Posted by Dr A in | 1/13/2016 No comments

Feeling low or sad can be a natural, short-lived reaction to a loss, struggles of life, a substance (drug side effect) or a medical condition.

Depression, on the other hand is loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed along with an intense depressed mood with feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness most of the day, daily for atleast about two weeks.

Some of the other important features include:

  • Significant weight gain or loss (without any special diet adjustments).
  • Lack of sleep or excessive sleep.
  • Behavioural changes like agitation or slowed down.
  • Feeling fatigued most of the time.
  • Feeling of extreme guilt and worthlessness. 
  • Decreased ability to think, concentrate and make decisions.
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicide and attempts of suicide.
  • Great distress and difficulty in functioning in daily life e.g. at home or at work.

Luckily depression is treatable. A mental health professional can help you feel better again with medications, psychotherapy, exercises and brain stimulation therapy whichever is applicable to you.

The key factor that usually repeats the episodes of depression is the impact of the negative thoughts.

How can you help yourself from falling into this dark pit called depression?

Depression is a double edged sword with both its causes and effect having roots from psychosomatic factors.

However, the key factor that usually causes its repetition is the impact of the negative thoughts clouding the individual’s thinking ability. Below are some of the techniques you can adopt to overcome such thoughts. Mind you,  it is not an easy task to do away with these thoughts but practice makes perfect.

The first steps in any mental disorder are the most difficult ones but also very crucial for the individual's recovery.

Insight and help seeking behaviour are the cornerstones of the well being of any mentally disturbed patient. By insight, I mean the ability to accept the knowledge that "I am mentally unwell, whatever I feel and experience is not the sole reality and that I need help." Seeing a mental health professional doesn't make you 'crazy' as the common belief goes. It simply means that you need someone who knows how to pull you outta this deep dark hole. While most people may not be able to understand your worries and experiences, a psychiatrist or a psychologist knows exactly what you go through.

Depression is a quicksand that keeps pulling you down the more you struggle alone. It is best to calm down, reflect on your situation and seek external help. Talking to the closest person to you often helps. Express your doubts, worries and fears. Don't be afraid of being ridiculed. If the person is close enough they can see what you going through and help you out.

Seek company of positive people. Those who are always optimistic and cheerful can uplift your mood.

Spend free time doing things that you enjoy. This will give you less time to think and sink further. Take a walk with your pet, revive your old hobbies, join a yoga class or practice meditation, enjoy music and dance along, you can even cook a new dish!

When depressed, it's common to go to extremes of anything.  Take control over your habits. Say you don't need to overdo or underdo things. Eat well, sleep well, exercise and keep yourself fit and smart. Avoid indulging into smoking and alcohol consumption as this makes your situation worse. A good make over boosts self confidence. Pamper yourself.

Group discussion on how others with similar problem overcame theirs is another way of sharing your burden and learning new ways of combating it. It's always good to remember that you are not alone.

If you are having suicidal, destructive or violent thoughts or thoughts of harming others, you should immediately seek medical attention. Mental health professionals are the right people to help you recover and gain back the control over your life.

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