Living with Depression
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it.
- Biological differences – physical changes in their brains.
- Brain chemistry – changes in the function and effect of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and how they interact with neural circuits involved in maintaining
- Hormones – Changes in the body’s balance of hormones while pregnant and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum), thyroid problems, menopause, etc.
- Family history of depression.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
** Symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day**
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports.
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Tiredness and lack of energy.
- Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people.
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness.
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility.
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide.
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
- Certain personality traits – low self-esteem, being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic.
- Traumatic or stressful events – physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship or financial problems.
- Childhood trauma or depression that started when you were a teen or child.
- Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide.
- Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in an unsupportive situation.
- History of other mental health disorders – anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Serious or chronic illness – cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart disease.
- Certain medications – some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication)
COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH DEPRESSION INCLUDE
- Excess weight or obesity
- Pain and physical illness
- Alcohol or substance misuse
- Anxiety, panic disorder or social phobia
- Family conflicts, relationship difficulties, and work or school problems
- Social isolation
- Suicidal feelings, suicide attempts or suicide
- Self-mutilation, such as cutting
- Premature death from other medical conditions
- Stick to your treatment plan: Don’t skip psychotherapy sessions or appointments and don’t skip your medications.
- Learn about depression: Education about your condition can empower and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan.
- Pay attention to warning signs: Learn what might trigger your depression symptoms.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Take care of yourself: Eat healthily, be physically active and get plenty of sleep.
HOW TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE WITH DEPRESSION [1; 2]
- Exercise can help improve your mood by releasing natural endorphins in the body.
- Having a great support network, whether it be support groups or family and friends will help in improving your depression. Try not to isolate yourself.
- Develop a technique which can help you reduce stress when faced with it.
- Train your mind to stop negative thinking which can dampen your mood. Focus on what you are able to do and not what you cannot do.
- It has been said that having a pet can be therapeutic and has been seen to have mental health improvements.
- Keep yourself from falling into procrastination. This can be by finding a new hobby, schedule social activities, taking walks, take a class or join a club etc.
- Lack of sleep can worsen your depression. Make sure you get enough sleep, about seven to nine hours, every day.
- Getting some vitamin D can help with your mood.
- Try exposing yourself to 15 minutes of sunlight every day.
- Educate yourself about depression and know the warning signs to which you shall need to see a doctor
1. Schimelpfening, N. [Internet]. 8 Tips for living with Depression. America: verywell mind; [updated 2019
Jul 26; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-forliving-with-depression-1066834.
2. Husbands, J. [Internet]. Exercise can improve the quality of life in people with Depression. United
Kingdom: Psych Central; [updated 2018 Jul 08; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available
3. Scott-Mumby, K. [Internet]. Could Poor Quality of Life Cause A Misdiagnosis?. United Kingdom: Keith
Scott-Mumby; [update 2019; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://alternative-doctor.com/wpcontent/uploads/2014/10/Depositphotos_24970631_xs1.jpg.
4. Precision Fitness [Internet]. Depression and Exercise. America: Placentia Personal trainer
[updated 2014 Oct 3, cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: http://placentiapersonaltraining.com/2014/10/03/depression-and-exercise/.