“For god’s sake dad, stop staring at the walls and talk to me! I have come 100 miles to see you and you can’t even look at me! It’s me Derek, your son!”. It took him a few minutes to recognise me, and then he spoke in a mumbling, monotone way, totally devoid of any hint of animation!
My father was a Manic Depressive! Though it is more commonly referred to now as Bi Polar. He didn’t wake up one morning and then that was it he was depressed! It happened over many, many years bit by bit, until he turned into someone totally unrecognisable!
He was a very intelligent man. An Electrical engineer by trade, he was also a wonderful painter, sculptor and model maker, and in his earlier days a great singer. He loved the arts and the old masters like Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh.
Through a mixture of acute stress in his job and family life it began to take its toll on him, and it was easy then to turn to drink to help him cope! The problem was the more he took, the more he wanted, to help him cope! So that was how the rot set in!
I often think of him, with a profound sense of loss and sadness, of what he could have become and the joy he could have given to others! Sometimes, I even have to check myself, when those insipid thoughts of utter hopelessness about life appear!
So What Is Depression?
A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.
A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better.
It is sometimes referred to as a major depressive disorder or clinical depression. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems!
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible.
Turning Darkness Into Light!
Whenever I feel low, I go for a walk to the nearby canal and just enjoy the peace and tranquillity of nature and silence. That’s one of the things that help me cope with any thoughts of feeling sad, or as if I have lost my way in the world!
The key to tackling the depressive thought is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself each day.
However, if you have been suffering with these feelings, for a long time then it is very wise, to see a specialist, or at least your doctor and talk it over! Even Hypnotherapy is very effective in dealing with depressive moods!
Dealing with depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed can be hard. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
Here are a few small and large things that can help get you back on the right track and keep depression under control:-
1. Reach Out And Stay Connected — The Human Touch
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression.
At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate, so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook
Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you; they just need to be a good listener — someone who’ll listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.
2. Do Things That Make You Feel Good
In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.
- Spend some time in nature
- List what you like about yourself
- Read a good book
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
- Take a long, hot bath or shower
- Take care of a few small tasks, that can be easily manged
- Talk to friends or family face-to-face
- Listen to music
3. Keep Active And Get Moving
To get the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This doesn’t have to be all at once — and it’s okay to start small. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.
Exercise is something you can do right now to boost your mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when you’re depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercise — such as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancing — where you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you move — such as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
4. Challenge Negative Thinking
Do you feel like you’re powerless or weak? That bad things happen and there’s not much you can do about it? That your situation is hopeless? Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future.
When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, it’s important to remember that this is a symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudes — known as cognitive distortions — aren’t realistic.
Challenge your thoughts and Examine Them Closely
Once you identify the destructive thoughts patterns that contribute to your depression, you can start to challenge them with questions such as:
- “What’s the evidence that this thought is true? Not true?”
- “What would I tell a friend who had this thought?”
- “Is there another way of looking at the situation or an alternate explanation?”
- “How might I look at this situation if I didn’t have depression?”
As you cross-examine your negative thoughts, you may be surprised at how quickly they crumble. In the process, you’ll develop a more balanced perspective and help to relieve your depression!
We live in a society that is very quick to label people. “Oh yes, he’s the one with the sad face and stressed out look!”, or “He’s the one who is always angry and shouts a lot!”. Our illness or emotional problems do not define us, they are just a symptom of underlying and unresolved emotions.
After all is said and done — We all deserve a life with unlimited opportunities and delights!