This is Part 1 of my Depression Segment. See Part 1 (with link to Part 2) of my Eating Disorder Segment here: Eating Disorders
Depression – Part 1 – How to cope with Depression (Part 1)
Signs and Symptoms
Try to seek out which depression symptoms you have. This can help you to focus on where you need to improve or work on to overcome the depression.
– An inability to function normally in everyday life
– Lethargy, fatigue, and the feeling that doing things takes a lot of your energy
– Persistent sadness, including fits of crying either uncontrollably or being set off easily, feelings of anxiety or emptiness
– Feeling blue, sad, and generally down over a period of at least two weeks
– Feelings of worthlessness, self-blame and a lack of self esteem
– Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or experiencing insomnia
– Unusual weight gain or loss, overeating or appetite loss
– Finding thinking or concentrating difficult, “foggy” thinking, inability to make clear decisions or forgetfulness
– Pessimism, or feeling a sense that life is hopeless, pointless and futile This may even lead to a feeling of numbness
– Body pains, cramps, digestive problems, headaches, and other aches that don’t go away with medication or treatment
– Being irritable or restless a great deal of the time
– Suicidal thoughts, thoughts about dying, or attempts at suicide
Explore possible medical causes
Sometimes depression is a result or side effect of something medical. Common medical conditions that can trigger depression:
– Vitamin or mineral deficiencies, especially B vitamins are associated with depression. If you know your vitamin and mineral input isn’t optimal, speaking to a doctor about this is an important step
– Thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances (includes pre-menstrual) or disease
– Medication. Depression is a common side effect of some medication.
– Drug or alcohol addictions
– Genetic links to depression
– Co-existing illnesses. Depression often accompanies anxiety disorders (for example, post-traumatic distress disorder, OCD, social phobia, etc.), alcohol and substance abuse. These diseases may precede, cause or be a consequence of depression.
– Medical Conditions for only women includes post-partum depression, premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphonic disorder
Many doctors will prescribe medication but there are still alternatives if you prefer to go down a more natural route or if there are reasons (age, medical etc) why you are not able to be prescribed antidepressants or other medication.
Learn what you can about depression. A wider understanding helps to allay some fears and worries. It also gives you tools to use yourself.
– Visit a library and borrow books about depression and happiness. Psychology, self-help, therapy, and medical sections will be helpful. Try looking for books specifically written for teenagers as certain things can sometimes differ between children, teenagers and adults. You can also look online for websites or book sites.
– Use your deeper knowledge to educate others around you as to what you’re going through. It can help to fend off awkward or unsympathetic comments if you’ve got the bigger picture and facts about depression.
Keep a Journal
Document your feelings somewhere personal and completely private. This will be the place where you let out your darkest thoughts, no holds barred, because you don’t need to worry that anyone will judge you for them. A diary can become your collaborator in the struggle against your depression because it eventually provides you with great evidence of what improves your mood as well as what brings it down. Try to write in it daily – because this can also help you to monitor how your emotions change and how they change depending on things that happen.
Sleep is essential to a healthy, balanced body. Lack of sleep can aggravate negative thinking and easily becomes a vicious cycle whereby your negative thoughts keep you awake and disable your ability to get enough sleep. Waking un-refreshed and feeling tired is a commonplace complaint during depression, and even too much sleep can leave depressed persons feeling tired. Breaking this cycle requires enforcing a strict sleep routine of the same bedtime and waking time every day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, not exercising three hours prior to bed, removing anything distracting from your bedroom and keeping your room at a suitable temperature, etc. It won’t be easy breaking a disturbed sleep cycle and many things can restore the insomnia or wakeful nights, so it’s important to be vigilant about keeping to a routine, as well as very forgiving of yourself when you can’t sleep.
As I didn’t want these to be too long, I decided to split Part 1 into 2 parts (confusingly, this is Part 1 or Part 1!). So Part 2 of this (Part 1) will be published on Thursday. I hope you enjoyed this anyway!