Have you ever felt immense burden because you have to live through another day? Are you counting your days down to nothing in particular? Do you feel a lot of weight holding your shoulders down and keeping your productivity low? Are you filled with a lot of negativity and sadness? You can have some days like that because everyone feels sad once in a while, but if you have caught yourself feeling that way for a really long time you could be depressed.
So what is depression?
It is the feeling of an impending doom, or living in sadness for a really long time that can affect your daily activities and routine. It can come off as irritability or anger in most cases. Depression might seem like a long black cloud of sadness and nothing else, but there is a lot more to it. About 13% of Americans take anti-depressants every day. And this number is on the rise across the world as we progress into a more connected and advanced world that is forcing us to run a rat race.
Let's list some symptoms of depression to understand it better.
Helplessness - a lot of times when you are upset or ill, you may lose hope in yourself, but you at least think that someone else will be able to help you. However, when depressed, you even lose that hope of anyone else being able to help you.
Loss of interest - whether it's your favourite activities or daily chores, you just find it extremely difficult to leave your bed and do anything.
Insomnia - you lose sleep because you are so upset that that's all you can think about all day and all night long. Loss of sleep will soon show its effects during the day causing disorientation and lethargy.
Self-loathing - if you can't figure out what is the reason behind this sadness you're feeling, you will soon start hating yourself. Thinking you are worthless, a burden on everyone and you will feel guilty for every small mistake you make, such that these feelings are out of the ordinary.
Physical symptoms - your stomach could churn all the time, your feet could hurt and you could experience a sinking feeling inside.
Depression also has many types that we should be aware of. Following is a list some types of depression.
Major depression - it usually occurs as one long episode in people's lives or can have recurring appearances. Studies suggest that this kind of depression lasts for about 6 months.
Mild depression - also known as dysthymia can be understood as a thin blanket of depression that can go unnoticed but lasts longer than the period of major depression. What I mean by a thin blanket is that it can be misunderstood as a nature or natural state of the person who is depressed.
Bipolar depression - this has the symptoms of major depression but its effects are spread on a spectrum. The person could feel very hyperactive and lose concentration for a while but after a week or so could become very disinterested and lethargic.
Seasonal affective disorder - as the name suggests, this type of depression is directly related with the kind of season. Usually, the depression begins in winter months when the days get shorter and wanes by the time summer is around. But in many cases it can be the opposite and summer can bring sadness.
Now that we have explored the causes, symptoms and types of depression, we should conclude by briefing ourselves with some ways in which we can tackle depression on our own.
Ask for help - while depressed, you could feel like you are a burden on the people around you, but you must remember that your loved ones are only around because you are important to them. So you should reach out to them and ask them to help you through the difficult phase of your life.
Stay busy - you will feel like not doing anything for days on end but you should force yourself to maintain your routine and keep a healthy social life. Your interaction with others will invariably help you out.
Exercise - if you are feeling anger, guilt and helplessness, channel all that negative energy into exercising and learn a new sport or do something you like because physical exertion will keep your appetite up and maintain your health.
Eat Healthy - to heal yourself and recover from your sadness you need to eat a balanced diet with a good amount of healthy fats and carbohydrates to keep your feel good hormones nourished. Starving yourself is not the solution to any problem.
Depression, even though it can feel like a black presence looming over your shoulder, it can be fought. Don't give up the fight.