Depression is more than having a couple of sad or “blue” days. When you are depressed, it interferes with the normal routine of life and can be debilitating. Depression is not something you just snap out of and often gets worse without any form of treatment.
Some of the possible symptoms of depression are:
- persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings
- feelings of hopelessness
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- loss of interest in activities or hobbies you previously enjoyed, including sex
- decreased energy & fatigue
- difficulty concentrating
- insomnia or excessive sleeping
- changes in appetite
- physical aches & pains, stomach problems
- thoughts of suicide or death
What causes depression?
Depression is a disorder of the brain and a medical illness. Brain imaging studies reveal that the brain of a depressed person looks different than the brain of someone without depression. However, we still don’t know exactly why someone gets depressed. It is likely a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
If you think you are depressed, make an appointment with a doctor or therapist as soon as you can. You will be able to understand your depression more and also learn about your treatment options. Most important, you will start to feel better!
The Catch 22 of Depression
When depressed, it is very difficult to motivate yourself to do anything. However, it is by “doing something” that a person starts to feel better and gains a little energy and motivation.
The goal is to start small and commit to something each day. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and eat a healthy diet. Following is a list of ideas that may be helpful.
- walk for 15-30 minutes
- call a family member or friend and go out to eat or a movie
- participate in a hobby
- listen to music and/or sing
- read a good book
- play with a pet
- volunteer at an animal shelter or someplace else
By focusing on some positive life experiences, you will begin the first steps towards healing and recovery.