Julia Freeman-WoolpertDepression is one of those health conditions that usurps every part of a suffering individual’s life. Employment, interpersonal relationships  responsibilities, motivation, future goals, level of patience, etc. are all affected by depressions sting. As I described in a previous article, depression clouds the sufferers lens so that everything appears nebulous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), a study found that the most likely to be depressed included:

  • persons 45-64 years of age
  • women
  • blacks, Hispanics, non-Hispanic persons of other races or multiple races
  • persons with less than a high school education
  • those previously married
  • individuals unable to work or unemployed
  • persons without health insurance coverage

 

About 1 in 10 adults experience depression and depression has been dubbed the leading cause of disability in the US. Can you blame Americans? With so much going on outside and inside of our personal lives, it is no wonder many more people aren’t depressed. Sadly, depression has been riddled with all sorts of negative labels which have prevented many from reaching out for help in some way. As a result, we have a society of adults (children and adolescents) walking through depression daily.

How can we keep up in our fast paced society while feeling so bad? It’s almost impossible! Here is a listing of things that you can do to cope with depression at home:

  1. Find out if it’s truly depression: In some cases, what feels and looks like depression could actually be a medical condition. A few examples include:
      • An under-active thyroid or thyroid disorders (causing poor metabolism)
      • Cancer
      • heart problems
      • Alcohol abuse (alcohol is a sedative and at high amounts, can lead to depression)
      • Chronic debilitating physical pain
      • Migraine headaches (or low levels of serotonin)
      • anemia (causing weakness and fatigue)
      • Chronic fatigue syndrome
      • medications taken for other conditions such as diabetes (certain medication cause depressed mood)
      • street drugs (will be discussed in next few articles)
      • poor sleeping patterns
      • normal grief
  2. Change your diet: I know, I know. It is very difficult to change your diet and re-route the way you love to eat. But try to limit unhealthy foods that can slow your metabolism. Limit heavy, oily foods and incorporate (at least 2 times per week) healthy foods. We often don’t understand just how important it is (for our mood) to eat right!
  3. Talk to your PCP: Sometimes your medical doctor can treat depression by implementing a different eating regimen, giving you vitamin shots (B12 shots are great I’ve heard), or prescribing you an antidepressant. You can also ask for a referral to a therapist.
  4. Educate yourself: It can be helpful to understand depression yourself or for a loved one. The more you know, the better you can identify when a problem is occurring. Go to reputable sites such as WebMD, MayoClinic, National Institute of Health, NAMI, and Helpguide.org.
  5. Eliminate harmful substances: street drugs (marijuana, etc.), alcohol, and other substances can lead to depression. A lot of people think that marijuana and alcohol calms them and makes them feel better. But once that “high” wears off, so does the so-called “good feelings.” Stop the use of drugs and alcohol intake. Think of how busy New York City is during the night. Imagine someone turning off the city lights and the chaos that would ensue. This is your brain on drugs.
  6. Engage in activities: One of the things I love to do in my spare time is Zumba. I have learned to exercise often, take walks with people I love, engage in introspection, take warm baths or showers, and watch something lighthearted. You have to “treat” yourself with the things that make you feel good, even when you feel bad.

All of these tips are also good for children and teens.

There are so many things that you can do to help yourself. In many cases, therapy and antidepressant medications only help but so far. You have to find it within yourself to help you. If you don’t help yourself, who will!?

I liken the battle to stay “depression free” to a warfare. You have to get off the sidelines and re-enter the battle-zone. Re-position yourself, take your tools, and enter the battlefield of life again. You have a finish line to get to and being depressed steals the greatest qualities you have from you.

 

If you would like to read about the reasons why so many people refuse treatment for depression, check out my article at my home site: Anchored-In-Knowledge. To listen to a free podcast on depression, click here

If you would like to screen yourself online, try the MayClinic’s screen test for major depression. You can print this screen and show to your PCP/medical doctor or therapist.

 

I wish you all the best

 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). An estimated 1 in 10 US adults report depression. CDC Features. Retrieved May 16, 2013 from, http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdepression/.

©Photo Credit: Julie Freeman-Woolpert

 


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    Last reviewed: 18 May 2013

APA Reference
Hill, T. (2013). Learning How To Cope With Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2013/05/coping-with-depression/

 

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