Everyone, at some point, has felt down.
Losing a loved one, financial changes, family events, career moves, health issues and many at times for unclear reasons, preceed a longer period of sadness or grief. When sadness interferes with the ability to function, becomes relentless and persists, it turns into a health hazard. It may be misinterpreted as laziness,becoming demented, being uncaring. It is the source of embarrassment, feeling like a failure with no hope for change.
A summary of definitions follows in the next page.
Major depression along with other presentations like dysthymia, which is a chronic state of sadness; grief, which can last for years untreated and be associated to losing people, pets,, status as well as changes such as retirement, relocation; post partum depression, are all amenable to treatment.
It is helpful to consider the following:
1. There have been better days ...and they will come back again. Mood always changes. even facing big loses. We do not stay the same.
2. Time helps and heals. Sad events feel different later. We adjust to broken dreams.
3. You need to fight it, even when your energy is low, do your best and congratulate yourself for it. Keep trying. Get out of the house. Exercise. Take sun. Stay busy.
4. Stop your sad thoughts. It is tempting to recreate the events of a breakup, for example. Some of these memories favor the good and deny the suffering of a lost relationship, only to perpetuate the suffering. It is important to recognize when this happens and not allow oneself to be consumed by them. Sometimes setting time apart to cry and grieve, brings a sense of normalcy and saves energy for the rest of your day.
5. Depression saps one's energy. It is not laziness. When you have burst of energy, use it , enjoy it and build your confidence again.
6. Pay attention to your health. Sound mind, sound body.
Depression sometimes is the first sign that something is not right with our bodies. Depression assessment includes develpmental history and symptom review, review of medical issues, and when indicated , collaboration with other practitioners with the person's permission.. There is no one size fits all way of treatment.
7. Depression is not easily understood by others. People may try to cheer you up or may not know what to say or act around you. Aim to keep your relationships. We are not meant to be alone. Bonding helps, even when it seems to be a big effort. Isolation is not your friend.
8. Life happens:births, weddings, graduations, growing up, promotions, career, money, relocations, separations,...and we are ot made of stone. MOst people do ot like change. Even good things can cause depression. Learning to cope, accept oneself, enhance one's potential, get a better understanding of one's interior life and how we react to things are aims of psychotherapy.
9. Depression can run in families. That being said, it can be treated. Psychotherapy and when needed, wise use of medications, can change one's life.
10.Depresion has a high price: decreased productivity, absenteism, deterioration of relationships, isolation, decline in health, letting oneself go, undermined self confidence, lots of suffering. Seek help. Consider yur treatment as an investment.