Depression is more than a low mood. People suffering from depression don’t just feel ‘blue’ for a few days. Depression can last for months or even years. Sufferers find it difficult to cope with everyday life. They often withdraw from friends and family, which makes treating the illness even harder.
With depression, the most important thing to remember is that it is an illness. Without some form of treatment, whether pharmacological, TMS treatment or counselling, depression isn’t going to go away. So if you are suffering from depression, here are a few tips to help you cope.
Ask for Help
The first step on the road to recovery is to accept that you have an illness and that you can’t do this alone. Depressed people often push others away. It is the nature of the illness. It is good to share your thoughts and feelings though and establishing an emotional connection with someone you trust will help you get through this.
Try and Be Sociable
“I want to be alone” the depressed person will say to friends and family, but that is the very worst thing that can happen. Sitting all alone in a room gives you too much time for introspection. So try and make time for friends, get out there and take part in social activities, even if every bone in your body is screaming “I can’t do this…”
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that exercise is good for depression. Physical activity distracts the brain from too much introspection and hard exercise releases endorphins, which are nature’s “happy pills”. You don’t need to go to the gym. Instead go for a walk with the dog, go for a swim or bicycle ride. Start small and work your way up to more demanding activities. You will feel a lot better as a result and probably sleep better.
Yoga, meditation and deep breathing techniques are all useful strategies in the fight against depression. They will help you manage your stress and make it easier to sleep at night.
Be Kind to Yourself
Instead of putting yourself down and getting stuck in a spiral of negativity, do things that make you feel good. This could be anything, from listening to music you like to reading books you enjoy.
Avoid Self Medication
It can be tempting to turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to escape your demons, but drink and illegal substances are never the answer. Alcohol will help you hide from your black emotions, but it won’t make your problems magically disappear. Alcohol is also a depressant, so instead of making you feel better having a few drinks will make you feel worse.
If depression is affecting your life, talk to your doctor. They will be able to advise you about different treatments. Talking therapies are often very effective for the treatment of depression, but you may wish to try other treatments such as those offered by the Smart Brain and Health clinic.