Ten Suggestions for Dealing with Depression
With the recent tragedies that occurred this past week, it’s important to post some suggestion for those experiencing or know someone experiencing major depression or depression of any kind.
It is also necessary to point out that people with depression just cannot snap out of it. It’s an illness, just as cancer is an illness. You wouldn’t tell someone suffering from cancer to “snap out of it,” would you? Therefore, it’s crucial to know that it's just not helpful at all to tell someone who is suffering from depression to “snap out of it.” Instead here are some suggestions for those suffering from this devastating condition:
1. Empathize. Even though you may not suffer from clinical depression, all of us have had a “down” moment. We're human and it happens. So, when someone you know turns to you and tells you they're feeling depressed, put yourself in their shoes and listen to them. State back what they tell you. You can paraphrase what they say so you don't sound like their echo, but ultimately, they want to feel understood. For example, let’s say the person suffering from depression is named Jane, and your name is Joe. An empathetic conversation may sound something like this:
Joe: So tell me what’s going on with you or what you’re feeling, Jane.
Jane: I just feel like life is too hard. I feel so broken.
Joe: Yeah, life IS hard and it’s enough to make you feel broken.
Jane: I try my best to make life work for me, but it doesn't work out for me.
Joe: You feel like life just lets you down.
Jane: Yeah, and I don’t want to continue anymore.
Joe: You just want to give up. I know a lot of people who want to give up.
Jane: You do?
Joe: Yes, but they find the strength to keep going, no matter how tough life gets, they keep going.
Jane: How do you think they do that?
Joe: Well, many of them have told me they've talked to a professional who has helped them go on. Would you be willing to talk to someone who can help you do that?
Jane: I don’t know. I don’t know how to even start finding someone to talk to.
Joe: Yeah, it can get overwhelming knowing where to look, where to go, and who to talk to. But people I’ve talked with, who have also felt depressed, told me that they worked with some wonderful professionals who have helped them change their outlook on life. Could I help you find someone like that to talk to?
Joe: Yes, I would like that. Thank you.
2. Have a support system. Make a list of friends and loved ones to whom you can turn. Those in your support system are people who will be able to listen to you, not judge you, or lecture you, but be honest with you in a very loving way. They care about you and have your best interest at heart.
3. Listen to upbeat music. Studies indicate that music with a dark tone or message encourages depressed mood. Find music that has an upbeat tone, let it play and uplift your spirit.
4. Exercise. Studies also show exercise elevates mood by producing natural “feel good” chemicals in our body such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. So, take a walk, go hiking, run, row a boat, dance, or participate in any other activity that you enjoy which keeps you moving.
5. Volunteer with an organization. Volunteering applies your focus onto something or someone else for the greater good and gives you a sense of increased self-worth and self-confidence. You can volunteer at a retirement community, hospital, pet society, school, or other organizations looking for volunteers.
6. Mindfulness-based practices. Research indicates that engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, and guided imagery helps elevate mood. Many practitioners offer these services. Ask friends and loved ones if they could recommend someone they have worked with in these areas. Additionally, ask your local hospitals if they offer any mindfulness-based programs.
7. Nutrition. Be mindful of the foods you consume. Studies show that certain provisions encourage depression. So, pay attention to the amount of sugar you consume, in addition to GMOs, pesticides, unhealthy fats, and excessive starch in your diet.
8. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Best to just walk away from it for now.
9. Best treatment: Evidenced based research indicates the best form of treatment for depression is both medication and psychotherapy. Both work better together, than separately.
10. If you or anyone you know is suffering from major depression or depressed mood in general, reach out. Reach out to someone who cares for you. Reach out to a professional, or call 1-800-272-8255. You may also text “TALK” to 741741. Talk it out. Life is an epic adventure you want to write home about.
Credits: Photography - Thomas Budach; TreVoy Kelly; Messan Edoh; Evita Ochel; Robert Owen-Wahl
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