Do You Suffer From Depression?
Signs of Depression
- Sleeping a lot or being unable to sleep
- Always tired
- Thoughts of dying or death
- Unable to muster up enthusiasm for anything
- Don't enjoy the things you used to
- Finding yourself sad more & more frequently
- Withdrawing from friends or family
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Not caring about your appearance
- Trouble concentrating
- Crying a lot for no reason
- Unexplained aches and pains that won't go away
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feeling indifferent/apathetic
- Being pessimistic
- Trouble remembering details
- Constant anxiety
Steps to Recovery
1.) Accept that a problem exhists
2.) Figure out why you're feeling depressed
3.) Acknowledge what you can and cannot change
4.) Decide you want to move forward
5.) Set a goal and strive to achieve it
6.) Get into healthy habits
7.) Set up fail safes for bad days
The first step to solving any issue is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Look inside yourself and ask: Could I be suffering from depression? If you don't immediately know the answer and happen to exhibit 5 or more of the symptoms listed above than this could be the case. Acknowledging that you're suffering from depression is the first step to solving it and moving forward with your life.
The next step is figuring out why you're feeling depressed. Making a list of things that you find depressing about life can help put those things into perspective. This can also give you a good starting point to make some changes in your life which I explain in detail further on.
In my experience the list of things you find depressing about life will include things you can and can not control. As you review your list make sure you take note of things you cannot change and concentrate on those that you can. Acknowledging things you can and cannot change is going to put those things into perspective. Realize that some of the things affecting you and causing you to feel depressed you will have no control over; but you do have control over how these things effect you.
Deciding to move forward can be challenging at times, but if you're reading this you have made the decision to do something about it and for that I applaud you! We all feel stuck every once in a while. But there is always something you can do to move yourself forward. Further down I list some healthy options to help you accomplish this.
Dealing With Depression
Everyone 'hits a wall' at some point when dealing with depression, you might be able to acknowledge that you have an issue, but still find yourself stuck and feeling down at some point. Here's a list of suggestions to help you get over this feeling:
- List things in your life you are grateful for
- Listen to a song that lifts you up
- Draw a picture of how you are feeling
- Write a letter but never send it
- Pet an animal (studies show this actually helps)
- Hug a loved one
- Do something for someone else
- Talk to a friend or family member
When dealing with depression it's important to remember the things that you do have in your life and what makes you special. While this can be a challenge, I encourage you to keep your head up and stay strong. No matter what: You are awesome!
You're Not Alone
Type of People
Road to Recovery
Setting a goal and striving to achieve it can help you move forward and out of your depression. Take the list of things in life that you're feeling depressed about, and pick one of them that you can change. Set your goal around this. If it is a big goal such as finishing a book or getting a better job, start by brainstorming small steps in achieving that goal. I encourage you to take a moment and acknowledge every time you accomplish one of these steps. Taking the time to appreciate yourself for moving forward is just as important, if not more so, than the step itself.
Developing healthy habits is a great way to move forward and start letting go of your depression. Developing these habits can intertwine with the goals we set for ourselves. For example if one of the things on your list is an issue with your weight, then exercising once a day is a great habit to get into. This will bring you closer to a goal that you set for yourself as well as give you a healthy habit. Other healthy habits could also be:
- Read a book once a week
- Volunteer once a month
- Develop a new hobby
Fail safes can be a great way to make sure that when your depression hits again, you don't fall back into a rut. I personally use three things to help me stay out of a depressive rut: letters written to myself, encouraging reminders that I am awesome and making sure to do something just for me every once in a while. I go over these three things in greater detail in my other article: How to Increase Your Self Confidence. In tandem with these three things I keep a list of phone numbers to different hotlines. Talking to someone helps a lot more than you'd think. People that suffer from depression all too often isolate themselves, which can lead to unhealthy decisions. So if you are feeling depressed and having thoughts of death and dying please reach out to someone. Believe me it can and will help!
Hotlines That Can Help
Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 212-673-3000
Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
(All of these are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are 100% confidential)
Developing healthy habits and having a supportive social network will help you move forward. Too often those of us that suffer from depression isolate ourselves and tell ourselves that we're alone. You're NOT alone. The hotlines I listed above are not just for suicide prevention. The Samaritan Hotline is there for every kind of crisis and has people that you can talk to about all sorts of problems. Deciding to get help and to move forward with your life is a huge step; but you also need to acknowledge this path is one you cannot run down. Depression is something you have to strive to overcome, not something you get over in a day. Trust and believe in yourself. You can overcome this problem so long as you put your mind to it and keep at it!
Once you have completed the first few steps, staying healthy is just as important. Make sure you develop some healthy habits and stick to them. Don't give up. If you miss a day of exercise be twice as determined to do it the next day. If you find yourself sad for no reason, list the things that are good in your life or accomplishments you've achieved. Work everyday to be better than you were yesterday! You can overcome this! I promise.