

Depression can cause us to feel like an inconvenience to others, leading you to become feeling isolated and finding it difficult to talk to others. That’s exactly the wrong thing to do, as research has shown that contact with supportive friends and family members can dramatically cut the risk of depression. Having a stable friend, who you can rely on and go to in times of crisis, who you keep talking to regularly may be helpful with monitoring your state of mind, perhaps they can notice things soon enough and encourage you to take action in the right direction.

Being a couch potato

When you’re feeling down, it’s tempting to spend long hours each day online or watching television lying in your bed or on the couch, instead of engaging in physical activity. One can’t find the solution to either anxiety or depression by staying isolated at home. Exercise, even moderate activity like brisk walking, or other aerobic activity at least three times a week have been shown to be effective against depression as antidepressant medication. It works by boosting the activity of the ‘feel-good’ neurochemicals dopamine and serotonin.

Not eating ‘Brain Food’

Depressed brain is an inflamed brain and what we eat largely determines our level of inflammation. Sugar and simple carbs are highly inflammatory, they are best consumed sparingly, if at all. Omega-3 fats are key building blocks of brain tissue, unfortunately most of us don’t consume nearly enough Omega-3s, and a deficiency leaves the brain vulnerable to depression. Omega-3s are found in wild game, cold-water fish and other seafood, but the most convenient source is a fish oil supplement. Colorful fruits and veggies are chockablock with natural antioxidants. Eating them can protect the body’s omega-3s, providing yet another nice antidepressant boost.

Avoiding sunlight, not getting enough vitamin D

Sunlight exposure is a natural mood booster. It triggers the brain’s production of serotonin, decreasing anxiety and giving a sense of well-being. Sunlight also helps reset the body clock each day, keeping sleep and other biological rhythms in sync. Most people know vitamin D is needed to build strong bones, but it’s also essential for brain health.

Poor sleeping habits

Chronic sleep deprivation is a major trigger of clinical depression. But we can still do some things to get better and regular sleep. Use your bed as a designated place to just sleep, not for watching TV, reading, or using a laptop. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants after midday. Have a set bedtime, know what works for you. It takes some time to change sleeping habits, be kind to yourself and be patient.

Ruminating over

When we are depressed or anxious, we are prone to negative thoughts. Such cogitation on negative thoughts is a major trigger for depression – and taking steps to avoid cogitation has proven to be highly effective against depression. Redirect attention away from your thoughts and toward interaction with others, or shift your focus to an absorbing activity. Alternatively, spend 10 minutes writing down the troubling thoughts, as a prelude to walk away from them.

Running with the wrong crowd

Scientists have discovered that moods are highly contagious; we catch them from the people around us, the result of specialized mirror neurons in the brain. If you are feeling blue, spending time with upbeat, optimistic people might help you light up your brain’s positive emotion circuits.

Neglecting yourself

Skipping meals, forgetting to brush the teeth or floss, not taking a shower are natural tendencies when a person is depressed. Nothing can perpetuate depression more than stopping personal care in this way.

Not having a plan and structure to your life

One of the biggest mistakes to make while depressed is not having a plan and structure to your life. Knowing the things that are on your to do list eases anxiety and frustration and save a little bit of your willpower.

Hesitating making small decisions.

Depression turns decision making into a painful torture. Since decisions making is such a big part of our lives, we can become completely paralyzed and overwhelmed by all the small decisions that we have to make every hour of our day. And when we do commit to a decision, we may start to analyze it and think that it was a mistake which makes it harder for deciding the next time. Although it’s helpful to make the small everyday decisions fast, don’t make any big life decisions while depressed.

 

Overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, you can’t just snap out of depression. Depression feels like a constant battle and it’s exhausting, no matter how hard you try to fight back, it overpowers you and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s also natural to lose interest in things that you once enjoyed which makes finding motivation challenging.

Not every day is a good day. You may feel like hell and some you may feel like nothing could be worse. Keep your head up, because someday you will have your day. It could be tomorrow or the next day, but that day will come, and it will be the best day of your life, just you wait. – Ash Sweeney

Depression is not something anyone should battle alone; support and positive encouragement are vital to the recovery. For friends and family it can be hard to watch someone you love suffer from depression, and it can be difficult to understand how to help and what to do, but standing by someone and showing them unconditional love and care is one of the best things one can ever do. Having a good doctor and support network around you, even severe depression is a highly treatable condition. A little support can go a long way towards helping to cope.

 

Image Credit: citychurch

 

Kakoli Mahanta

Kakoli Mahanta

A post graduate in Economics, Kakoli Partha Mahanta worked for corporate finance sector for about 7 years. Mother of a cute 2 year baby girl, Kakoli is currently located in Bangalore, India, flourishing her writing skill.