They Can Have Bad Days And Better Days
Depression can have its ups and downs. If someone has hidden or undiagnosed depression, they might seem like they get random mood swings, depending on if their depression is consistent or not. To you , the changes in mood seem without cause, but its simply how some peoples depression manifests.
If you know the person has depression, its possible to falsely believe theyre permanently better because of a few good days. While its always great if someone has a day thats better than the one before it, you should always let them tell you what theyre ready to handle and when.
Assuming theyve completely recovered and pushing them too quickly into things might overwhelm them and make them retreat into themselves again. Be supportive of your friends and family who have depression, but let them make the calls.
Going to the salon every other week gets expensive, but there are useful, free, and creative ways to get the perfect manicure without making that bank account-draining bi-weekly appointment. Check out these hacks for a great manicure.
You Just Need More Sunlight You Should Exercise More Just Let Go Of Your Sad Thoughts
While the intention of giving advice is a loving one, it diminishes the significance of what the person is going through. I dont doubt that sunlight, exercise, nutrient dense food, and ample deep sleep would make a positive impact on the depressed persons cortisol levels, but to suggest that doing the thing youre suggesting will be a magical cure-all is probably missing the point altogether.
They arent just kind of sad, they feel like theyre drowning. And they need more than the kind of advice you can find on any random health and wellness website listicle.
Dont Make It About You
Why its harmful: Blaming someone with depression for making you sad can worsen their condition by making them feel even more ashamed and humiliated than they already do, Dr. Duckworth says. Instead, you should show love and support the person to help them get back to the state theyd like to be in.
What to say instead: Im here for you.
Seeking professional help? Dont miss these tips on how to get the most out of therapy.
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Recognizing Depression Symptoms In A Loved One
Family and friends are often the first line of defense in the fight against depression. Thats why its important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before they do, and your influence and concern can motivate them to seek help.
Be concerned if your loved one:
Doesnt seem to care about anything anymore. Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities. Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life. Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody talks about feeling helpless or hopeless.
Frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain. Or complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps. Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and out of it.
Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers, as a way to self-medicate how theyre feeling.
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When youre struggling with depression, it feels like you dont matter in the world. Or, even worse, that the world is messed up and nothing about it matters. By extension, its so easy to feel that your existence is entirely irrelevant that you are of no consequence to humanity.
So remind the person you love that they matter to you. Tell them exactly why. Tell them what gifts they bring to the world, and to your life. Remind them of all of their glory that you see in them. And then do it again, because people need reminders.
Tell them you love them, ask them how you can help, and tell them that they matter to you. And then repeat. Keep repeating it until you see the light in their eyes slowly start to come back.
In short, people suffering from depression dont need to be fixed, they need to feel seen, heard, and supported. Dont tell them what to do, hear them. Be there for them. Love them through their pain, without trying to change or rush what they are feeling.
Jordan Gray helps people remove their emotional blocks and maintain thriving intimate relationships. You can see more of his writing at JordanGrayConsulting.com.
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They Might Not Look Depressed
Due to media and cultural stereotypes, most of us have assumptions about how someone behaves and looks if theyre struggling with depression. We imagine someone who rarely leaves their room, doesnt dress themselves well, and constantly looks miserable, but people with depression do not all behave in the same way.
All people are, of course, different from each other, and the symptoms and coping abilities of people with depression also differ. Many are able to keep up a facade of good mental health to protect themselves, but they arent suffering any less simply because they can do this. Similarly, those who are unable to keep up such a facade are not weaker than those who can.
Learn How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions in order to eliminate depression. There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.
The symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, make procrastination tempting.
Putting things off fuels depression. It can lead to increased guilt, worry, and stress.
It’s important to set deadlines and manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and work hard to get the most important things done first. Each task you successfully complete will help you break through the habit of procrastination.
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Small Steps Big Impact
Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
What Time Of Day Is Hardest For You
This question may give those who are within your loved ones support circle an idea when to check in.
For example, getting out of bed in the morning and starting the day is most difficult for some people. For others, its coming home in the evening when they may be alone.
Whenever it is, you can use that time frame of when your loved one may feel most vulnerable to send a short text, call them, or invite them out for something low-key, like a walk.
In the event that you have to communicate with a mental health professional for your loved one, youll also have some details for diagnostic criteria to share.
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How To Help Someone With Depression
Feeling down or depressed from time to time is normal. But if these feelings last 2 weeks or more, or start to affect everyday life, this can be a sign of depression.
Depression can develop slowly. Someone who’s depressed does not always realise or acknowledge that they’re not feeling or behaving as they usually do.
Often it’s a partner, family member or carer who first realises that help’s needed. They may encourage their friend or relative to see a GP, or find some other source of support.
What You Eat And Drink Can Also Affect How You Feel
Theres no magic diet that will treat depression. But what you put into your body can have a real and significant impact on the way you feel.
Eating a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, and grains may be a great place to start. Try to limit stimulants like caffeine, coffee, and soda, and depressants like alcohol.
Some people also and have more energy when they avoid sugar, preservatives, and processed foods.
If you have the means, consider meeting with a doctor or registered dietitian for guidance.
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If You Need To Wallow Wallow But Do So Constructively
Suppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy.
If youre having a down day, have it. Let yourself feel the emotions but dont stay there.
Consider writing or journaling about what youre experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too.
Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.
Yoga: An Activity To Enhance Flexibility & Mental Strength For People With Depression And Anxiety
As mentioned before, exercise is an activity which greatly benefits in depression and anxiety and similarly for the mind, body and soul, yoga has proven to be very effective activity in improving symptoms in people suffering from anxiety and depression. Best known for its flexibility enhancing benefits, yoga has in fact helped people get rid of antidepressants. The balancing, breathing and stretching routines of yoga help reduce depression, anger, fatigue and anxiety. Also being one of the solo activities, it helps you distract your mind from your concerns to this form of scientific activity.
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Meditation Can Help Calm The Mind Of People With Depression & Anxiety
This activity has proven to be one of the biggest stress relievers, as meditation helps you bring your mind to balance through its calming and relaxing process. Meditation helps patients rid themselves of the recurring negative thought patterns by clearing out the slate and starting anew each time. This activity is an excellent form of cognitive therapy and relieves the body by relieving the mind and vice versa.
How Can I Help
How can I help you? What do you need from me during this difficult time? What can I do to make your life even 1 percent easier?
Chances are, by the time the depressed person you love reaches out and lets you know that theyre hurting, theyve been hurting for a while, and theyve just mustered up the courage to speak to you about it. Doing this is already a huge step for them.
They may very likely feel like they have been carrying a metaphorical elephant on their shoulders, and they need to relieve some of the pressure. Ask them, point blank, How can I help? They may not have any ideas because they might feel so beat down and despondent that nothing feels like it could help. So get creative and offer up suggestions.
Do they need you to check in on them on a daily basis? Do they need you to bring them a home cooked meal a few times per week? Do they need you to buy them some new socks/do their laundry/hire a cleaner because they havent been able to leave their apartment for a week?
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Listen To What They Have To Say
People with depression can often feel isolated and find it hard to talk about their depression. Be willing to talk openly with your loved one about their feelings and listen to what they have to say. This will show them that no matter what they might be going through and how negative everything may feel to them, they are loved and valued.
Its also important to be an active listener and really immerse yourself in the conversation. Use verbal and non-verbal prompts during the conversation, maintain eye contact throughout, and regularly paraphrase what your loved one says back to them to clarify meaning and demonstrate that you have understood them. This will make opening up to you as easy and natural as possible for your loved one, making it more likely that theyll confide in you in the future if they need to.
Dont Downplay Their Condition
Why its harmful: Telling someone that the pain theyre feeling is all in their head diminishes the fact that depression is a serious health condition, and reduces it to something that can be fixed just by changing their thinking habits. If someone is feeling unwell in some way, it is within their person, not just their head, Plotnick explains.
What to say instead: I will try my best to understand.
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The Risk Of Suicide Is Real
What to do in a crisis situation
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone.
In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
In other countries, call your countrys emergency services number or visit IASP to find a suicide prevention helpline.
It may be hard to believe that the person you know and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide, but a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain theyre feeling.
Since suicide is a very real danger when someone is depressed, its important to know the warning signs:
- Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself a preoccupation with death
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate
- Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways
- Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
- Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
If you think a friend or family member might be considering suicide, dont wait, talk to them about your concerns. Many people feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is thinking about suicide. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a persons life, so speak up if youre concerned and seek professional help immediately!
What Does Depression Look Like
Well raise your question with a few Qs of our own: Are you female? Are you a teen? Depression can also affect different ages and genders in unique ways:
Women are more likely to ruminate . This can look like negative self-talk, sudden crying spells, feelings of guilt, or blaming oneself. Women are also more likely to have depression at the same time as an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, eating disorder, or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Men with depression are more likely to show signs of irritability, anger, apathy, escapist behavior , or reckless behavior .
Younger people can struggle with depression and MDD . Children and teens may sometimes exhibit oversensitivity, social withdrawal, poor school performance, frequent physical complaints , or feelings of incompetence and despair .
Older adults and the elderly are often misdiagnosed or undertreated for depression because their symptoms can be mistaken for other disorders , or they may assume their feelings are just an inevitable part of aging. For many, sadness isnt the biggest indicator of depression instead, physical complaints are often the predominant symptom. Sleep trouble, low motivation, neglect of personal care or hygiene, and fixation on death are other signs of depression in older adults.
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Understand You Arent A Therapist
Its important to encourage a depressed friend to seek qualified help. You cant cure your friend by talking things out or giving great advice major depression needs to be addressed by someone with professional training, who can prescribe antidepressants if appropriate. Dont think that you can manage their symptoms on your own, says Dr. Bates. Just be there in a supportive, nonjudgmental way.
What Foods Help Ease Depression
While no specific diet has been proven to relieve depression, a healthy diet can help you feel your best physically and mentally. Certain foods may be linked to brain health and support for memory, alertness, and mood. Examples include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids , antioxidants , and nutrients like choline . Always talk with your doctor before making any major diet changes.
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Depression Can Be Physically Painful
While your mental and emotional state is obviously impacted when you have depression, the physical pain can be extreme. For some, its the most life-altering compared to the other symptoms they have to cope with. Back pain, stomach cramps, headaches, joint and limb pain, and general pain and discomfort all over the body are extremely common symptoms of depression.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with depression might only ever experience the physical symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. Also, pain and depression often go hand in hand injuries and disabilities can bring on depression, but depression can also bring on the pain, making it a vicious cycle.
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How Can You Tell If Someone Is Dealing With Depression
Depression touches most Americans, whether they experience it personally or it affects someone they know. In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports its one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States an estimated 17.3 million adults were living with depression in 2017.
So how can you tell if a friend is just a bit sad or hassomething deeper brewing? There certainly are telltale signs, Dr. Borlandnotes. But since you dont necessarily see that person every day, you may haveto do more detective work.
He recommends watching for behavioral changes or anything that could be out of character for your friend. Some depression symptoms include:
- Lack of engagement:They lose interest in activities they used to enjoy or want to hang out less.
- Change in communication patterns: Youused to chat or hang on the regular, and now theyre MIA.
- Changes in hygiene and sleepingpatterns: Theyre sleeping less or all the time. Their appearance andhygiene no longer seem to be a priority.
- Displays of sadness or anger: Theirtemper now has a hairpin trigger, or maybe they seem more down than usual.
- Withdrawal from social outlets:Theyre missing from activities where they were formerly fixtures.
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