In a world that forces you to be “strong” and “brave,” being depressed might make you feel weak. In a society that tells you “it’s all in your head,” depression can get frustrating and isolating. Despite the countless television shows, ad campaigns, and support groups that address depression, there is still social stigma and judgment around the mental health condition. Whether you are a silent sufferer or on your path to recovery, here are a few things you shouldn’t forget.
Things To Keep In Mind If You Suffer From Depression
1. You Are Not Alone
Major depressive disorder affects 14.8 million adults in America. One in eight adolescents have clinical depression and six million people are diagnosed with late life depression.1 From young to old, depression affects the best of us. And it might make you feel lonely. But, it’s important to remind yourself that you aren’t the only one going through this.
When you hit that low, read about people who suffer from depression. A lot of celebrities who lead seemingly “happy” lives have spoken up about going through anxiety, mood swings, and other challenges. A few bloggers online talk about their daily struggles with depression as well. While you may still feel low, reading about others and their struggle could help feel a little less lonely.
2. It Can, And Will, Get Better
On the days that you just can’t get out of bed, depression might feel like a permanent companion. But as corny this might sound, it will get better. In fact, 80 percent of the people who are treated for depression show improvement in their symptoms in about 4–6 weeks. This involves medication, psychotherapy, and attending support groups.2
Exercise can help with depression and its symptoms as well. Studies show that regular exercise, whether aerobic or resistance training, is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression. Although there is no recommended dosage of exercise, it is important to find what works for you and stick with it.3
Living with depression doesn’t mean that you will never be happy. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and all the good times you’ve had so far. You’re constantly beating depression, even if you’ve only smiled at something as “silly” as a cat meme all day. Always remember to celebrate the little things.
3. It Is Okay To Not Be Okay
With all the societal pressure to be “strong” and all the stigma around being emotional, going through depression might feel like something you should hide. But there is no shame in feeling weak or broken. Going through a mental illness is the same as having the flu or a broken arm. Most people who go through depression feel judged, labeled, and rejected by those around them. Social media’s world of perfection and happy faces doesn’t help either.4 This sense of being judged prevents two out of three people from actively seeking help for depression.5
So if you feel like you can’t work on a certain day, don’t hesitate to take a day off. And, if you feel like crying out loud, don’t stop yourself from doing so. Just remember to seek help and work on depression.
4. Depression Doesn’t Define You
Depression makes it difficult not to judge yourself. It also makes it difficult to imagine a life where you aren’t battling a mental health condition. But it’s important to constantly tell yourself that the whirlwind of emotions – guilt, anxiety, irritability, loneliness, and lack of interest in anything – don’t define you. Always pay attention to what triggers the depression. Understand what depression is to you and what it does to you. This will help you accept those bouts of sadness without feeling like there’s something wrong with you.
Depression can be caused by anything from faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, and medical problems to certain medicines you might be taking.6 Find that balance between knowing the external triggers and causes of depression and accepting it for what it is. It will help you feel much better.
5. Reach Out To A Friend Or Family
Whether it is a friend, a family member, or someone you meet often at a park, don’t hesitate to reach out. While you might want to be strong and handle things yourself, asking for help takes courage. Talking about depression will help you understand what you are going through and make you feel better.
Depression can make you feel unloved. Talking to someone will help you feel loved and cared for. Who knows, you might find someone who is also going through depression and didn’t have the courage to speak up. And if you’d rather not speak to someone you know, there are always professionals who will help you.
Depression can be difficult to live with. It also often makes us lose sight of ourselves, our goals, and our passions. Fortunately, there are resources available to effectively deal with depression. While you seek treatment, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for not letting depression get the better of you.
|↑1, ↑2||Depression Statistics. Depression And Bipolar Support Alliance.|
|↑3||Blumenthal, James A., Patrick J. Smith, and Benson M. Hoffman. “Is exercise a viable treatment for depression?.” ACSM’s health & fitness journal 16, no. 4 (2012): 14.|
|↑4||y Garcia, Erik Fernandez, Paul Duberstein, Debora A. Paterniti, Camille S. Cipri, Richard L. Kravitz, and Ronald M. Epstein. “Feeling labeled, judged, lectured, and rejected by family and friends over depression: Cautionary results for primary care clinicians from a multi-centered, qualitative study.” BMC family practice 13, no. 1 (2012): 64.|
|↑5||Depression Statistics. Depression And Bipolar Support Alliance.|
|↑6||What causes depression? Harvard Health Publications.|