Almost everyone feels sad every now and then – this is perfectly normal. What is not normal is if the sadness seems to go on with no end in sight. The feelings of sadness often go away quickly. However, with depression, the feelings of extreme sadness, helplessness, and a loss of the ability to experience any pleasure reside for weeks, months, and even years in cases of major depression.
Depression is a common problem, and you are not alone. Depression occurs in individuals of all ages and genders throughout the world. In the US, it affects almost 14.8 million adults every year; and due to the fact that it is among one of the most pressing health concerns in the country, it is crucial to understand it better so measures can be taken to overcome it.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression
The following symptoms will help you to identify the presence of depression:
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- An increase or decrease in weight/appetite
- Restlessness or trouble sleeping
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
The Causes of Depression
Depression can result due to a number of factors, including chemical imbalances, genetics, psychological, environmental and social factors. Regardless of the cause, it is crucial to identify depression as an illness.
What you should understand is that it is not your fault that you are in depression nor is it a sign of your weakness. Depression is just an illness that should be treated promptly.
Dealing with Depression
There are several steps that you can take to deal with your depression. The following guidelines will help you once you have distinguished between temporary sadness and depression:
- Permit yourself to feel depressed. If you expect too much from yourself, you will continue to spiral down into the depths of depression. Do not fight depression so hard that you pile up feelings of failure. However, it is absolutely imperative that you do not give in to any thoughts that can cause you harm, including any suicidal thoughts. Seek professional help if you are getting suicidal thoughts.
- Do not set difficult goals. Depression is worsened when you fail to accomplish your goals, regardless of whether they have to do with your personal or professional life. Failure can be avoided by setting realistic goals that you can easily achieve.
- Avoid drugs or alcohol. You must avoid turning to drugs and alcohol to temporary ‘alleviate’ your feelings of depression. While you may experience blissful ‘highs’ by getting intoxicated, you will only be setting yourself up for a dangerous roller coaster ride comprising of highs and lows.
- Spend time around family and friends. A great way to combat depression is to keep yourself close to those whom you love. By distracting yourself with things that matter, you will be – subconsciously – allowing depression to seep out.
Depression is a very complicated and dangerous mental illness that can bring your life to a halt. Not only does it affect your mental capability, but also your physical well-being. If you are unsure of how you can fight depression, seek help from a professional and do not let depression rule over you.