Depression is a difficult illness, one that can turn your life around and make it very difficult to function.
Although symptoms can vary from one person to another, the most common ones are the overwhelming feeling of sadness, lack of energy or willingness to do anything, and even aggression. Some people lose their appetite; others can’t stop eating, while most feel too tired to get out of bed, however long they sleep.
The worst thing is that it can go on for months or even years at a time if left untreated. Causes include stressful life events, drug abuse or childhood abuse. And although you can’t simply switch it off, there are certain ways to fight depression to some extent.
Talk to someone
The worst thing you can do is to isolate yourself completely. Your friends might notice something’s off, but it doesn’t mean they’ll recognize the symptoms and realize the seriousness of the situation. When people call you or invite you somewhere, your first impulse will probably be to lie, to say you’re busy or feeling unwell, just to avoid interaction. Fight that impulse. Even if you don’t want to go somewhere, be honest and tell your closest friends or family members you trust what the matter is.
It might be horrifying to talk about your feelings, but depression feeds on isolation and loneliness. Once you put everything in words, it may clear your thoughts and shed some light on the cause or triggers to your depression. Plus, you’ll feel less alone once you get the understanding you need from another person.
Get professional help
First, you need to find somebody to recognize depression. In men, it’s often difficult to set the diagnosis, since they’re much less likely to report the most common symptoms, like crying or being sad. Men are usually more prone to becoming aggressive and angry, or taking unnecessary and dangerous risks. However, if the symptoms continue for longer than 10 days, or there’s any mention of unwillingness to live or suicidal thoughts, seeking professional help is imperative.
Talk to your GP and have them recommend further course of action, or go straight to a mental health professional. Another option is finding expert online therapy services, where you can communicate with a certified counsellor through messages, calls or video chat. You might also consider hiring a life coach. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to admit you need help and that you can’t manage the illness on your own.
Depression can melt in the sunshine like snow. First of all, fresh air might help clear your mind and allow you to reflect on the cause of the illness. Sun activates vitamin D in your body, which can boost the levels of serotonin, the happy hormone, which then improves your mood and makes you more sociable.
It also improves your memory and regulates sleep, which is also important, since people with depression often have trouble falling and staying asleep, which in return makes them more tired and clouds their judgement and thought. Plus, being in public places, busy with people can make you feel better.
Diet and physical activity
Just like serotonin, endorphins are sometimes called the happy hormones, due to their ability to relieve you of pain and help lift your spirits. Both serotonin and endorphin levels get higher when you’re physically active, so do your best to fight the exhaustion and tiredness you might feel and exercise moderately for at least half an hour every day. If you can combine your workout and sun in activities like cycling, hiking or jogging, the effect will be even stronger.
Also, make sure your diet contains enough vitamins and minerals, such as B complex, vitamin C, Magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, fish and poultry might help fight depression, and if you don’t have an appetite, you should get vitamin and mineral supplements.
Do things that make you laugh
Depression will kill any joy or happiness in you, so fight it by indulging in things that normally make you laugh. Whether it’s comedies, stand-up comedians, comical books or funny YouTube videos that work for you, laughing is always beneficial. Also, there are many humorous situations in everyday life, so do your best to spend as much time with other people as possible.
Choose people that are optimistic and have a sense of humor similar to yours, to improve the odds of laughing at each other’s jokes.
Bear in mind that depression is a serious condition, not one you can simply snap out of by thinking positive thoughts. Your mental health is as important as the physical, so if you feel things are getting out of hand, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help.