Feelings such as sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, etc. are all a part of life and often temporary reactions to some event in life that fade away with the passage of time. However, when these depressing emotions last for a prolonged period such as weeks or months, and intensify with time, moreover, if along with such feelings, there is – lack of will to live life, disconnect from other people, unwillingness to socially interact, or a consistent gloomy feeling towards everything in general, etc. – then these could be indications of clinical depression – a curable medical condition. Even excessive stress and resultant symptoms are pushing people towards depression today. And anyone suffering from depression must call or should receive medical as well as personal care and attention.
In spite of the increasing developments in India, the awareness and acceptance of mental health in the country has only declined over the years. As per a WHO study, the estimated economic loss in India, between 2012 and 2030, because of mental health conditions is approximately $ 1.3 trillion. More so, as per statistics, clinical depression in India has risen by more than 50% over the last eight years. The National Crime Records Bureau reports states that 35 out of every 100,000 individuals in Bangalore, India – commit suicide due to depression. Even after the broadened mindset, depression and mental health are not talked about in the open in India, which creates a dire need to spread awareness so that people understand depression and know how to fight depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of depression vary from person-to-person; however, some of the most common symptoms that indicate depression are:
- A depressed mood all through the day, worse in the morning
- Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy
- Consistent feelings such as unworthiness, hopelessness, guilty, helpless, etc.
- Lack of will to do anything
- Lack of concentration and focus
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Sleep disorders – too much sleep or acute lack of sleep
- Lack of interest in life
- Unexplained anxiety
- Weight issues – sudden gain or loss
- Irritability throughout the day
- Eating disorders – lack of hunger or too much hunger
- Untreatable digestive disorders
- Sudden headaches, pains, cramps, etc.
- Feeling of sadness, emptiness or gloominess all throughout
- Outbursts of anger, frustration over small matters
- Slowed thinking or ability to respond
- Frequent mentions of sadness, death, suicide, pain, etc.
If these symptoms last for two weeks or more, there are chances a person might be suffering from clinical depression. That said, the intensity and the duration of the symptoms are subjective per case. Moreover, symptoms of depression can also be experienced in waves or patterns such as with fluctuations in seasons.
How to Fight Depression
Clinical depression is a curable problem and can be easily managed with attentive and personalized care through therapy/counselling, medications, and an individual’s own efforts. Some of the methods to fight depression are:
Getting professional help: The foremost thing to understand about depression is that it is normal to talk about it and one should accept the condition as is and seek professional help rather than struggling with the issue alone. Professionals such as a psychologist or psychiatrist are medically trained to provide care and medications for people who need help with depression. The professionals adopt methods such as talking, counselling, medications, and various other forms to treat the patient as per the condition.
Get into a routine: While it may seem almost impossible but then you must remember that a routine can help you find the lost motivation. People suffering from depression tend to while away time and more often like to spend idle time, lost in thoughts – whereas that may seem comforting, one should try to form a routine instead. Lists the tasks of the day, set timings and also undertake activities to keep you engaged.
Set goals: If you know where you’re headed, you are less likely to sway elsewhere. Moreover, a definitive goal adds meaning to life that seems to have been lost over time. Depression might make you feel unaccomplished or unable to do anything, but the feeling needs to be fought and has to be removed by setting smaller, realistic goals per day and ensuring you make all efforts to achieve them. Set easy goals for the beginning such as making a meal for yourself, going for a walk every evening for 30 minutes, etc.
Reward yourself: Rewarding has always worked positively for the human mind. Once you achieve the set goals or do something more fruitful, reward yourself with smaller things that could include a meal at your favourite restaurant, a small gift, a movie, or anything that makes you motivated to take up another day with enthusiasm.
Exercise: As symptoms of depression tend to get better, take up light exercise and then slowly push toward a good physical workout. The form of exercise can vary depending on the likeability such as yoga, gym, dance, walk, etc. Exercising boosts chemicals known as endorphins in the body that help you feel good, and also rewires the brain in a positive direction.
Eat Healthy: Try and overcome eating disorder symptoms by taking up healthy eating. Whether you tend to overeat or under-eat during depression, eating a healthy diet should help relieve the symptom. Get yourself a targeted individual diet plan and keep small goals such as protein intake, carbs limit, sodium reduction, iron level, etc. Healthy food tends to make the body feel rejuvenated and energetic.
Cure sleep disorders: If as a symptom of depression, you are suffering from insomnia, then you must ensure you get a night of good sleep by engaging in activities that help you sleep better such as physical workout, prayer, meditation, medications, calming theories, counselling, etc. And if you are the one who likes to sleep off the whole day if depressed, then ensure you schedule some activities for yourself to engage in during the day to avoid sleeping.
Take in responsibilities: It is important to stimulate the emotions of feeling self-worth in a person who is suffering from depression. Hence, to initiate that one must take up responsibilities (initially simpler ones), make plans to fulfill them, set goals and then complete the responsibility. Upon completing any responsibility, set smaller rewards too.
Push away negative thoughts: When negative thoughts strike, talk to yourself to counter them and push them away. Discuss with your professional help and list down all negative thoughts, and then contradict them with one positive thought or argument. Also, keep yourself occupied in activities or hobbies to avoid these thoughts to take space in the mind.
Regularly meet your doctor: During the phase of overcoming depression, remember to always keep your doctor in the loop of the developments and drawbacks. Fix regular sessions and seek encouragement to do even better. These professionals are trained with experience to treat clinical depressions and hence, trust them for the road ahead.
More so, if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression try to give them maximum support and comfort – be around them, try to talk to them and get professional help.