How to deal with depression

This surely is a difficult topic, but I find it extremely important to spread knowledge about it. In this article, we’ll explore strategies to deal with the most common of mental illnesses.

To know more about depression itself, read this article which I previously wrote about symptoms, definition and perception of depression in our society.

This is a little guide in ten steps on how to deal with an enemy as depression:

  • Reach out for help. This is really important: don’t try to overcome depression by yourself. You deserve help and acceptance. Get into therapy, look for a good psychologist and talk to them about your problem. Talking to someone who’s there to listen to you is the first step to heal.
  • Forgive yourself. You weren’t able to get that mark you wanted because you felt too exhausted to study. You know what? That’s ok. Your mental health comes before your grades, before your job, before standards.
  • Rest when you need to. You see your friends partying all the time and your collegues working so hard, while you can’t help but sleep. That’s fine, you’re fighting a hard battle, fighting depression asks for a lot of energy.
  • Don’t force yourself. If you don’t feel like going out today, it’s okay. You don’t have to prove shit to anyone, take your rest.
  • Remember that a bad moment shouldn’t ruin your whole day. If you lay in bed for three hours, that doesn’t mean you cannot grab your coat and go for a walk now. Remember that you are in control of your time.
  • Look for activities that bring you pleasure. It happens, at times, that what we enjoyed before depression doen’t seem that cool anymore now. That’s ok, we’re individuals that are made to move, to change. Try out new stuff, and spend time doing what you love. Here you can find a list of activities worth trying.
  • Apply the previous point to sex. If you’re sexually active, but don’t find pleasure in sex anymore, that’s also ok. You don’t have to force yourself into something you don’t feel like doing. Talk to your partner and look for new romantic activities to do together with them.
  • Reward yourself. Recovering from depression is like training to win a marathon: reward yourself for every extra mile.
  • Whenever you feel down, make lists of your qualities. Try writing a list of the things you’re capable of and pointing out at least ten qualities. Write another list and point out what you were able to achieve in your life and are proud of. Write a third list and add your goals for the future. Remember yourself why you want them so bad.
  • Remember you worth. You’re strong, brave and deserve the world. You will overcome this, reach your goals and have the life of your dreams. Don’t give up.

A look at depression

I’ve decided to write this article because of the fact that I was diagnosed with depression earlier in my life, and had to face a lot of stereotypes and difficulties regarding social awareness. Whether you’re the one suffering from it, or you’re looking this up to better understand a friend or relative, I think it’s important to spread information and acceptance of this mental illness.

First of all, what’s depression? It’s a medical illness, which negatively affects the way you think, feel and act.

It’s relatively common in our society: one in six people will experience depression at some time in their lives. On average, it first appears during the late teens to mid-20s, but it can strike at anytime.

The main symptoms of depression include:

  • feeling sad
  • loss of interest in activities that we once enjoyed
  • changes in appetite (eating too much or too little)
  • troubles sleeping or oversleeping
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • loss of energy
  • feeling worthless or guilty
  • thoughts of death and/or suicide

These symptoms have to last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression, and don’t have to be present all at once to indicate depression. If you find yourself in these symptoms, please don’t remain silent, talk about it with a loved one and ask for help.

If you have a loved one whom you suspect is suffering from depression, here are some steps you can take to help them.

What I find interesting is the impact depression has on people’s lives and the way they’re perceived by society.

So, who are depressed people? Are they dangerous? Are they annoying? Are they, in any way, different from the rest?

Depressed people are often people who don’t stand out, who are not dangerous and, most of the time, who are really clever. Depression affects the way people think and act, but doesn’t make the ones suffering from it any dangerous or annoying people. Here are some traits that people who suffer from depression usually have in common:

  • They lack energy: they will cancel plans and/or pretend they’re busy all the time to get a little bit of rest.
  • They lack motivation. They usually won’t be able to accomplish the goals they set, due to their lack of motivation.
  • They pretend they’re fine. Depressed people don’t like to admit that they’re feeling sad, and will make up excuses to justify their silent behaviour at times.
  • They have low self esteem. Depressed people don’t see themselves in a positive way, and therefore will make jokes about their personality and/or don’t believe in themselves at all.
  • They keep silent or point out really deep stuff. People who suffer from depression will most likely avoid deep conversations or have a huge part in them. They’re people who like to observe, and this will lead to them pointing out really interesting stuff or stay silent and keep it for themselves.

Apart from these points, which by the way aren’t common to all people suffering from depression, those fighting it are usual people. They’re fighting a battle inside themselves, that takes up energy, time and courage. If you have a friend who’s suffering from depression, remember it’s not that they’re lazy or cannot take things seriously: fighting depression in exhausting, and they’ll need your support at times. Don’t leave them alone in this battle.

Would you like to know more or have something else to share? Write it in the comments below.