How do I deal with depression?
Some background, some drama
Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression" to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness. The normal ups and downs of life mean that everyone feels sad or has "the blues" from time to time. But if emptiness and despair have taken hold of your life and won't go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better.
Do’s and Don’ts
In most cases of depression, the best approach involves a combination of social support, lifestyle changes, emotional skills building and professional help. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to deal with depression.
- Ask for help and support. If even the thought of tackling your depression seems overwhelming, don’t panic. The key to depression recovery is to start small and ask for help.
- Make healthy lifestyle changes.
- Cultivate supportive relationships. If you don't have anyone in your life to support you, learn how to reach out and make friends with people.
- Get regular exercise and sleep.
- Eating healthy will help you to naturally boost your mood.
- Learn to manage and tackle stress.
- Practice relaxation techniques regularly.
- Challenge negative thought patterns and try positive affirmations.
- Build emotional skills to give you the ability to cope and bounce back from adversity, trauma and loss.
- Seek professional help. There are many effective treatments for depression, including therapy, medication and alternative treatments.
- Don't delay treatment for depression. The longer depression exists, the harder it is to cure.
- Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You don’t have to be alone. Trained professionals/counsellors can help you.
- Don't settle for less than aggressive treatment of depressive symptoms. The goal is complete return of well-being.
- Don't just treat depression. You also need to also specifically combat the risk of heart disease and other medical issues.
Depression is not a trivial thing. It is a real illness that should be treated and cared for just like any other illness. Just because depression isn't necessarily physical does not mean that it is something that can be overcome through sheer willpower. Depression is a real medical condition, not something to feel ashamed of because you don't think you have a reason to be sad. Seek help and treatment.