According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 264 million people are currently suffering from depression worldwide. They indicate that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In the United States, it is the leading cause of disability between the ages of 15-44.
Depression is a complex mental health issue as there are many different states of depression. Most people have had moments or periods in their life where they feel depressed. This is quite normal and although uncomfortable, eventually resolves once the person is able to identify what is causing those feelings.
Depression can come from the loss of a loved one; a loss of a relationship that was meaningful; a loss of a job and many other things. Typically, loss causes sadness and when the sadness isn't looked at, felt and processed, depression can set in.
Some of the typical symptoms experienced when one is depressed includes, but is not limited to:
Feelings of deep sadness, or hopelessness
Depression can cause physical pain
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Change in sleeping and eating, including deep feelings of fatigue
Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or suicidal thoughts.
And motivation to address any of the causal issues can be low causing depression to continue to manifest in a person's life.
Steps to take to address depression:
Immediate Attention 911. If depression for yourself or someone you care about puts them at risk for self harm or suicide, please go immediately and get medical care. Calling 911 or going to an Emergency Room or Urgent Care facility will achieve immediate support.
Medication. At times, anti-depressants can be used temporarily to assist a person in getting motivated and focused enough to address the causes of depression.
Psychotherapy is extremely helpful in identifying and addressing underlying issues causing and perpetuating depression. Discovering the source of depression can be a leap forward in gaining compassion for your experience. Getting psychological support for depression is the same as getting medical attention for appendicitis. You wouldn't ignore it. You wouldn't feel ashamed for needing help. Our mental well-being should be no different. There are tremendously effective psychological treatments to address depression.
Physical Self Care. The things we do to help our physical body feel good often translates to our emotional wellness. Adequate Sleep (healthy circadian rhythm), Regular Exercise, Sufficient Hydration, and High Quality Nutrition are cornerstones for solid emotional health. Without any of these in place, emotional well being tends to suffer.
Volunteer to help. When we offer ourselves in the caring for others, research shows that it give our brains a boost of the feel good hormones and can significantly improve our mood, at least temporarily. If you can make food for someone in need; walk the neighbor's dog; shovel snow for the elderly; or pick up trash on the beach or park... any way of serving other's can often lift our mood.
Visit With A Friend. Being in the company of a good friend can relieve depression for a little while. Reach out to someone you know cares about you even if you think you prefer to isolate yourself. Ask yourself, would you want someone you cared about to reach out to you for help if they were suffering? Usually the answer is YES!
Avoid Self Medication. Many people use drugs and alcohol to self medicate and although in the short term this may briefly work, typically the rebound effect actually exacerbates the feelings of depression.
Depression impacts millions and millions of people, yet the source of each person's feelings of depression are unique to their situation. Finding a helpful resource in the form of a trusted therapist or medical doctor can assist each person in recovery. Reach out and get the support you need.