Avoiding the Stereotypes of Depression Among People
What is depression?
Depression is a serious medical illness that has negative effects on how you feel, think and act. It also affects relationships and may affect your ability to function in various settings such as school or work. Depression common symptoms are feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, difficulty sleeping, loss of sex drive and hopelessness.
It’s important to note, that when experiencing depression, you should not try to resolve it by avoiding your feelings. Many times, people deal with their depression by “staying busy”, “avoiding the topic”, or just point-blank self-denial which can look like “no, I’m fine, seriously. Everything is good!” In my experience, depression becomes a major issue for my clients when they neglect to address their feelings. When depression takes root without “treatment”, it can lead to an onset of other issues; health decline, insomnia or even fatigue and loss of interests. Depression can even trigger crisis behaviors such as suicidal ideation. Depression can be improved through the use of medication and/or talk therapy, but the “consistent” cure is found in identifying and maintaining a consistent routine of self-care and positive coping skills throughout daily life.
Contrary to popular belief, depression isn’t just an issue for people who battle with mental illness. The truth of the matter is that all human beings experience depression whether for a brief time frame or extended period. Depression does not care about your color, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status. It doesn’t stereotype whether you are supported or alone; depression has no bias when it comes to who it can affect. People experience situational or circumstantial depression, which isn’t necessarily a mental illness but can often be based off of a traumatic experience, painful, or even stressful situation. Depression takes over our lives when we have identified that we are lacking something that provides us a level of peace or balance. For example, a rich man can become depressed due to isolation and loneliness, and a poor man can become depressed due to lack of financial resources. Both men are experiencing a lack, which contributes to their decline in peace and increase in stress.
One can never really get away from stress, pain or hurt as long as we are living and breathing beings. It is important to have the coping skills needed to navigate through the ups and downs of life. Through my own personal experiences and the experiences of the client’s I serve, I have found the most effective way to prevent and cope through depression has been integrating daily self-care habits.
Here are some great tips to regulate mood and decrease depression:
- Learn to UNPLUG (disconnect from social media, emails, text messages and other things that triggers decline in mood even if it’s just 30 minutes a day)
- Make time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (poor diet or irregular eating can create an imbalance in mood)
- Laugh often! (watching comedy, do something silly, avoid viewing horror or sad media/TV)
- Explore self-care routine (Regulate sleep times, diet, pampering, and fun activities)
- Seek counseling (talk through your feelings instead of hiding them)
- Exercise (Run, walk, swim or skate can get those endorphins in your body to elevate your mood)
- Access healthy supports such as friends and family. If you don’t have have supports you can join a local support group for individuals who struggle with depression. A great resource for support is Celebrate Recovery they are located through the US and is a powerful source of support.
No matter what you do, if you are experiencing any form of depression avoiding or keeping busy will not solve the problem, seek proper outlets and validate every single feeling with embrace and strategy. Its’s okay to feel, but it’s dangerous to suppress what you feel and not allow yourself to heal.