Understanding Depression

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A staggering 15 million people in the USA suffer from depression each year, yet no one seems to want to talk about it… If 15 million people a year were diagnosed with another illness, it would be all over the news and people wouldn’t stop talking about it…

I know this posting is going to be long, “heavy” and uncomfortable for some, but it is so necessary

Let’s talk about it

When we talk about important issues like depression, suicide, or mental health, we remove a lot of the guilt and shame and stigma that has unnecessarily been associated with it for years

Everyone needs to know it’s a natural part of life that we are all going to experience at some stage in our life cycle

The cause and severity and duration of it differs from person to person, no two people are the same or will experience depression the same way

Two people can experience the same event (a death for example) and yet have two very different reactions to it and it’s experience, and that’s ok   Some people may deal with it on their own or within their immediate support group, others may need a little more help with it, and that’s ok too

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What is Depression?

Depression is a treatable medical condition

Depression is more than just being sad,” having The Blues” or having a bad day, being disappointed or degraded or in grief

Many people experience mild depression from life changing events such as

  • when they experience some sort of loss, a loved one, a pet or someone they know dies
  • they go through a divorce
  • illness
  • miscarriage
  • a separation
  • a job loss
  • severe trauma or stress,
  • when they experience bullying   etc
  • traumatic news or events – terrorism, mass shootings, mass casualty accidents
  • natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes
  • bereavement

Grief and sadness is a very normal (healthy) reaction to these events

If the sadness or depression persists more than
two weeks-a month, you may need to seek medical 
or clinical help (counseling etc)

Friends & Family of those with Depression:

If you care for someone experiencing depression,  they usually won’t ask for help.  Offer to call someone for them – a doctor or counselor that can help them, go to an appointment with them, pick them up and take them, even if they don’t want you to go in to the doctor or counselor with them, offer more than once but don’t be too aggressive or harass them about it…find out a local contact name, number, and address for them and leave it with them or even a website they can initially look up for help on their own time

Be present and available, sometimes a hug or someone to talk to or someone that will listen to them without interrupting or trying to “solve their problem” is all they may need, sometimes they just want to be acknowledged or be heard

Do not under any circumstances make an appointment without consulting the person involved first

Depression is a serious, debilitating condition, I by no means want to minimize it in any way, but I do want to make this point  …

We collectively as a society need to move towards creating a world where there is zero shame  associated with asking for help

If you have a problem with your car, you don’t hesitate to call a mechanic…if your roof is leaking, you call a roof repairman,…if you break your arm or leg, you go to a doctor

There should be no more or less stigma attached to someone who needs help with an emotional problem, or with depression or any mental health issue

If someone needs help, they need help!

We shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed asking for the help we need, it’s not a sign of weakness

It takes a great deal of strength and courage to admit you might need someone to help you with something like depression

We all need to realize Depression is a treatable condition

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SOLUTIONS

If you have experienced mild depression listed above, there are key things you can do to start on the road to recovery

  • cry, it’s necessary & it’s healthy
  • sleep as much as you need
  • eat well,  I know it’s on the bottom of your priority list, but you need to
  • talk with your friends & family
  • Get 30mins sunlight every day, your body produces vitamin D from UVB rays from the sun, it is a great mood enhancer
  • Go for a walk (or exercise)
  • supportive social contact, face to face not online, is essential for healing
  • make small changes, one step, one moment, one day at a time
  • consult your GP if you need further help or medication

 

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Depression-fighting foods

Eat well, even though you won’t feel like it, your body needs to heal as well as your heart

Make sure you step up on healthy omega 3’s, fish, herring, and tuna, salmon

Turkey – contains tryptophan that helps to fight depression, your body uses this to make serotonin (also found in chicken) which positively affects chemicals in your body

Brown rice, lean beef, sunflower seeds, and seafood are rich in selenium that fights free radicals in your body that can cause depression

Carrots  contain beta-carotene, which helps with depression, you can also get it from pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe

Clams and mussels have B12, a depression-fighting vitamin

Leafy green vegetables, lentils, lima beans, and asparagus are packed with folate, which is good for brain cells associated with depression

Milk and mushrooms provide vitamin D (as does sunlight) which is essential for mood control

Stay away from alcohol, sugar and white carbs, they can all have adverse effects on depression

If you don’t believe me, you can check these out on Webmd.com

MINDFUL MEDITATION:

Instead of focusing only on your depression or the events that may have caused it, you switch your mind over to a more peaceful meditative state and tune all those negative thoughts out, replacing them with thoughts of people, things and places that make you happy, make you feel calm, safe and loved

The best meditation is to sit and be totally still, be silent, be present but disengage from anything that is causing you sadness or pain

You can do this anywhere, anytime you feel stressed, sad, lonely, disappointed, scared, fearful, unloved, unwanted, abandoned, unsafe, anxious or lonely etc

Grief

Grief is the ultimate price we pay for love when someone we care about passes away

It is a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time and a necessary part of healing

You need to allow yourself time to grieve in order to be able to heal and move on from it

If you don’t acknowledge it, it can cause you illness, pain and immense suffering for years and rob you of the time you have here

Under uncomplicated circumstances, it can take two years to get over someone dying peacefully in their sleep, there are several phases of grief that you go through, they are normal and healthy and you really do need to go through them to be able to reconcile with losing someone you cared about…

The death of a child, the sudden death of a spouse, a sibling or parent, the death of someone who may have been murdered or taken their own life, can take a lot longer and may require outside professional help, counseling or medical intervention

Please seek help if you need it, there are people and resources available to you, there are grief counselors and support groups

You may not ever get over the tragedy, but you can find ways to live and deal with it

Your doctor is always a good place to start

Psychotherapy

  • Talking to a therapist can help with depression, they can teach you skills and techniques to show you how to  improve your coping skills

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  • Learn to develop personal coping strategies that target solving your current problem and changing unhelpful patterns in your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes & behaviors

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Depression in men can be very different to depression in women, similarly depression in younger people can be vastly different to depression in older adults

Clinical depression

  • is often caused by a chemical imbalance
  • can be a debilitating illness
  • sufferers experience intolerable emotion, unbearable pain
  • is severe sadness, grief, emotional pain or depression lasting more than two weeks

Symptoms can be different for each person, but most will experience:

  • Severe Depression or intense sadness, pain or grief that lasts every day for two weeks or more
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased Energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering things or not being able to make a decision
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • loss of enjoyment of things they used to like
  • Pessimism
  • Insomnia or Excessive Sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Appetite loss or sudden excessive eating
  • chronic pain, headaches, cramps or digestive issues
  • Feeling empty or worthless
  • severe mood swings
  • aggressive behavior
  • isolation from others

A staggering 15 million people in the USA suffer from depression each year, yet no one seems to want to talk about it… If 15 million people a year were diagnosed with another illness, or had a rash on their arm, it would be all over the news and people wouldn’t stop talking about it….

People who need the most help, seldom ask for it
Untreated depression increases the risk of addiction
It also can ruin relationships, cause problems at work, 
and make it difficult to overcome serious illness

GET MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY IF YOU or someone you know EXPERIENCES

  • thoughts of self harm or suicide
  • thoughts of harming others
  • Aggression, violence or impulsiveness
  • thoughts or feelings that people would be better off without them

HELP IS AVAILABLE

WITHIN USA:

Call

800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or

800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)

For the deaf hotline at 1-800-4889

  • Suicidal people are in immense emotional pain, they feel like no one “gets it”
  • Do not tell them to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘pull yourself together’
  • do not recite cliche’s, it could be counterproductive and push them over the edge
  • Do not minimize what they are feeling or going through
  • Do not ridicule or make fun of them
  • They are not looking for sympathy or attention
  • their pain is very real, not imagined
  • they are living a painful living hell every day

Surviving Family & friends of those who have committed suicide (& even health professionals) often ask WHY?

It’s important to understand

Often they don’t want to die or end their life, they just want their emotional pain to end

For every one suicide, hundreds of people are affected

  • their immediate friends and family
  • friends and family of those left behind
  • co-workers
  • family and friends of co-workers
  • extended family & their friends and family
  • neighbors
  • acquaintances

The list goes on and on, it is a chain reaction and believe me the grief is unbearable Despite what anyone says,  the pain and anguish of losing someone to suicide never goes away, surviving friends & family members just have to learn how to go on living.  It affects the very core of those left behind, and lasts a lifetime

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