“I feel so depressed today.”
“Stop feeling depressed over this trivial matter. You are crazy.”
‘Depression’ is a word that we toss off so easily these days while describing a bad day or a trivial argument with a friend. But, the explanation of depression is not that simplistic.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Simply put, it means feeling blue every single day to the extent that the people suffering from this disorder find it difficult to carry out the normal routine chores effectively. They find it difficult to get out of bed. Things that used to interest them earlier, no longer provide the same pleasantness. They find it impossible to be happy and difficult to concentrate. More so, they are likely to question their existence, so much so, that (in some cases) they feel that suicide is the best option to get rid of the monster of depression.
People suffering from depression are reluctant to seek help because the word ‘depression’ has negative connotations. People fear that they will be stigmatized or alienated if they open their hearts to someone about their depression. It only perpetuates their condition and makes the world an ‘unsafe space’ for them. So, it needs to be noted that we, as a society, unlearn our wrong notions about depression and the depressed. According to research by Qahtani (2017), community-based prevention programs to raise awareness about depression can be effective. Interventions should be aimed at educating people about depression and removing the stigma and stereotypes around depression.
HOW TO MANAGE DEPRESSION?
The answer to overcoming depression does not lie in taking antidepressants. There are some natural ways that you can resort to.
Albeit the list that follows isn’t exhaustive, it presents some of the doable and effective ways to manage depression.
- EXERCISE AND MEDITATE DAILY: Apart from providing health benefits, exercise boosts feel-good chemicals- endorphins. You don’t necessarily have to do some intensive workout. Walking, and mild to moderate workout would do. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can be powerful allies in helping you rewire your brain positively which will eventually ward off feelings of depression.
- QUESTION YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS: If you are suffering from depression, you have a distorted belief system that constantly pushes you to blame yourself or beat yourself up over something that’s not true. You can’t see anything remotely positive about yourself because your perception of yourself is skewed. If someone praises you, you find it hard to accept their praise because you feel you are not good enough. If you find yourself caught up in a cycle of negative self-talk, question your beliefs instead of leaping to wrong conclusions. Ask yourself questions like, “Is there any real evidence that I am a worthless person?”, “Is there really no one who loves me?” Writing down positive affirmations at times like these may help you remind yourself of your worth even though you can’t feel it. It’ll take time for you to fight your negative thoughts, but, with practice, you will find yourself in a better place.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP: People suffering from depression either sleep too little or they oversleep, which only makes the symptoms worse. You should try and get into a healthy sleeping routine. Eight hours of sleep is ideal. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For that to happen, you need to stay off your phone/laptop. Believe it or not, a night of adequate sleep helps counter depression.
- GET IN A ROUTINE AND TRY SOMETHING NEW: Depression can make you want to alienate yourself from the rest of the world. But, getting in a structured routine could help you feel in control. Getting on with your routine will give you a sense of accomplishment. Also, try doing something new. For instance, volunteer to teach the underprivileged kids in your neighborhood. Reaching out and helping people is a sure-shot way to improve your mental health. Trying something new alters the level of dopamine in the brain.
- SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP: You approach a doctor when you experience any symptom that poses a threat to your physical health. Likewise, you should approach a therapist and seek professional help when you are depressed. Sometimes, a listening ear is all you need to solve your problems.
Finally, yet importantly, know that depression does not make you any less of a person. More than anything else, you need to know that your support system (friends, family, and other trusted people) is there for you to help you manage your depression. Just go out there and talk it out with your loved ones. Know that you are surrounded by people who love you and care for you. You need to be kind to yourself, too because you are beautiful, regardless.