First Know The Difference Between The Blues And Depression
We’ve all had our “off” days, but a longer stretch of unhappiness can mean it’s time to seek professional help.
“Unhappiness, can be a guide and friend, helping us to know ourselves better and become more fully aware of what makes us feel alive and passionate about our lives,” says Laura Petiford, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Connecticut. But if you experience what the Anxiety and Depression Association of America identifies as symptoms of depression for at least two weeks, most of the time and on most days, Petiford says it may be something more serious.
Meanwhile, “‘the blues’ are another normal experience of life, and can accompany a memory, transition, or other loss,” according to Petiford. Either way, trying therapyeven if it’s an online platformcan help uncover what you need to move forward, and if you’re having thoughts of self-harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
Get Treatment But Dont Limit Your Treatment Options
The most common regret Gelbart hears from patients is that they didn’t seek help sooner.
I wish I hadnt delayed going on medication, Claude says. Stigma played a role in his reluctance to accept his diagnosis, but once he learned of a family history of depression and anxiety, he accepted the need to take medication. I knew it was the right decision a few weeks later when my daughter came to me one day completely out of the blue and said to me, I love the new Daddy.
Yet others, such as Borchard, regret not exploring different options before taking medication.
In hindsight, I wish I had exhausted the holistic ways of treating depression before I grabbed for medication and learned how much other underlying issues were causing depressive symptoms because the side effects of being on medication for so long have really started to compromise my health, she says.
Among other treatment options are psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation, and exercise.
There has been much research on the positive benefits of exercise for depression, with many studies indicating that it’s just as successful as medication, Gelbart notes. Mindfulness and meditation have also shown an effectiveness similar to that of medication, though Gelbart emphasizes that the strongest responses usually include a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and exercise.
Where Can I Find Clinical Trials For Depression
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so others may receive better help in the future.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials information.
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Notice And Savor Small Pleasures
If you adopt a mindfulness meditation practice, you will automatically begin to notice and savor lifes pleasures more. But there are other things you can do to increase your awareness and enjoyment.
Adopt enjoyable daily rituals. Build moments of enjoyment into your day with pleasurable rituals. These can be very simple things like lingering over a cup of coffee in the morning, taking a short stroll in the sunshine during your lunch hour, or playing with your dog when you get home. It doesnt matter what you do, as long as you enjoy and appreciate it.
Minimize multi-tasking. Savoring requires your full attention, which is impossible when youre trying to do multiple things. For example, if youre eating a delicious meal while distractedly surfing the Internet, youre not going to get as much pleasure out of the food as you could have. Focus on one thing at a time in order to truly maximize your enjoyment.
Stop to smell the roses. It may be an old cliché, but its good advice. Youll appreciate good things more if you stop whatever youre doing for a moment to appreciate and luxuriate in them. It will enhance your pleasure, even if you can only spare a few seconds. And if you can share the moment with others, thats even better. Shared pleasure is powerful.
How Could I Be Depressed Christians Arent Supposed To Be
At least good Christians, I believed. If you have enough faith, God will get you through anything. Tenuously grasping my fraying emotions, I tried to make sense of the diagnosis to no avail.
However, as my mind shut down, refusing to accept this depression, I crawled deeper into the darkness. It was almost as if I could hear a jail door clang shut behind me. Coldness set in. I smelled dampness and decay while I lost all sense of time and space.
As one who prided herself on being in control at all times, with a rapid-fire brain, this dullness and darkness terrified me. But worse than the mental fog was the spiritual crisis. Everything I built my faith on felt yanked away. I did believe God was bigger than anything Id ever encounter. But, I never thought a Christian could have depression.
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You May Feel Sad For Many Reasons
Life is full of situations that may make people feel sad:
- having trouble at home
- having trouble at school or work, or feeling pressure there
- moving home
- losing a loved one or a friend
- being ill, or caring for someone who is ill
- experiencing chemical changes in your body
- experiencing changes in your thoughts .
When you face these situations, you may have unhelpful or negative thoughts about your sadness. And those thoughts can make you feel worse.
So, try a different approach: try to acknowledge your sadness and the situation that prompted it. And give yourself time to deal with any problems and feel better. You also may want to call on resources that could help you .
What Are The Symptoms Of Smiling Depression
Someone experiencing smiling depression would from the outside appear happy or content to others. On the inside however, they would be experiencing the distressful symptoms of depression.
Depression affects everyone differently and has a variety of symptoms, the most distinguished being deep, prolonged sadness. Other classic symptoms include:
- changes in appetite, weight, and sleeping
- fatigue or lethargy
- feelings of hopelessness, lack of self-esteem, and low self-worth
- loss of interest or pleasure in doing things that were once enjoyed
Someone with smiling depression may experience some or all of the above, but in public, these symptoms would be mostly if not completely absent. To someone looking from the outside, a person with smiling depression might look like:
- an active, high-functioning individual
- someone holding down a steady job, with a healthy family and social life
- a person appearing to be cheerful, optimistic, and generally happy
If youre experiencing depression yet continue to smile and put on a façade, you may feel:
- like showing signs of depression would be a sign of weakness
- like you would burden anyone by expressing your true feelings
- that you dont have depression at all, because youre fine
- that others have it worse, so what do you have to complain about?
- that the world would be better off without you
Some risk factors may include:
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Getting Out Of A Funk: How To Help Yourself Through Depression
Everyone has off days where they feel tired, irritable, and sad. Its normal to feel sadness as a response to challenging life events, loss, or changes, but sometimes these feelings can stick around for a while if left unaddressed and make it difficult for you to get through each day.
Heres how you can tell when youre in a funk or maybe even experiencing a mild depression as well as what you can do to help yourself feel better.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
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Build A Support Network
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself with depressionother than medication and therapyis to develop strong social support.
For some, this may mean forging stronger ties with friends or family. Knowing you can count on supportive loved ones to help can go a long way toward improving your depression.
For others, a depression support group can be key. It may involve a community group that meets in your area or you might find an online support group who meets your needs.
What If My Symptoms Dont Improve
If youre not responding to treatment, you may live with treatment resistant depression. This is when your symptoms have not improved after at least 2 standard treatments. This can also be known as treatment-refractory depression.
There is currently no official criteria used to diagnose treatment resistant depression.
What treatment is available for treatment-resistant depression?There are treatment options for treatment resistant depression. Even if antidepressants have not worked already for you, your doctor may suggest a different antidepressant from a different class.
The new antidepressant you are offered will depend on the first antidepressant you were given.
Sometimes your doctor can prescribe a second type of medication to go with your antidepressant. This can sometimes help the antidepressant work better than it does by itself.
Where antidepressants have not worked, your doctor may suggest talking therapies, ECT or brain stimulation treatments. See the previous section for more information on these.
What is an implanted vagus nerve stimulator, and how is it used in treatment resistant depression?If you live with treatment resistant depression, and youve not responded to other treatments, you may be able ask for an implanted vagus nerve stimulator.
Please speak to your doctor if youre interested in this treatment and for more information. You may be able to get this treatment funded through an Individual Funding Request.
- NHS – Your Rights by clicking here.
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What Risks And Complications Can Depression Cause
Having depression can cause other problems. It can affect your mental health as well as your physical health, and it may affect other areas of your life too. For example, depression may cause:
- disturbed sleep,
- difficulties with work and your hobbies,
- difficulties keeping contact with friends and families, or
- suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming.
Some people might also drink more alcohol to try and relieve depression. However, as we said in the previous section above, this can actually make depression worse.
If you have any of these problems, speak to your GP.
Talk To The Person About What Theyre Going Through
If youre living with someone with depression, help them speak openly and honestly about how theyre feeling and what theyre going through.
Let them know that youre there to support them and will always be there to listen to anything they want to talk about. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can make sure that you are kept aware of when the person is going through difficulties so that they arent suffering in silence.
Its also a good idea to ask the person how they would like you to support them. For example, when theyre having a tough time, do they want you to sit with them and watch their favourite movie together, or would they prefer fewer guests in the house for the time being?
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Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
Then Stop Comparing Your Life To Others
As life coach and Fix My Life hostIyanla once said, “Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” It’s tough to enjoy what you’ve got when your mind is glutted with thoughts like why don’t I have what that person has? That said, the impulse is perfectly natural, if often unhealthy.
“We’re social creatures, profoundly impacted by the presence and influence of the people around us,” says life coach Dr. Susan Biali Haas. “Its fundamentally human to closely observe what others are doing and compare that to ourselves.”
Trouble is, Haas points out, we’re more likely to zero in on whatever professional milestone/diamond ring/happier a peer is boasting about on , wherein it suddenly becomes a bummer if we don’t have the same thing. And speaking of Instagram …
“Weve all had the experience of being in a perfectly good mood, feeling reasonably content about ourselves and our lives, until we scroll through a social media feed,” Haas points out. “Suddenly, we see something that makes us feel inadequate or envious. Though your life is still the same good life you had a moment ago, the comparison robs you of your peace and contentment, blotting out your good feelings about your life.”
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In That Journey Together With God I Live A Successful Life With Depression
It took several years, and some deep soul work to get to the point where I feel like depression doesnt control my every moment.
Identifying good, safe friends, working with a counselor, doctor, and then a coach helped me work through the cause of my depression.
But, the only one who can change my daily circumstances and my mindset is me. Yes, there were tips and tricks I learned along the way. A big one is choosing to live in today. Depression, for me, drug me back into the past, which I couldnt change. Spending every waking moment worried about the future deepened the depression. Often what we fear will happen doesnt. Talk about wasted emotional energy!
Tip : Live In The Moment And Savor Lifes Pleasures
Think about a time when you were depressed or anxious. Chances are, you were either dwelling on something negative from the past or worrying about something in the future. In contrast, when you focus on the present moment, you are much more likely to feel centered, happy, and at peace. Youre also much more likely to notice the good things that are happening, rather than letting them pass by unappreciated or unobserved. So how do you start to live more in the moment and savor the good things life has to offer?
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Learning To Live In Today Taught Me How To Live Successfully With Depression
Ive learned that the black hole of depression is one short step behind me and to my right. I respect its proximity, but I do not allow it to control me.
Today, I choose my thoughts, actions, and words. When circumstances arise that are less than optimal, I decide how to respond. Will I jump to anxious thoughts and allow the negative tapes to start playing , or will I pause, assess, and evaluate what happened and the next best step? All of that is within my control.