How to Overcome Depression
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How to overcome depression
I must tell this from my point of view, for I have the mental illness of depression. I was diagnosed 18 years ago after a suicide attempt. This is the first time I have written about it. Only close friends and family know about my struggle with this disorder.
What is depression? According to Wikipedia, is called Ð²Ð‚ÑšMajor depressive disorder, also known as major depression, unipolar depression, clinical depression, or simply depression, is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive low mood, loss of interest in a persons usual activities and diminished ability to experience pleasure. The diagnosis is made if a person has suffered one or more major depressive episodes. The onset is usually in early- to mid-adulthood. Diagnosis is based on the patients self-reported experiences and observed behavior. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians often test for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms before arriving at a diagnosis. The course varies widely: it can be a once-in-a-lifetime event or have multiple recurrences; it can appear either gradually or suddenly; and can either last for a few months or be a life-long disorder.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ (Wikipedia)
There are several different forms of depression, the most common being major depression and dysthymic disorder, or mild depression. Major depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a personÐ²Ð‚™s ability to function in daily activities. It may occur only once in a personÐ²Ð‚™s lifetime, but in most cases, it recurs throughout a personÐ²Ð‚™s life. Dysthymic or dysthymia, it is long term, but less severe. The symptoms might not disable a person, but it could prevent them from functioning normally or feeling well. Bi-polar disorder is characterized by altering states of moods between extreme highs and lows. Although not as common, it is still just as crippling as the other two. The most common symptoms of depression include, persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings, feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism, feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex, fatigue and decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions, insomnia, earlyÐ²Ð‚”morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping, overeating, or appetite loss, thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment. (National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH))
Well here are some steps to achieve a balanced life with mental illness.
The first thing to do is to GET HELP! I know that sounds simple, but it is not. Most people with mental illness do not seek help because of the stigma that comes with the diagnoses. I did try several times to seek help before my attempt, but I would chicken out and not tell anyone. I just keep stuffing the feelings and problems down into a dark place in myself. As long as I appeared happy to the world, everything was all right. Soon the dark place was full and over flowing. I had to start feeling and dealing with the problems again and it was hard. It really overwhelmed me. I ended up thinking about silence, not death; I just wanted everything to be silent; everything was too busy. I just want everything to be silent. Then I called the suicide helpline and got an appointment to see a counselor. At my appointment, we talked about my goals, hopes, dreams and wishes. I discovered that I had an unrealistic list that I applied to my life. I HAD to be married by 25, I had to have children before 30, I had to finish college before 29. My counselor made me realize that life is not a list. We are just to live it. It is good to have a goal, but plan for the bumps in the road. I have learned that some bumps are bigger than others, but you should still be able to enjoy life.
Tell a trusted friend, a close family member, or seek professional help. Most states have free clinics; so if money is a problem, check to see where the clinic is located. Sometimes you might even check into a mental facility. I did not have to do that, but I have several family members who have done so. Some did it just to get a break from life. Trust me, it happens. We get so caught up in life that we forget to take care of ourselves. When you try to take the time, you find that it is not available. When you are in a state of confusion, nothing makes any sense. Most people who are depressed are self-critical and may even doubt that their loved ones really care for them. Try to push these feelings aside and talk to those close to you. Explain what youÐ²Ð‚™re going through. Ask them for help. Having someone on your side, someone who will encourage you in your treatment, can make a huge difference in your recovery.
A doctor can also rule out any other problems that you might be experiencing by conducting a complete diagnostic evaluation. You should discuss your family history of depression, and get a complete history of any symptoms, when they started, how long they have lasted, their severity, and whether they have occurred before and if so, how thy were treated. You should be able to tell the doctor if you are using alcohol or drugs to Ð²Ð‚Ñšself medicateÐ²Ð‚Ñœ your condition. (National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH)
Second, take the advice given to you about the choice of treatment offered to you, but also, listen to your inner voice. I say this to because you know you. You know how you want to feel and how you want to live. When I went through this process, I knew that I did not want to feel drugged. I did not want to feel a false happiness. I wanted to be able to feel emotions and not laugh when nothing was funny. There are several treatments for depressive disorders. The most common are the drug treatments. This includes antidepressants, the most popular being selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIÐ²Ð‚™s. These medicines will take about three to four weeks before you feel better. Taking medicine along with Ð²Ð‚Ñštalk therapyÐ²Ð‚Ñœ will help you to feel better.
Third, get physical! Exercise, walk, run, clean house, or anything that has some form of physical activity. With some mild exercise, you will start to feel better. Ask yourself what type of physical activities do I like? Do I prefer group or individual activities? What programs best fit my schedule and lifestyle? Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise? What fitness goals do I have in mind? Exercise when used in conjunction with medication, can have beneficial effects in preventing the return of depression.