“Your struggle with mental health doesn’t make you less of a person.”
Depression is not a choice. Nobody chooses to be depressed. Depression is actually a mental disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in everyday activities.
In 2021 depression or mental health has become an important topic one should not hesitate to talk about. We have seen people losing their loved ones during the Corona Virus Pandemic. It thus becomes important to realise if we have become a victim of depression or not. Depression should not be taken lightly and mocked. It may have serious consequences on personal health, performance.
How do you know it’s depression?
Here are some symptoms that your friend or family member may be depressed-
- He or she doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.
- He or she is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody.
- He or she has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities.
- He or she talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”
- He or she expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life.
- He or she frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain.
- He or she complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
- He or she has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
- He or she is either sleeping less than usual or oversleeping.
- He or she is eating either more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
- He or she has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and “out of it.”
Remember, it’s okay to feel sad or depressed .You are strong enough to deal with it. You can and you will come out of it by making some efforts.
- Don’t Isolate Yourself – We often isolate ourselves in times of depression. Not talking to family or friends and just sitting their alone overthinking about certain things. Come out and try to talk to talk to your loved ones.
- Do Things You Once Liked to Do, Even If You Don’t Feel like It- Your hobbies and passion help you at times. You will find reasons to be happy and passionate about. Moreover, it will engage your mind in something that you used to enjoy.
- Watch a Funny TV Show or Movie- Netflix and chill isn’t a bad idea to lighten up your mood .It may seem silly or all too simple, but anything that makes you laugh or smile can actually help convince your brain you are happy.
- Don’t Punish Yourself for Feeling Bad- Understand and accept your depression. It’s okay to be feel in a certain way and you deserve love from yourself the most this time.
- Nurture yourself with good nutrition.- Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can make a difference to your mood and energy levels.
- Compliment yourself- When you find that you’re bringing yourself down, consciously compliment yourself on something. Accept compliments from others as true. Instead of questioning their motives, simply agree that they are true .
- Express yourself- Talk about it to someone you can trust or someone who is willing to listen and help. Get help if you’re still feeling down or depressed after a couple of weeks. Remember, you are not alone!
- Try volunteering– Volunteering, or just offering to help someone out, can make you feel better about yourself and less alone. Your local Volunteer centre and the charity organisations can help match you with a volunteering opportunity in your area.
- Set realistic goals– Don’t set your goals too high; it could make you feel worse if you can’t meet your expectations. Set yourself small goals and take things one step at a time.
- Spend time in nature – There’s research that indicates when you have contact with pets, plants, gardens, parks, etc., it reduces stress and boosts your mood. Go for a walk outside. We also know that sunlight helps to regulate mood.
- Keep a mood diary- Keeping a mood diary can help you keep track of any changes in your mood, and you might find that you have more good days than you think. It can also help you notice if any activities, places or people make you feel better or worse.
- Cut back on alcohol and recreational drugs- Drinking or using drugs may make you feel better for a little bit. But in the long run, these substances can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse.
- Help someone else who needs support – Healing sometimes heals you too . Try to help people who need your support and this might help you indirectly too.
- Learn what it is that keeps you peaceful and content- Taking time to look after yourself, such as doing something you enjoy, can help to support your recovery and improve your quality of life.
- Take a leave- There’ll be days when you just don’t think you can get up. And that’s OK to have every once in a while. Take a mental health day. Take time for yourself.
My mental health is just as important as my physical health
- Try to get good sleep.- Keep a balance with not too little and not too much sleep. Staying up late one night and then sleeping in excessively the next day is a sure-fire way to feed depression. Also, don’t try to solve problems late at night when your brain is half-asleep.
- Identify troubles but don’t dwell on them-
Don’t avoid the things you find difficult. When people feel low or anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to other people. Some people can lose their confidence in going out, driving or travelling.
If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will help them become easier.
- Exercise- Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity three to five days a week. Exercise can increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood.
- Challenge 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.
- Learn how to say no – Feeling overwhelmed can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. Setting boundaries in your professional and personal life can help you feel better.
- See a therapist.- Therapy with anyone from a guidance counselor to a certified therapist can work wonders, and many may prefer therapy over the medication route. Situational depression especially can be relieved by having a way to get everything off your chest and receive practical advice.
- Join Self help and Support groups- Peer support brings together people who’ve had similar experiences to support each other. Many people find it helps them to share ideas about how to stay well, connect with others and feel less alone.
Aasra helpline no. – +91-22-27546669
Never allow yourself to indulge in the thought that you are different from or less than anyone else. Everyone struggles at times, and your depression does not define who you are or single you out from others.
Remember, You are STRONG!