What is depression?
Before we start with the overcoming, let’s be clear with what depression is actually. It is a mental disorder, it is not, in any way, “cool”. Just because you’re sad, doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Just because you think you have depression, doesn’t mean you do. And if you say, “Ugh, this is so depressing.” on a regular basis in many situations, then you are factually incorrect.
A very basic criteria for having depression, clinically speaking is as follows:
- Low mood most of the time with no activity bringing pleasure
- More than 5% of body weight change (increase or decrease) in a month without dieting, regular exercise, etc.
- Insomnia or Hypersomnia
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Diminished concentration, or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death (not just a fear)
At least the presence of 5 of this is needed for the diagnosis of depression. Clinically.
It can be caused by a number of factors, infact the most common cause is no cause at all. No trauma or high levels of stress, etc. It just happens. But that doesn’t change the fact that the term is misused a lot and that it is extremely serious.
How can one overcome it?
Remember, the things that help the most are the toughest to do.
But a few ways that can help one are:
- Staying Connected: This is perhaps one of the most essential components in overcoming depression. But depression itself makes this difficult. You may feel guilty for neglecting relationships, helpless, embarrassed or simply tired. Remember, seeking help doesn’t mean you are weak.
Join a support group for depression. Help others, when you help other, it boosts your self-worth and is a proven way to improve endorphin and serotonin levels. Hang out with your friends as much as possible and be in the company of people more than alone, not just any people, but people who support you, who you can talk to freely, who make you feel understood and most importantly, who accept you.
- Get some exercise: Playing sports, doing yoga or even a simple daily walk increases the level of endorphins released in the body. Endorphins are the feel good hormones. The more active an
activity is, the more endorphins are released. Combine the two points and go get your exercise with a buddy. This motivates you as a secondary benefit to helping socialization.
The best exercises are ones with a rhythm like running, swimming, cycling, dancing, etc. And the more body you use, the better its effect. You can pair up music, especially peppy music, with all of these activities which is another amazing mood booster.
- Doubt your negative thinking:
(i) Nothing is black and white. You don’t have to be perfect at everything. Not being perfect doesn’t mean that you’re a failure.
(ii) Just because something happened once or twice, it is not your perpetual truth.
(iii) Not everything bad that happens is your fault, and even if it is, you have to learn to either solve it and If it is not solvable, then forget about it.
(iv) If you’re feeling low because of an incident, talk to someone about it and take their help to sort it out.
- Adopt a pet:
Getting a pet is a highly recommended cure for depression. A lot of factors, like caring for another life, having a constant playmate, having someone who listens to you without interrupting, having someone who loves you unconditionally, etc. Having a pet, especially a furry friend helps a lot. There’s a good reason why dog is man’s best friend.
There are many more ways out there to help cure depression. It is a very serious issue, and though it can’t be prevented, it can be managed and cured very well.
The best thing to do will be to get some professional help.
And yes, saying all these things is easy and doing them is tough but I can assure you that they will surely help you in some small way.
But if you suffer or see anyone suffering from depression, or even suspect it, consult a professional.
And take care, you are very important.