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Depression: The Dark Monster

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It’s described as not feeling like yourself.

Being unmotivated to perform tasks that used to bring enjoyment.

Not being able to concentrate.

Feeling physical pain that affects multiple parts of your body.

Then there’s anger that bubbles up from your toes and irritability that pops out of nowhere.

The feeling of hopelessness and despair.

Your brain telling you that you are a failure and worthless.

Either an enormous amount of emotion and grief, or a numbness that buries deep into your core.

Your appetite either disappears, or you are so incredibly ravenous.

You wonder if your life is worth living.

Depression is a horrible illness. It swallows you hole with no consideration of the life you’re living. It’s defined as a treatable, common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.  Studies show the areas in the brain that play a significant role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus.

I am not a doctor, therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.  I am a person who has suffered with depression since I was a teenager.  If you feel like you are suffering from depression, talk to your doctor.  If you are suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, reach out to the Suicide Prevention line: 1-800-273-8255 or their website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

I want to share some things I have done to help combat depression:

Medication. If you have been prescribed medication from your doctor, take your medication.  Take only the dose you have been prescribed and at the time prescribed.  If the medication is not working, reach out to your doctor.  Doctors are there to support you.

Make plans.  There were days when it took everything inside of me to get out of bed, let alone do anything else.  On these days the goals were to shower, put on clean pajamas and make sure I had three meals that day. I set goals each day of what I would accomplish.  I did not pile my day full of activities, but was determined to complete 3-4 things a day.

Talk. I reached out and talked to people, usually my mom.  She provided me with good advice, positive reinforcements and love.  It is easy to isolate yourself when you are depressed but, that is detrimental.  Stay in touch with your family and friends.

No Drugs or Alcohol.  Avoiding drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs.  Alcohol and drugs are depressants in nature, so ingesting them while already being depressed can worsen symptoms.

Limit Caffeine. Steer clear from large quantities of caffeine.  Too much caffeine can affect your sleep.  Not enough sleep prevents your brain from resting and makes concentrating, focusing, and just simply thinking, nearly impossible.

Exercise.  Even if it is a walk down the sidewalk in front of your house, something is better than nothing.  Per the Mayo Clinic, “Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety.”  They also state that exercise helps the body to release feel-good endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being

Temporary.  I told myself repeatedly that what I was feeling, and thinking was temporary.  That I would not feel like this forever.  That in time, I would get back to a more normal way of life.  I told myself to keep pressing on towards wellness and recovery.

Affirmations. Affirmations are emotional support or encouragement.  Saying affirmations repeatedly will help to combat the negative thoughts that your brain is feeding you. Examples include: I can get through this.  I’m valuable.  I am worthwhile.  I am loved.  This is temporary.  You will get through this.

I wish you blessings and courage.  The strength to continue the fight each day.  I know you can do this.  I know you will succeed.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

If you have tried and true techniques that help you battle depression, leave a comment and share.  We are a community, here to support one another in our journey.

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