I’ve wanted to write a blog on depression for a while now. Even before I had a blog, depression was and still is a part of my life and effects people around me daily.
What is Depression?
Depression is feelings of severe despondency and unhappiness. I like to think of it as a dark cloud over someone’s head. It may seem like someone with depression is not being their “normal” self. They may be distant, sleep more in the day and less at night, they may feel hopeless and self critical. They may have difficulty finding pleasure in what they did before the depressive episode. Their eating habits may change and they may seem angry, nervous, sad or irritable.
Unfortunately, the majority of people experience at least one episode of depression in their lifetime. Depression can be extremely hard to overcome without support. But, there are also things in your life you can put in place to hopefully ensure the dark cloud doesn’t consume you. See below for these tips!
Most people experience mild to moderate depression in their lifetime. However, major depression is extremely serious! It is important that if you have severe depression, feelings of depression for a long period of time, hurt yourself or have suicidal feelings, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT you go to your GP, confide in someone, speak to a counsellor or go to the suicide helpline. All links at the bottom of the page!
Depression, whether it be mild, moderate or anywhere in-between can occur for a number of reasons and sadly, I believe university life can make it easier to develop, as well as other factors such as divorce, unemployment and loss of a family member. University life can encourage lack of sleep, eating crap, being away from family and having more independence which can be challenging for some people. It can make it easier for the big dark cloud of depression to consume you if you don’t have that switch to get you back on track.
The Anti-Depressant Controversy
I personally believe most people suffering from feeling slightly depressed don’t benefit hugely from anti-depressants. Big statement, I know! Well, sometimes these drugs are necessary to balance chemical imbalances in the brain however, there are other steps which I think can be just as important when it comes to depression.
If you’re feeling grey…
If you feel like you have a bit of a grey cloud over your head lately, try these tips and see how you feel.*
Eating well is extremely important to both our physical and mental health. Eating crap makes you feel like crap. Eating well, eating lots of fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water helps flush the bad toxins out of your body and enables you to have more energy and feel radiant. This is why I no longer eat anything that is dead (such as meat). In order to feel alive, I must eat things that are alive.
Note: I don’t mean that literally! Please don’t go around eating live animals, that’s really not cool!
You don’t have to run a marathon every day but getting out going for a walk or a swim or getting friends involved and play football after school, uni or work every Tuesday and Thursday will start to help you feel happier. When you exercise the brain releases endorphins which make you feel GOOD! Yoga is also a brilliant way to exercise and meditate at the same time, which is great for a peaceful mind.
I believe routine is extremely important. Without routine someone with depression is likely to stay in their room in bed all day and probably feel worse. They don’t have a distraction from their thoughts therefore they dwell on them more which could lead to a longer, more severe episode. If you are unemployed or don’t have an everyday routine it is important to get one. Whether this be going to the gym every day at 9am for 2 hours or to take on volunteering a few days a week to ensure you feel like there’s something to get up for in the mornings. A weekly routine is important and getting up at the same time and going to bed at the same time helps. This brings me to the next tip…
Sleep can be disturbed when you have depression. However, too much can cause a negative effect too, just like too little can. It is important to get about 8/9 hours sleep per night depending on your own mind and body. I feel as though 9 hours sleep is when I function best but it is different for different people. Make sure you are always getting this amount of sleep, always go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. This helps routine.
It’s important to confide in someone, always. Talking to someone lifts a weight off your shoulders. This could be about everything or anything. Confide in someone you trust. This could be a family member, a friend, a teacher or a counsellor.
Other things which may help…
-Talk to a listener on 7 cups of tea
-Write. Write anything. I know that writing a blog, writing a diary or just writing everything your feeling on a piece of paper before bed and ripping it up actually helps!
I believe by following these simple steps the black cloud will find it harder to consume you. It is important to remember you ARE In control of your own body and mind. It is important to know you also know your own body and mind best. You know what’s right for it. Some people need more help than these tips can offer and that’s ok! If you feel depressed it is important to talk to somebody. Anybody.
It’s important to know you’re not alone. Have hope always.
Here are some extremely helpful links:-
-Talk to someone on 7 cups of tea
-An app for meditation and mindfulness
-Find the self-help guide for depression on 7 cups of tea
-Watch this amazing video on depression
I hope this post is helpful. Please comment your thoughts.
*Disclaimer- These are just my own thoughts and opinions and I am not a medical professional. Please still see your GP, confide in a friend or seek help if you think you may be depressed.