According to mayoclinic.org …
“Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.”
There are many people that deal with this illness on a daily basis. In fact, the people that are the closest to you may be dealing with depression and you might not even have the slightest clue about it. People that deal with depression are the strongest people that I know. I say that because it takes so much energy just to handle everyday public activities such as (Work, Grocery Shopping, Errands, etc.). Being depressed alone is energy draining itself and just the fact that someone can still function and appear happy to outsiders when they are depressed is amazing and it takes strength to do that.
Outsiders don’t even know the half about depression.
• They don’t know how it starts as soon as you wake up in the morning.
• How you sit in the bed for countless minutes or hours wondering if life is even worth rising out of bed.
• How you don’t even want to wake up early in the morning, because you just wish that you could sleep the pain away.
• How your head hurts because of the millions of thoughts that ruminate in your mind.
• How sometimes, you don’t even know why you’re depressed, you just know that you’re sad
• How you want to get up and do something about it, but for some reason you can’t because your depression won’t let you
The list goes on and on, but yes depression is serious and someone who is not depressed may not see it that way. They might say, “Just get over it.” or “Cheer up.” but they don’t understand that it’s more complicated than that. Depression can stem from a wide range of things such as chemical imbalances, traumatic experiences, substance abuse, and many more factors, so to say “Just get over it” is not going to help in any way because most times you can’t just get over it and sometimes you don’t even know the reason why you’re feeling that way.
The best way to help someone who is going through depression is just to be present with them. Most of the time they may not even know why they are feeling the way they are feeling and you may not know what to say to them. Being present will let them know that you value them even in times of despair. Sitting with them even through times of silence shows that you care. They don’t necessarily want to always talk about it, they just need to know that someone cares enough to be there with them when they’re feeling low.
There is not a set amount of time for depression to come or go. A depressive episode can range anywhere from a few days to a few years. There is no way to tell how long an episode may last. Symptoms of depression are as follows…
• Loss of interest in usual activities
• Mood swings
• Sleep problems
• Social Isolation
• Suicidal thoughts
• Lack of or excessive appetite
I have found myself depressed at times and I found out that not having anything to look forward to only deepened my depression because I felt I was sitting and overthinking things. So I started planning out my days so that I would have something to look forward to. Planning things for the future gives me hope and it helps that I have something to do versus just sitting around drowning in my thoughts. Having an idle mind leaves space to overthink. Having something to look forward to can eliminate some of those negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts. Just something as simple as going on a walk, getting fresh air and sunlight, going for a ride, or visiting a relative would help me feel better.
I also found that if I had many things to do in a day then I would just feel overwhelmed and likely sit around procrastinating doing nothing at all. So basically if I had too much to do or too little to do, it would make me depressed. It helps to have a balance in your life. You want to at least be actively doing something during the day, but you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with so many activities at the same time.
This is where time management comes in. I started planning out my days so that I have everything written out in front of me. I know exactly how much time I have to get this or that done or to just have fun. This helps alleviate stress tremendously because I won’t spend time rushing things because I procrastinated.
Is it still a little challenging?
Yes, it is because even though my days are planned out, doesn’t mean that everything is going to go as planned. I still struggle sometimes to get out of the bed, even when I know I have the whole day planned out. Staying in bed late offsets the whole day that I planned out and I end up having to rearrange things for that day. That’s enough motivation to start getting up early (lol). I have to actually put in work, I can’t think that everything is going to magically happen perfectly just because I planned it. That’s where my mindset comes in. Some days I have to push past the depression. Somedays I have to act as though I’m not even depressed. I tell my mind that I’m not and I act as though I’m not so that I can get things done. That’s also speaking it into existence because I know there will come a day when I’m not depressed.
Making a habit of time management and planning activities to look forward to has helped diminish my depression tremendously. It’s definitely not how it used to be. It’s barely there now. When it does try to creep up I have to tell myself I’m only human, I’m going to make mistakes and everyday is not going to be perfect but learning how to manage it is making all the difference.
Note: I am in no way a Dr. and reading this blog cannot determine a diagnosis of depression. I just have real life experiences with dealing with depression. If you feel that you or someone else may be depressed, please go to a Dr. to be diagnosed.