Depression has often been defined in our culture as nothing more than a bad day or string of bad days. One person described it as “Anger without enthusiasm.” With this over-simplistic notion, in a world that doesn’t slow down for a bad day, comes a stigma and shame, when the bad day never ends.Depression is more than just a bad day or two. It’s far more complex than that. In fact, there are many different types of depression, some more chronic and critical than others but all the same, can make life difficult for you and those around you.
Depression has a way of keeping you stuck and isolated.
Here is a list of just some of the sub-types of depression· major depression· dysthymia· manic-Depression· post-partum depression· seasonal affective disorder (SAD)· medication-induced depression
Depression is multi-faceted, and understanding the most common mental health disorder, is the first step in managing your life with depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that depression is caused from a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Because there are so many variables to depression, treatment options are broad and varied as well.
So, what can you do if you are feeling depressed…besides book a cruise with money you don’t have or take to the mall for some retail therapy?
The first thing?
· Be intent on getting better and finding relief. Becoming the Queen of Denial is not a good life plan. So, make an appointment with your healthcare team to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Plan with your doctor to address any underlying genetic or biological treatments. Quiet the chemistry…or wake it up! Your doctor will know the best medication for the type of depression you are experiencing. Be a good patient. If you don’t think you can be compliant on the medications, be honest with your doctor.· Practice good self-care.
o Get plenty of sleep. o Exercise. Some is always better than none. Eat foods that support good general health.o Break some bad habits. o Avoid isolation. o Know your limits. Did you know that the word “No.” can be a complete sentence?o Address other chronic or new health issues. Depression can be caused by any number of other health conditions or depression can aggravate other existing health conditions.o Stress is unavoidable sometimes but there are many healthy ways to manage it.o Expect gradual change, not immediate, drastic change.o Psychotherapy may be a necessary intervention and very helpful under your circumstances.
· Most importantly…do not just live with depression. It can escalate quickly and leave you feeling despair and hopelessness, even suicidal. Get help immediately and share your feelings with someone close to you.
Depression is an illness of your mind and should be taken seriously. If you or your friend broke their leg, you wouldn’t say, “Well, jump up. Walk it off! You’ll be okay.” You would get them help. Telling yourself or someone else who is depressed to shake it off is the equivalent.
It’s time to start a little selfcare revolution with your emotional health. It’s good for all of us, depressed or otherwise.