Depression can be crippling. For the person who is experiencing low mood, sadness, thoughts of/or even self harming, it can be difficult to explain. Other signs of depression may include loss of appetite, little interest in doing things, inability to find joy in things you usually do and an overwhelming sense of fatigue.
For others who may be around the person who is experiencing depression it can equally be difficult to understand. For one, the person who is depressed may be ‘functioning depressed’ this means they are able get on with every day life as ‘normal’. On the other hand they may well have days where they are unable to get out of bed and become engulfed with a feeling of overwhelming sadness, or feel as though a ‘dark cloud’ is hovering over them, which almost becomes visible to those around them.
One thing is for sure, battling depression is not easy. But, with every battle that accumulates a war ensues, nonetheless, the war against depression can be won! For those who are experiencing depression its important that they know that they have the support of others around them. Whilst it may be difficult for others to understand, it is important to show compassion, be patient, and ensure that empathy is shared. Perhaps the thing of most importance is the ‘initial response’. Often when persons experiencing depression build up the courage to seek help, they often tell somebody in their friends and family network first. The initial response determines whether or not they seek further help (such as talking therapies, GP or doctor consultation). Often they will only tell a person ONCE. If the initial response is to trivilaise or ridicule the person who has opened up to you, for example by saying:
‘You’re not depressed, what have you got to be depressed about?’
‘Don’t worry, it will pass.’
the likelihood is that they may not seek help, and further internalise their emotions. From a public health perspective this is particularly true of persons experiencing post-partum/ post-natal depression, which of course can affect both parents up to two years postnatally. For others adverse events, trauma, abuse in childhood or adulthood, substance misuse, coming to terms with their sexuality and financial problems may also be a factor.
However, it is important to know that depression can be beaten. Here are a few tips that can help you beat depression:
- Speak to someone- talk to your doctor, arrange a consultation with your local talking therapies service, talk to a trusted friend or family member, or contact a charity (such as Mind or the Samaritans).
- Write it down- get yourself a notebook, write down your feelings. For every negative emotion or thought use a new sheet of paper. Once it is written down, tear it up and throw it away. This symbolic method of throwing your negative emotions or thoughts away will help to clear your mind.
- Follow positive groups on social media, that post positive messages about self love and affirming yourself such as Beautiful Trauma X
- Write down 5 affirmations and say them aloud daily. Five of my top affirmations are, ‘I am loved’, ‘I am positive’, ‘I am confident’, ‘I am not depressed’, ‘I am happy’. Cliche I know, but I promise you, say it daily. Saying them 2 or 3 times a day, and when you have a low moment will change your mindset!
- Do things you used to enjoy! If you enjoy writing or reading poetry join an English Literature class or attend an open mic session. If you enjoy art, buy some new art supplies and reignite that passion. If you enjoyed contemporary, street dance or ballet as a child or young person, see what classes are available for adults in your local area.
- Consume a balanced diet. A perfect blend of macro-nutrients will help to keep you alert and refreshed. Increase the amount of water that you drink (the recommendation is 2 litres per day). Decrease caffeine, which can leave you feeling even more fatigued than you were prior to drinking that cup of instant coffee!
- Learn to relax!
- Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! It’s a well known fact that exercise releases endorphins and reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Start of with some light cardio to begin with, walk 30 minutes 3 times a week and build up to a light jog. Not only will you feel great, you will also begin to see the physical benefits to.
- Finally, believe in you! There is nothing you can’t achieve, the secret is changing your mindset! I have so much more to say on this topic. I go into much more detail in my e-book, ‘The 90 Day Cleanse’ out soon!