Depression (major depressive disorder/clinical depression) is a medical condition that causes you to have persistent feelings of sadness. Feeling depressed is different from experiencing grief since depression may require medical attention while grief is a natural reaction to the negative incidents in your life and it usually goes away after some time.
According to Mayo Clinic, depression may occur only once during your life, but others experience multiple episodes. Look out for the early signs of depression like:
- Consistent feelings of sadness
- Sudden outbursts of anger and frustration
- Inability to sleep/sleeping too much
- Lack of interest in your hobbies
- Decreased/increased appetite
- Frequent thoughts of self-harm/suicide
- Always feeling anxious even over little things
- Difficulty in making simple decisions
- Unexplained body pains
Do not be reluctant in seeking help from your family and friends if you feel that you may be suffering from depression. Having depression is not a sign of character weakness but is rather a result of certain chemical imbalances in your brain caused by a combination of internal and external triggers.
Who are at risk?
Depression is common in young adults aged 18-25 years old. Women, in particular, are more prone to developing this illness than men due to the different hormonal changes that they undergo throughout their lives. People who have undergone/are currently going through a difficult time in their lives are also vulnerable to developing depression.
What to do if you have depression
- Consult a psychiatrist, always ask for professional help before engaging in any form of therapy and/or taking any kind of medication.
- Avoid your stressors when you can so you can rebuild your self-esteem.
- Maintain an active lifestyle by taking walks outside and get some sunlight to brighten up your mood. Join group workout sessions so you get the support that you need.
- Seek help from your family and trusted friends. Some studies suggest that peer support groups may help improve depression symptoms.
- Avoid drug and substance abuse. Drinking and smoking may worsen your symptoms.
- Take time to appreciate what you have. Keep a journal of your thoughts and monitor your mood changes.
- Stick to a routine. Depression may cause you to neglect personal hygiene so it’s essential that you create a schedule that works for you.
- Eat a balanced diet. Avoid sugary treats and avoid eating junk food.
- Find new hobbies to enjoy like yoga and other sports.
- Find a bigger purpose for yourself by volunteering for causes that mean a lot to you. It doesn’t have to be something grand, it can be as simple as helping a friend out with their work.
- Nurture your relationships and try to be open with your feelings so you can be more self-aware.
- Take a break from school/work most especially if it is one of the root causes of your condition.
Depression is a common and treatable condition so do not lose hope. It is not a phase wherein you can just snap out of since medical treatment may be needed for you to fully recover. Create a safe space for yourself and schedule an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist. Don’t be afraid to ask help from other people if you need it.
If you feel that you are suffering from depression, seek support from your family and trusted friends. Book a session with a psychiatrist who may be able to guide you through your recovery process. Never take any form of medication without the proper prescription of a health professional. There are also hotlines where you can seek out support from professionals or if you simply need someone to talk to like HOPELINE (02) 8804.4673; (0917) 558.4673 or 2919 for Globe subscribers.