Depression sucks, we know it well. It’s like you’ve been kissed by a Dementor and you fear you will never be yourself again. Day after day, you cry your eyes out or wander miserably around the house. When at work or school, you try to put up a brave face, but you may not manage it for much longer. And you feel so alone. Not a soul understands what you’re going through, isn’t that right?
No, it isn’t.
We have some good news for you:
Before we move on to how you can do this, let us first look at what causes depression.
Depression does not appear out of the blue. It is often triggered by other problems, such us chronic stress, anxiety or low self-esteem.
Our childhood experiences are critical in how we perceive ourselves and the world, and more often than not the influence of our family home is a negative one. As children, we subconsciously learn to despise ourselves, and we carry this mindset into adulthood. Is this your case? Have you always placed yourself last? Been ashamed to speak up and fight for yourself? Do you often feel guilty and reproach yourself for the tiniest imperfections?
Speaking of perfectionism - it often leads to depression. Life in the 21st century is fast and requires us to efficiently juggle multiple roles. That, in turn, puts a lot of pressure on the individual and could be absolutely overwhelming if you’re a perfectionist.
It is normal that we want to perform well at work and be successful in private life as well, but we often strive to be perfect in all roles all the time, and take on too much, at the expense of our wellbeing. Long working hours, lack of sleep, poor quality food will inevitably take their toll on your health, not only the physical one but your mental health as well. Humans are delicate creatures - we need to take care of ourselves. Read on to learn where to start if you’ve already got depression.
But of course. Depression may feel like the end of the world, but it is, in fact, a temporary state and is perfectly curable. While no one can predict how long your depression will last - it may take from several weeks up to several years - the sooner you start doing something about it, the better.
There are two main courses of treatment for depression: psychotherapy and medication.
Psychotherapy is an absolute must when it comes to any kind of mental health problems. As has been mentioned already, depression is a result of other psychological issues, many of which have been with you since early childhood.
Psychotherapy will help you “unblock” your thinking - it will challenge old thinking patterns that live deep inside you, preventing you from being free and happy. You will learn self-observation and will finally start naming your feelings.
Getting in touch with yourself is the first step to beating depression!
Apart from psychotherapy, you may also be prescribed antidepressants. The most common depression medications are so-called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). They help ease depression and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. They aren’t addictive and are said to be safe - they cause relatively few side effects. Whether or not you qualify for taking an antidepressant will be individually decided by your doctor. Most common SSRIs on American market include Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram) or Lexapro (escitalopram).
Maybe you feel you’re not ready for any drugs, not to mention telling strangers about your problems during therapy, and you’d like to treat depression on your own. Is this a good idea?
It is not. You definitely need to seek professional help, in any form that suits you. However, you can also give yourself emotional support during that challenging time. How to do that?
Doctor Google is not the most competent of doctors, and therefore it’s worth visiting a real one if you suspect you might have depression. At first, you may feel it’s just seasonal mood swings, but when they persist for several weeks or more, you have no choice but to go to the doctor.
Absolutely go to the doctor if you have suicidal thoughts!
Don’t be ashamed - depression is an illness like any other. It is, really.
After you’ve been to visit a psychiatrist and are pursuing a course of treatment, you can always seek additional support. The more actively you fight depression, the sooner it will disappear! Look for depression support groups in your area. You can join one on facebook, but it will be way better to actually meet with people who are experiencing exactly the same problems as you. You will feel lighter just by talking to them. Imagine the relief when you find out you’re not mad, and you’re not the weirdest and loneliest person on this planet. You just have a temporary problem, which I’m sure you’ll start tackling straight after reading this article. Best of luck!