It can be hard to always identify and pinpoint what we are feeling and experiencing. It can be even harder to know what to do about it.
There are certainly additional ways to address mental health including spirituality and community support that can also reconnect and reinvigorate us. When needed, explore all the resources at your disposal.
Signs & Signals of Depression:
- Depression is more than just sadness, feeling down, or "having the blues."
- Depression will often impact daily functioning and mood, and can be caused by genetic predisposition, stress, and other external factors (situational, relational, life circumstances) and biological factors.
- A depressive episode can last anywhere from 2-weeks all the way up to 2-years in more severe cases
Here are common signs:
- Loss of pleasure in activities or things you used to enjoy
- Increased irritability or low frustration tolerance
- Fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy
- Sleep disturbances, including oversleeping or insomnia
- Social withdrawal & isolating
- Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
- Feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness
- Inability to get out of bed or initiate tasks
- Suicidal thoughts and/or thoughts of death
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Excessive weight gain or weight loss
Tools to Combat Depression:
Focus on sleep hygiene: Consistency is important and getting proper, quality sleep is key as sleep can affect mood and energy. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
Get outside: Going for a 20-30 min walk every day (even if you don't want to) is helpful to change your environment and introduce movement/exercise into your day.
Complete daily self-care activities: Even when some tasks feel overwhelming or daunting, come back to the basics: get out of bed, shower, change your clothes, brush your teeth, eat a healthy meal. Set yourself up by taking care of yourself in a positive way to see what you can get to next.
Avoid alcohol & substances: Although this may seem like a tempting coping mechanism at times, alcohol is a depressant and substances also deplete our brains and bodies of chemicals linked to mood and energy.
Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, partner: Suffering in silence can feel very isolating and compound on feelings of guilt, shame, and negativity.
Speak to a therapist: Many forms of therapy treat depression and it can be beneficial to have the support and structure to assist you.
Talk to your doctor: You doctor can often provide referrals and resources in addition to prescribing you medication if you choose.
About the author: Rodman Walsh is a California based Therapist whose specialities cover relationship issues, personality disorders, general anxiety, and more. Click here to read more content from Rodman and schedule a free introductory call.