How to overcome Depression?

If you are suffering from depression or someone else in your family is suffering, do read this post till the end. This post in a comprehensive way, will cover everything about depression management and overcoming depression. As a Life coach and counsellor , I get a lot of clients everyday who are on medications for depression and still they find it difficult to overcome it. In fact the medicines make them even worse than before.

This post or article is not about replacing medicines for depression. However it aims at making you self sufficient to generate the desire and will power which can help you out of depression. Medicines may be required as a protocol in severe critical cases but apart from medications, it is your inner power that can make a huge difference even if you want medications to work for you.

If you are already in depression or still trying to figure out more about your loss of interest or continuous sad feeling, this article will help you stay up-to-date with the latest information about depression, the myths and facts or even your frequently asked questions. The more you know about depression, the greater your chances to aid your own recovery.

A lot of times the side effects compel the patient to stop the medications midway which may lead to even worse side effects. Proper knowledge can help you overcome the challenges in the process with ease.Some people use psychotherapy in conjunction with medications for depression which is helpful to a great extent.

But this post is going to talk more about just medications and psychotherapy. We all know that medication and psychotherapy works wonders. Everyone does not have access to it and moreover it has a  stigma attached to visiting a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Because of this most people spend a large part of their lives living and suffering from depression.

Everyone has the right to be free of depression and this article is going to share with you the additional things and suggestions which you can follow to overcome your depression. This may include certain activities or exercises which are helpful for the same. In the following post I am going to share with you the step by step guide to overcoming your depression.So keep reading the entire article with full concentration, focus and patience.

Step 1: Knowing What is Depression?

Scientific research concludes that Depression is a Disease like any other disease of the body. Like Diabetes, Like Hypertension, Like Cancer, Like any pain in the body which has an underlying cause. People usually think depression as an attitude problem or a behavioral choice. They also compare it with being weak or a loser. This is nonsense.

Treatment and overcoming depression comes from the fact that you need to first accept it as it is. Accept that it is a disease like all other diseases. You contract any physical disease due to low physical immunity. In the same way depression is a mental disease that you contract if you have low emotional immunity. However depression can also be hereditary or in the genes and can make some people more prone than others. Sometimes you get depression due to no reason at all.

Facts about Depression

  • Worldwide Depression and other mental health disorders collectively affect more than 10% of the population which is approximately over 700 million.
  • Depression is the number one reason for Suicides worldwide.
  • Women are twice affected by depression than men.
  • Depression can reoccur again in life after getting treated.
  • More than half of the people lack awareness about their depression and most of them do not want to get treated due to stigma.
  • Depression can be caused by a trigger event in life or without any reason at all.

Depression in Men and Women Different

Men and women will have different symptoms of Depression. Women are at a higher risk of Depression. Many Biological, Socioeconomic and psychological factors affect the intensity of depression in men and women. Men usually show their feelings and aggression outward and women go into a shell and internalise the issue hence it becomes more challenging to treat depression in women.

Men usually use faulty cope up mechanisms like alcohol or drugs. They might also consider extra marital affairs or casual sex. They can become angry, irritable, frustrated or abusive.

Women, due to the elaborate roles and multitasking in their lives are twice prone to depression than men. This is majorly due to reproduction, hormonal changes, Past abuse, Hereditary, Parenting issues, Post pregnancy, managing household chores, managing work, quality of married life and many other challenges.

Specific Symptoms of Depression in Men

  • Blaming others
  • Anger and frustration
  • Irritability
  • Inflated Ego
  • Frequent Conflicts
  • Hurts when hurt
  • Demand Respect from others
  • Restless and less sleep
  • Need constant praise
  • Cannot accept weaknesses and shortcomings
  • Fear of failure
  • Over working 
  • Finding faults in others and expecting them to value them more
  • Self medicate by alcohol. Drugs, sex
  • Always think, do people love me?

Specific symptoms of depression in women:

  • Self blame
  • Sad, worthless, hopeless
  • Anxious and scared
  • Avoid conflict
  • Always thrice to be nice
  • Sleeps too much
  • Talks about own weakness
  • Uses food, friends, affection as self medication
  • Think that their problems can be better if they change themselves.
  • Low confidence and self esteem
  • Self haye, forgetting self care or grooming

General Symptoms of Depression

Some people experience no symptoms at all, some fever symptoms and some experience most of them. The following are a list of some symptoms of depression.

  • Feeling sad constantly for days or months
  • Frequent crying
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Drastic weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of sleep or excess sleeping
  • Feeling lack of energy or feeling aggressive
  • Feel self hate and lack of self worth
  • Feeling guilty all the time.
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Thought of ending life
  • Pain in the body which has no medical cause.
  • Constant headaches, digestive problems or not responding to medical treatment.
  • Feeling worrisome and anxious without any specific reason.

In case you feel suicidal you should immediately connect with an Online  suicide prevention helpline in your country.

Other options may include:

  • Avoid to stay alone at home
  • Avoid self harming thoughts and choose an activity you enjoy
  • Watch a TV series which makes you Happy
  • Call a friend who can support you

Step 2: Understanding Types of Depression

  • Major depressive disorder is a condition where you get the above symptoms of depression consistently for 2-4 weeks. A person may feel disconnected with others and no urge to do any activity.
  • Dysthymia is a depression of a lower nature which is less serious than Major depressive disorder. In this, the symptoms of mild nature are present in the time frame of 1-2 years like loss of appetite, overeating, low confidence, lack of concentration, hopelessness and lack of energy.
  • Manic Depressive Disorder is caused by another psychological disorder named Bipolar. It involves an increase in energy and agitation in certain episodes. The main reason could be family history.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is being irritated or feeling low due to seasonal changes like winter, rains, summer etc.
  • Depression is also caused as a result of people who have addiction issues and in this case we have to fight two demons.
  • Many people can suffer depression due to poor health issues that are consistent in their lives. This can make disease recovery more difficult.

Step 3: Understand Causes of Depression

  •  Depression simply means that the chemicals in the brain which control the thoughts, feelings and actions are out of sync.
  • Some people are more prone to depression than others which depends on the family history of depression.
  • Drugs or alcohol can bring chemical changes in the brain.
  • Certain ups and downs in life or major stressful events which the person is unable to cope up may lead to depression like the following.
  • Problems in family or Married life
  • Problems in job or career
  • Consistent physical illness
  • Natural calamities
  • Victims of crime
  • Financial problems
  • Death of loved one
  • Old age
  • Financial loss
  • Chronic or terminal life illness.

Step 4: Myth Busting

Depression is not thinking or attitude problem

  • If you are depressed it does not mean you are weak. It is a disease and needs treatment like any other diseases.
  • You are not to be blamed for depression. No one should be blamed. It’s just unfortunate.
  • If you have depression, It is not your fault. So please have acceptance.
  • Some people tell you to be strong and get out of depression because they think that you choose depression. This is not true.
  • Depression is treatable with medications along with counselling, talk therapy or psychotherapy.

Step 4: Consider Medications

What are antidepressants?

  • Medications for depression start showing results within 4-8 weeks.
  • The main issue is that people stop taking medications as soon as they start seeing some minor changes in theri depression which leads to untreated depression.
  • In some cases people show no patience and feel the meditations are not working , so they discontinue too soon.
  • It is strictly advised to talk to your doctor before stopping any medications midway to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • A suggested course of 3 – 9 months is found to be most effective  to prevent depression from coming back.
  • Antidepressants pose a risk of reactions when mixed with your existing medications.
  • Alcohol and drugs along with antidepressants stop them from showing any visible effects.
  • Your doctor may suggest certain lifestyle and food changes with certain types of antidepressants.

Side effects of medications?

  • Medications can cause low to mind side effects which are temporary in nature.
  • It is good to share it with your doctor so that the dosages can be tweaked.
  • For a dry mouth take regular tips of water.
  • For constipation- Increase your fiber content.
  • For bladder problems communicated with your doctor.
  • Blurred vision can occur temporarily
  • Dizziness can slightly slow you down.
  • If you feel drowsy, avoid driving or other work.
  • For headaches over the counter painkillers could hjelp.
  • Nausea can be caused temporarily.
  • Insomnia could be the cause, so it needs tweaking in dosage.
  • If you feel agitated, consult your doctor.
  • Sexual problems like loss of libido are temporary.

Step 5: Recognize Thought Patterns

As we discussed earlier one of the major reasons of depression is stressful events in life and our inability to cope up with them. Coping up skills help a lot to avoid negative thought patterns and hence prevent depression. Certain unproductive thought patterns cause us to personalise the problem and hence feeling depressed.

  • People often use the example of a glass half full or half empty. However simple this example it greatly proves how our vision towards things can make us feel. We can choose to feel unlucky, hopeless or choose to feel blessed.
  • If you look at your life as a whole you will notice that out of 10 if there are 8 things to cry for, there will be at least 2 things that you can count as blessings in your life.
  • Not every time , everything bad happens with you. SOme days are bad, some months or some years. People don’t usually have a bad life. Compare the time frame from when you were born and you will find that so many good things happen to you.
  • Trying to think of the possibility of positive change in your life can actually ring the same. Continuing to feel depressed, you will have too little hope for a good future.
  • Even spirituality and law of attraction says that whatever we expect good or bad can expect the results to a great extent because like energies attract similar circumstances.
  • An Exercise: Take a pen and paper and make two columns – Bad and good. Write down the bad and good experiences respectively, the positives and negatives of your life and the good and bad you find about yourself. Read both of them and write down how to feel.
  • A counsellor can also help you recognize negative and unproductive thoughts and help you with tools to change them.
  • They can help you with better coping mechanisms and better ways of thinking or looking at the problem.

Step 6 :Change Thought Patterns

  • Some events in life lead to you thinking too much and most of it is negative thinking. These negative thoughts create feelings and these feelings lead to actions.
  • It is very important to recognize your thoughts to avoid dictating your feelings and actions.
  • We make it a habit to feel and react to our negative thoughts. Identify the thought and rationally and critically find out whether it is justified or no.If not change the thought and replace it with a more rational and productive thought. In this way your feelings can change.
  • You will spend the same amount of energy to say – I will do better next time or say – I am a failure, I will never succeed. Change your perspective about yourself and a big change can happen.
  • If you look at your failures, make it a point to see your success too. If you criticise yourself for failures, then appreciate success too. If you hate yourself for your mistakes then love yourself for the good you have done in the past. Be true to yourself.
  • A bad day , A bad hour, A bad Week , A bad Year – All of these are just very small chapters in your giant life.
  • Don’t blame when things don’t happen your way – Sometimes there is a higher purpose and sometimes you need to tweak your actions plan. In either causes there is no benefit of blaming yourself.
  • Avoid absolutes. Your life is not all good and it is not all bad. There is grey matter too. Recognize the transition.

Step 7: Feel Good Activities

  • The best way to combat depression is to change your schedule to include different things.
  • Make a daily routine – Proper timings for everything. Sleep and wake timings.
  • Include work time and “me” time.
  • Include activities that you enjoy or love doing everyday.
  • Avoid activities or routine that irritate you
  • Pay attention to what really keeps you happy inside and do more of it.
  • Focus on the present moment.
  • Express inner feelings and displeasures by writing in a book.

Step 8: Stay Active

  • Make physical activity a part of daily life
  • Regular walk or some kind of exercise
  • Gardening or take care of some plants
  • Have a pet and go for a stroll
  • Listen to music or play an instrument
  • Meditate and pray daily
  • Find a relaxing hobby and do it everyday.
  • Spend time with a close friend
  • Increase intake of daily sunlight
  • Avoid unhealthy coping techniques like alcohol or drugs.

Step 9: Diet Lifestyle

  • Avoid over eating
  • Have lots of fresh fruits
  • Have different types of vegetables
  • Avoid unhealthy shortcut diet plans
  • Eat 4-5 small meals a day from time to time.
  • Avoid excess fatty foods.
  • Avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine that increase anxiety and irritability.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Have a balanced nutritious meal including carbohydrates proteins and healthy fats.
  • Regular sleep timings – at least 7-8 hours of sound sleep
  • Try to sleep early and wake up early and see the morning sun.
  • Avoid too much physical or emotional stress before bedtime.
  • Meditate for 5 minutes before bedtime.

Eat a light dinner.

Step 10: Immunity from Depression

To prevent depression you need to take certain corrective measures in your life which should last a lifetime. Even without depression you need to follow these for optimum, healthy and productive living.

  • Always have a healthy support system. It can be friends or family
  • Consider visiting a counsellor for depression or to vent out emotions of day to day life stress.
  • Join a group of like minded individuals.
  • Take part in social activities.
  • Include spirituality in Life. Meditate daily. It can help you have a different perspective of your problems.

Conclusion

Being in Depression or trying to fight it can be sometimes challenging. Always try to feel motivated and keep faith that circumstances will change. If you have the faith and will power, depression is just a hurdle.With the help of medications, counselling and self belief, you will truly get out of depression.

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