Overcoming Depression

We have all been there.  Things in our lives are not working out like we thought they would, and everything seems harder to deal with some days.  Maybe you have a boss who is driving your crazy, or a spouse who doesn’t seem to understand you anymore. Or perhaps your children seem so out of control you want to pack your bags and head on a mini vacation all by yourself.  No matter what problems people have, there are many choices. 

Some people choose to deal with the problems as they arise, and find solutions that work for everyone. If you fall into that category, congratulations, because you are in the minority these days.  According to medical researchers, the vast majority of the adult population in the United States admits to being overwhelmed a few times a week by various problems. And those problems, if left untreated, can lead to sadness and even depression.

Let’s clarify what depression really means. When a person has occasional periods of feeling sad or blue, that is not depression. But when a person has feelings of overwhelming sadness for at least two weeks or more, that is classified as depression. Most people who are depressed will find it difficult to experience joy in their lives, or to even participate in their daily activities. They will probably also feel run down and wonder where their energy got to, but at the same time, may experience problems with sleeping. 

People who are depressed may also lose interest in eating and throughout the day will have an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and doom. They will feel as if their lives are slowly spinning out of control…and they are at a loss as to what to do about it.

The New York Times states that about one-third of people with depression have an alcohol problem, and statistics provided by the University of Utah show that 27 percent of people who have major depressive disorder have a drug addiction as well. Escaping your depression by drinking or using illegal drugs is never the answer.  Sure, you may get a short term reprise from your negative feelings, but in the end, when it is all said and done, you will most likely develop an addiction to the drug of your choice.  Depression is a treatable mental health condition, and once you seek help for your problems, you will be on the path to creating a new life for yourself.

The first step is to understand the symptoms of depression, which include:

  • A feeling of sadness that won’t go away
  • A loss of interest in your normal activities
  • Feeling frustrated or irritable to the point you can’t cope
  • Loss of sex drive
  • A change in your appetite
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feeling tired, and a lack of energy throughout the day
  • Feeling anxious about things that never seemed to bother you before
  • Low self-esteem
  • Thinking about death, dying and even suicide.

If you are depressed there are some steps you can take that may help you. Keep in mind that not everyone who suffers from depression will react to the same ideas on how they can begin to feel better. Go through the list below and carefully consider taking action steps today. If one idea doesn’t suit you, try another one.

Medical researchers suggest trying some of these actions to help a person overcome depression:

  • Take a deep breath and realize you are not alone – if you are feeling sad or blue, the worst thing you can do is to be by yourself. Contact a friend or family member and go out for coffee, or a walk through the park. Just being around other people can often times break a sad mood.
  • Force yourself to laugh – laughter truly is the best medicine, so watch a funny movie, TV show or You Tube video that makes you smile.       Or find a humor book at the library or bookstore. People who laugh a lot rarely find time to be depressed.
  • Get up and get moving – exercise is another great way to overcome depression. When you are physical, your body and mind react in positive ways.
  • Find an activity you once enjoyed – if you always enjoyed knitting, but felt too sad to work on a knitting project, jump in and force yourself to complete one. If you like to garden, but haven’t been outside in awhile, open the door and start working on those weeds. You will be glad that you did!
  • Stop being so hard on yourself – “Let it Go” should be your theme song.       Stop beating yourself up for past decisions or situations you may find yourself in. Every problem has a solution, and it starts with “letting it go.”

If you feel as if you may be suffering from depression, seek professional help.  Your family physician can help you diagnose depression, which is a medical condition and nothing to be ashamed of.