I Created A Mindfulness Moment
When I was very sick with depression and anxiety, mindfulness helped me create a space where I could both acknowledge the pain I was in and also find peace and stability in the present. I found it helpful to create a âmindfulness momentâ to repeat every day. The âmomentâ I created was walking my dog, Winston.
When I would put on his leash and start to walk him down the block, I focused intently on what I was experiencing: the chirping of the birds, the sunlight filtering through the trees, the temperature of the air. For 10 minutes, I was immersed in the present moment, and I found that the walk helped me reconnect with my inner strength. I felt a sense of peace by noticing the natural beauty around me.
Even today I continue to practice this âmindfulness moment.â In fact, I look forward to it every morning. I donât have to step outside of my routine to be mindful, instead I built it in.
How Can I Best Take Care Of Myself If I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder
Talk to your healthcare provider. By planning ahead, you can manage your symptoms and feel your best.
- Stick to your treatment plan: If you have medications or a lamp for SAD, use them as directed. Follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont see an improvement in your symptoms.
- Care for yourself: Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Try to manage stress, perhaps by talking to a counselor or therapist.
- Plan ahead: Make a plan for what youll do if your symptoms get worse. If you notice signs of depression, take action. It might help to plan a lot of activities during these months. Having a busy schedule keeps you from hunkering down at home.
- Start treatment early: Talk to your healthcare provider about preventive treatment. If you know your symptoms start in October, consider starting treatment in September.
- Isolate yourself: Being alone can make your symptoms worse. Even though you may not feel like going out or being social, try to reach out to friends and loved ones.
- Use alcohol or drugs: They might make symptoms worse, and they can interact negatively with antidepressants.
Prevalence Of Major Depressive Episode Among Adolescents
- Figure 2 shows the past year prevalence of major depressive episode among U.S. adolescents in 2020.
- An estimated 4.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 17.0% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17.
- The prevalence of major depressive episode was higher among adolescent females compared to males .
- The prevalence of major depressive episode was highest among adolescents reporting two or more races .
|2 or more Races||29.9|
*Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race all other racial/ethnic groups are non-Hispanic. Note: Estimates for Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander and American Indian / Alaskan Native groups are not reported in the above figure due to low precision of data collection in 2020.
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Develop A Support System
People with major depressive disorder often face social isolation for several reasons. They may feel like they arent worthy of having people who love them or they may be ashamed of their disorder.
Work through these feelings and develop a strong support system you can rely on. Maybe you join a support group so you can connect with other people who are also sharing similar challenges to your own.
Confide in a few close friends or family members and let them be there for you. That sense of vulnerability can be hard at first, but valuable as you work on how to deal with major depressive disorder.
If you have specific thoughts or feelings you arent comfortable sharing with anyone, consider writing them down. You can journal your feelings as a way to express and work through your emotions. Another mechanism some people find helpful is writing letters or emails to loved ones, but not necessarily sending them.
Recognize And Accept Depression
Learning more about depression might help people cope with it. Depression is a common and serious mental health issue. It is not a sign of weakness or personal deficiency.
Accepting that a depressed episode may occur from time to time may help people cope when one occurs. Remember that symptoms can be managed with therapies such as lifestyle modifications, medication, and therapy.
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Add More Structure To Your Day
Depression makes it easier to lose focus. This leads to a tendency to let days become free and unstructured. While this may sound appealing, its likely to make your depression worse. Make plans for each day and set appointments for yourself. You can schedule time for tasks like shopping, calling a friend, or cooking. Use sticky notes, a planner, or your calendar in your smartphone to schedule your day. Promise yourself to follow your schedule even if you dont have places to go or things to do. The regular structure will have a positive effect on your mood.
Track Your Depressive Triggers And Symptoms
People going through a depressive episode can feel overwhelmed and alone.
If youre trying to get out of a depressive episode, it might be useful to keep a journal of your feelings. This will help you identify potential triggers for feelings of sadness as well as spot the signs of depression early on and do something about them.
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What Are The Types Of Major Depression
There are several types of depressive disorders:
Separate Yourself From The Depression
A condition does not define a person they are not their illness. When depression symptoms begin, some people find it helpful to repeat: I am not depression, I just have depression.
A person should remind themselves of all the other aspects of themselves. They may also be a parent, sibling, friend, spouse, neighbor, and colleague. Each person has their own strengths, abilities, and positive qualities that make them who they are.
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Is Light Therapy Safe
Light therapy is typically safe and well-tolerated. But you may need to avoid light therapy if you:
- Have diabetes or retinopathies: If you have diabetes or a retina condition, theres a potential risk of damaging the retina, the back of your eye.
- Take some medications: Certain antibiotics and anti-inflammatories can make you more sensitive to sunlight. Light therapy can then cause harm.
- Have bipolar disorder: Bright light therapy and antidepressants can trigger hypomania or mania, uncontrolled boosts in mood and energy level. If you have bipolar disorder, let your provider know. This will play a role in your treatment plan.
Thoughts Of Death And Suicide
A person going through a major depressive episode may have repeated thoughts about death or suicide , or may have made a suicide attempt. Suicidal ideation can be common amongst victims of depression, which is where a person often thinks about not being alive anymore, but they don’t yet have a plan to carry out.The frequency and intensity of thoughts about suicide can range from believing that friends and family would be better off if one were dead, to frequent thoughts about committing suicide , to detailed plans about how the suicide would be carried out. Those who are more severely suicidal may have made specific plans and decided upon a day and location for the suicide attempt. When this happens, they often keep to themselves about it, and may do it when and where they think no one would suspect.
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Depression And Gender: Is It Different In Men And Women
When it comes to depression, there is a distinct gender gap. Depression is nearly twice as common in women as in men, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Hormonal and other biological factors play a role in this disparity. After all, only women can have premenstrual or postpartum depression. The same is true of antepartum depression depression during pregnancy which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates affects one in seven women.
But women also have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder, depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder, and persistent depressive disorder, note Harvard Health experts. The reasons for this are cause for speculation. Some researchers believe that environmental factors, such as the different stressors and expectations that society places on women, are an important factor. Others theorize that men and women actually have depression at similar rates, but that women are more likely to talk about their feelings and seek help.
What Is The Difference Between Major Depression And Grief And Sadness
Its common for people to suffer from instances of depression due to life changes and events. If a loved one dies, you may spend a few weeks very upset and withdrawn. You may have a period of time when you are facing difficult life changes, and these symptoms seem to be present.
If youve been diagnosed with depression, you may experience this from time to time. You may also have breaks of time when you feel okay. Its possible for those with a depression diagnosis to suffer from a major depressive disorder single episode like this.
In a person with major depression, these types of episodes occur more chronically. This is a chronic illness, but with treatment, the time between such episodes may lengthen. You may feel better for longer periods of time.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Major depression symptoms vary from person to person. To receive a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, some of these signs and symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. Anyone who has questions should consult their doctor.
- Continued feelings of sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, emptiness
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Insomnia or other sleep issues such as waking up very early or sleeping too much
- Anxiety, irritability, restlessness
- Lack of interest or joy in hobbies and activities
- Changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or weight gain
- Moving, talking, or thinking more slowly
- Trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or making decisions
- Vague aches and pains, such as headaches, joint pain, back pain, or digestive problems
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Depression: Recognizing Unusual Symptoms
One reason depression can be hard to identify is that its signs can vary widely from person to person and sometimes be masked by atypical symptoms. For example, some people who are depressed may show it by acting disgruntled, resentful, or irritable. In fact, aggression including outright acts of violence can be indicative of hidden depression, according to a February 28, 2017, report in Psychiatric Times. Depression masquerading as anger may seem surprising at first, but not when you consider that several underlying factors, including alcohol or substance abuse and childhood trauma, have been linked to both.
Similarly, although its not clear why, a person who experiences anxiety is at high risk for developing depression, and vice versa. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that as many as 60 percent of people with anxiety will also have symptoms of depression the same goes for people with depression having symptoms of anxiety. Experts say there is often a genetic predisposition for these co-occurring disorders.
Depression may also manifest psychosomatically, meaning that instead of presenting first and foremost as a mood disorder, the dominant symptom may be things like vague aches, dizziness, headaches, digestive problems, or back pain, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Complicating matters is that its often hard to know whether depression is causing the physical symptoms, or if the physical symptoms are causing depression.
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I Developed A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Iâve struggled with sleeping for years. Going without sleep ratchets up my stress level and strains my emotional health. Because I have trouble falling asleep, I stop doing any stressful or work-related activities by 8:00 pm. I try not to have social engagements on work nights because itâs hard to wind down afterward.
Sometimes, I do a quick bedtime yoga routine . Next, I prepare myself a hot cup of herbal tea and head upstairs to bed. I give myself a good 30 minutes to read before the time I would like to fall asleep, and I avoid getting on the computer or looking at email. If my thoughts are racing, I write down what I am thinking about in a notebook. When Iâm ready to snooze I flip on my noise machine, which helps me fall asleep.
While this routine takes self-discipline, the benefit of a good nightâs sleep is worth it.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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Accept Your Depression And Understand It Will End
One of the scariest things about a depressive episode is that it can feel unending. When youre trying to bounce back from depression, understand that it is a mental illness which will eventually get better.
While depression wont disappear overnight, accepting its presence in your life and taking steps to alleviate it can help you feel less overwhelmed.
Stimulating Your Vagus Nerve
I believe that stimulating the vagus nerve can aid in reducing depressive symptoms, indicates Amber Weiss, a mental health counselor in New York City.
She explains the vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in the body and can be stimulated by engaging in a variety of activities, such as:
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The Instinctual Response To Negative Experiences Sets Off Cycles Of Avoidance That Feed The Beast Of Depression Thats When Its Necessary To Work Against Instinct
What is depression? Is it a normal reaction to difficulty and loss? A problematic way of coping? A disease of the brain that has little or nothing to do with psychology? Even though depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, there remains much confusion and debate about the best way to conceptualize it. I argue that we should think about depression as a state of behavioral shutdown, biological in an evolutionary sense but not necessarily a disease of the brain. This explains why some people are more prone to getting depressed and how they might climb out of a depressive caveor set up their lives to prevent ever getting into it.
To grasp why it is more productive to regard depression as a state of behavioral shutdown, rather than a disease of the brain, we need to understand something about the evolution of the animal mind. From an evolutionary perspective, animal behavior can be thought of as the process of expending energy to control the environment in accordance with goals. Many of our goals are grounded in deep motives that connect to survival and reproductive successwe strive for control of resources and territory, status and belonging, better food, and more appealing mates.
I Stay Tuned In To My Body
Mental illness doesnât impact the mind alone: Itâs physical, too. Depression decreases my energy. I feel exhausted and have frequent headaches. Anxiety, on the other hand, speeds me up. My heart races, I sweat more, and I feel an almost uncontrollable energy.
For me, self-care starts with noticing how I feel, both physically and emotionally. Paying closer attention to what is happening in my body clues me in to what is happening in my mind. If I start to feel a persistent heaviness on my chest or a knot in my stomach, itâs an indication that I need to pay closer attention to myself. Noticing symptoms early helps me practice better care and often prevents my moment of anxiety or depression from turning into a full-blown episode.
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I Am Changing How I Look At Myself In The Mirror
One symptom of my depression is negative thinking. I struggle with self-criticism, which definitely translates into how I view my physical appearance. My instinct when I catch my reflection in a mirror is to put myself down. Have you gained more weight? You look disgusting. You are never going to get in shape.
I want to treat myself with more kindness, so I am making a concerted effort to change these thoughts. When my harsh inner monologue kicks in, I tell myself that itâs OK to be frustrated about my appearance. I acknowledge my feelings as real and valid without turning them inward. Then I try to notice one thing that I do like about myself, whether itâs a small detail of how I look, or something compassionate I did that day.
While it doesnât always feel natural to look for something positive, the good news is I can tell that a shift is beginning to take place.