Depression is a word that is easy to read but very tough to understand. One may never know when mild unhappiness takes up the gigantic form of depression. And not surprisingly, one may never come to know that one is suffering from depression. The reason for this is its pseudo and overlapping symptoms.
Depression is nothing but a complicated and long-lasting form of sadness or unhappiness. When a person is depressed, the first thing he starts doing is over-thinking. He will start entertaining all types of negative thoughts. The logic will move out of the frame, and emotional outrage will dominate the thoughts and actions alike. One will start feeling more lonely, helpless, and unworthy.
Phases of Depression
People can rarely figure it out when their grief and sadness assume the monstrous form of depression. But expert therapists and psychiatrists, out of their experience, have roughly attempted to figure out the various phases of depression.
- Phase-I:- The strong feelings of denial and isolation start to consolidate out of extreme sadness or grief. Such feelings are hard to ignore, but people generally ignore them on the pretext that these will heal with time.
- Phase-II:- Gradually, the feeling of isolation and sadness is replaced by the feeling of extreme anger. The anger sets in because one can no longer endure the pain of sadness or grief. At the same time, one grows unhappy and sick with the world itself. This adds fuel to the already burning feeling of anger.
- Phase-III:- Now, the mind moves in a kind of bargaining state to counter the negativities which the emotional crisis is feeding it. The mind starts revealing all the negative aspects of your personality, and you try to negotiate and replace them with positive thoughts. It is the last phase where one can control oneself from slipping into severe depression.
- Phase-IV:- Here, the feeling of dejection is very strong. One feels worthless and undeserving. They feel that there is no purpose in their life now. Suicidal thought starts to take deep roots in one’s mind. One can sense that one is walking on a lonely path with no one to guide. The feeling of isolation is extremely strong.
- Phase-V:- This is the last phase of depression. Here the feeling of acceptance sinks in. One starts accepting that one has a mental disorder or depression. The reality strikes hard, and the sadness increases manifold.
Causes of Depression
Various reasons can cause a state of sadness. For someone, scoring less in an exam can be sad. At the same time, for the other one, death or accident in the family would lead to an unhappy state of mind. Thus, the factors that cause depression differ from person to person. Some of the common factors are discussed below:-
Imbalance in Brain Chemicals
Depression occurs when there are abnormalities and imbalances in the brain chemicals. Experts believe that the changes in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin causes sadness and depression. It takes millions and billions of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters to cause depression.
Like most diseases, depression too can pass on from generation to generation. If any of your relatives have depression, there are all possibilities that you too will have depression. A family history of depression may put one at a higher risk of getting depression.
Certain Life Events
Certain events such as losing loved ones, unemployment, not getting success, or pre-planned things going awry can be traumatic experiences. They not only make us feel sad but also make us feel helpless. This may cause a depression that may turn severe in no time.
Certain Medical Conditions
Certain chronic and fatal diseases such as Cancer, Hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, and Parkinson’s can cause depression. The pain and grief these diseases make one go through worsen the depression to a greater extent. Most people who suffer from such ailments die more of suicide than the actual disease. Here, depression gets the better half of the patients.
Use of Certain Medicines
Several hard medicines used to cure chronic diseases have depression as one of the main side effects. Thus, continuous intake of such medicines will further complicate and deepen the feeling of depression in a person. Many recreational drugs and alcohol are known to worsen depression further.
The Warning Signs of Depression
- Eating too little or too much.
- Drastic fluctuations in the weight of a person.
- Feeling exhausted.
- Changes in sleeping patterns.
- Rapid decrease in the productivity of a person.
- Feeling sad and unhappy for weeks at a stretch.
- Not enjoying doing things that one enjoyed doing in the past.
- Find it hard to concentrate and think reasonably.
- Find it hard to make balanced decisions.
- Mind being flooded with suicidal thoughts.
How To Conquer Depression?
Depression is like an uninvited guest. It comes without telling and never says to go back. Thus, conquering depression can be a challenging task altogether. While the medicines and therapies provide fast relief, they can pose some serious complications in the later stages of one’s life.
Following are some of the natural ways to fight depression and lead a healthy life –
Keep Yourself Occupied
Depression worsens when one puts a lot of time into overthinking and self-talk. So, to avoid depression, one should keep oneself busy. Get into a fixed routine as early as possible and stick to it without getting yourself exhausted.
Keeping yourself busy will keep the negative thoughts away and will help you feel positive vibes. Taking short breaks at regular intervals will also improve one’s concentration and efficiency.
Set Short and Realistic Goals
One feels sad when the desired goals and ambitions are not achieved. Most of the time, people try to achieve unrealistic goals. For example, a fish can’t climb a tree, no matter how hard it tries. Similarly, a person will certainly only get failures if he tries to achieve ideological goals.
Thus, it is important to keep realistic and short goals to counter depression. A person cannot end up running a thousand miles in a single day. One can easily complete it by running a mile or two each day. This will keep an individual motivated and positive.
Exercising is a great way to reduce stress and depression. Exercising makes you relaxed and happy because it releases a happy hormone called endorphins. This hormone improves neuro transmitting greatly, making one optimistic about coming events. This helps in building self-confidence and improves the overall physical. Mental and psychological well-being. In addition, exercising will also help you sleep faster as the body will be tired while doing exercise or playing games. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to exercise or aren’t sure where to start, working with a personal trainer can be a great way to get started. A personal trainer can help you develop a personalized exercise plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can also teach you proper form and technique to help prevent injury and maximize the benefits of each exercise. Work with a personal trainer to get the most out of your exercise routine and achieve your fitness goals.
Do Something That You Enjoy
When suffering from depression, one should do only those things that interest one. While some like to play sports or go on a long vacation, others may like to watch television or follow their hobbies. One can also visit their friends, grandparents, or their native hometowns or can simply go through photo albums to get happiness and solace of mind.
This naturally pulls one back from the depression and fills one with positive vibes. The depressed person would realise that there are people around who value, love and respect them unconditionally.
Try Learning New Skills
Doing the same thing again and again could turn out to be monotonous. This may result in a lack of interest in doing that thing. And once interest is lost, productivity will be largely hindered. This will cause one to get sad and then angry, slowly slipping into depression.
Thus, to counter depression, one should try learning new skills. One can try learning a new language, a particular sport, a new dish in cooking, and public speaking. The experts highly advise taking gardening as a hobby to fight depression. It will help one closely observe the growing plants and correlate their stages of life with that of oneself.
Several studies have proven that there is a direct link between our mood and our food. Although no specific diet can guarantee instant relief from depression, experts suggest some that ease depression. Eating food rich in protein and complex carbs helps boost the happy hormone called serotonin. This is largely done by the amino acids present in complex proteins such as chicken and tuna fish. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good antioxidants that help the body rejuvenate and relax.
Getting Enough Sleep
Having a proper and good sleep helps relax, calm and rejuvenate your mind. Not having enough sleep causes stress, inactivity, and depression in the longer run. One appears clumsy, exhausted, and ill if not sleeping enough.
And when one is suffering from depression, one has a problem finding sleep or sleeping for the whole day at a stretch. Thus, to fight depression, one should get enough sleep. For an adult, sleeping for at least 7 hours a day is necessary.
But sometimes, even with the lights off and the room pitch black, it is still difficult to sleep. Your eyes remain wide open and take everything in the room. One way to help you shut your eyes is to wear a sleep mask. By doing this, you can keep them from wandering until you finally fall asleep. Invest in the most comfortable sleep and eye mask, so you can finally get the deep, relaxing sleep you deserve.
These days mobile phones are the biggest hindrance to getting good sleep. So it is advisable not to use them at least for one hour before going to sleep.
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Standing Up to Your Responsibilities
When depressed, a person tries to detach oneself from society and be alone. They start running from their official and household duties and responsibilities. This further worsens the situation as then the depressed people pick up fights easily. So, the easiest way to fight depression is to face your responsibilities.
It may be tough, but try to hold on. Support and help will come from one’s partner, family, boss, and colleagues. There are high chances that they understand your problem and applaud your efforts. Running away from your responsibilities will make matters worse.
Express Yourself in Writing
When a person is going through depression, he is facing mixed emotions. Frequent mood swings and aggressiveness are the dominant features of one’s personality.
Times will come when one will completely isolate oneself and will not open up in front of others. Maintaining a private journal and routinely writing it can help in such a scenario.
When a person is in depression, he goes through many pain and apprehensions. This makes them feel heavy at heart and even cry at times. So, when a person writes down in a private journal, one feels light at heart and much more relaxed. Also, while expressing yourself on paper, the reason will automatically come at work. And as one would move to conclude their writing, surprisingly, he will realise that the problem largely stands solved.
Grief vs. Depression
Even though depression is an extended version of grief, both are very different.
- While grief is for a short period and often comes at irregular intervals, depression is usually a deepened feeling of grief that lasts for at least two weeks at a stretch.
- In grief, self-esteem and confidence are well maintained. But, in depression, thoughts like self-worthlessness and being undeserving are common.
- In grief, one may feel the pain of the deceased loved one and may for a moment fantasise about joining them by dying. But, in depression, strong and continuous thoughts of ending one’s life are common due to the feeling of worthlessness and self-hatred.
The diagnosis of depression is difficult, but not its treatment. Whether mild, moderate, or severe, all kinds of depression are completely treatable.
One may move towards medications and therapies to get faster results. Today there are many antidepressants available to fight depression of all types. But let me caution my readers that it is not necessary that an antidepressant doing wonders for your friend will do the same for you. So, it is necessary to understand what will suit you best.
Also, there are many therapies, such as Electroconvulsive Therapy, Interpersonal therapy, among others. These therapies are provided to people who are suffering from severe depression. These people suffer from suicidal thoughts or try harming themselves. Psychiatrists and therapists use these therapies to provide instant relief and accordingly save their lives.
But, here, it is important to note that such medications and therapies come with drawbacks and complications. Their use in the long term can be problematic for the patients. They may become short-tempered, have a problem remembering things, and even die of further complications.
Thus, conquering depression through natural methods should be the priority. Medications and therapies should only be used as the last option available.