Either you want to learn more about depression to support your friend, relative, or beloved one or you’re suffering from depression yourself this article will help you understand what depression is and what you can do to deal with it.
According to American Psychiatric Association, depression is a mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, think, and behave. It’s said that depression causes negative feelings.
However, according to Oxford Dictionary, depression itself is a feeling of severe despondency and dejection.
The problem with depression definition is that it only appeared in the 1960s, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health publication, and has not yet been studied closely enough to be defined clearly. But don’t worry, I won’t leave you without the answer.
There are two “types of depression”, according to Wikipedia:
Depression as a mood means that many people who are feeling sad sometimes call it depression. In reality, depression is much more than just feeling sad.
“Depression is a combination of negative emotions and feelings caused by prolonged negative thinking that leads to long-term or permanent changes human’s perception, thinking, and behavior.”
There are many symptoms of depression that a person can feel. One of the major symptoms is feeling down for 2 weeks or longer. However, there is a whole bouquet of feelings and emotions which accompany a depressed person for the most part of the day and night:
Depression highly decreases the quality of life as it’s very hard to experience joy and happiness being in that state. The feelings and thoughts are so overwhelming that it feels like depression is everlasting, and it’s never going to end.
According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44, while the median age is 32 years.
Today, we are lucky to have scientists, researchers, doctors, and therapists working towards exploring different types of depression. Some 50 years ago, there was no such classification, and every mental health disorder (today, known as depression) was considered to be “mania” or “schizophrenia.”
According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5, there are several types of depression:
Each of these types has different causes, symptoms, and treatment plans.
Major Depressive Disorder (known as Depression) is a mental disorder characterized by at least 2 weeks of low mood which follows you everywhere. A very distinctive peculiarity of major depressive disorder as well as seasonal affective disorder is their cyclicality. They tend to recur from time to time.
How to know whether you’re depressed or not? Let’s consider examples.
Collectively, all these signs may be your depression symptoms. When you have low mood, negative thoughts, low self-esteem for “no reason”, it’s very likely you’re going through another depression episode.
Major Depression symptoms include:
Major depression treatment usually includes antidepressants, mood regulators, stress reduction, therapy, lifestyle changes (diet, sleep, etc.), post-depression support plan, and self-help.
DMDD is an emotion disorder which occurs in childhood. Usually, DMDD is spotted at the age of 6-18. The symptoms of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder are:
DMDD should not be confused with bipolar disorder and a child should not be expected to have one. However, with DMDD, there is a higher risk of anxiety and major depression.
DMDD treatment usually includes antidepressants, therapy, and parent training.
It’s advised to focus on being a better parent instead of abusing drugs. Regulate your family processes and try to understand your child by observing the DMDD triggers, your child behavior, and emotions.
Pills cure symptoms, but not the causes. Review your family culture, school, and social circles to make sure your DMDD treatment is effective.
Chronic depression is very similar to a major depressive disorder except for the fact that you’ve been depressed for a long period of time. The only difference between chronic depression and depression is that chronic depression can cause brain damage.
Your brain is an organ. Like a muscle, it needs to be trained to stay tuned. Setting goals, trying new things (learning languages, hobbies, etc.), communicating, playing games, and musical instruments will help to train your brain. The more diverse your positive life experiences are the better the quality of your life. When you do new things, your brain generates new neural connections which help you stay clear-minded and more resilient.
With chronic depression, when you focus on the bad stuff mostly, and your activities are very limited due to the same symptoms as in major depression your brain doesn’t generate new neural connections. If there is no progression there is a regression, unfortunately.
Luckily, our brains are quite flexible. Thanks to neuroplasticity, you can restore the damaged neurons and make your brain form new connections by completely changing your lifestyle, mindset (beliefs, thinking), and behavior. This is not an easy thing to do, especially with chronic depression. So, if you feel like you’re depressed – take action now.
Sorry ladies, there is not much I can say about it. However, this girl will obviously do a better job explaining premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
As gentlemen, we need to be careful talking to girls in that period. No bad, irritating, upsetting stuff at all. And even if we tell a girl that she is an amazing, beautiful, stunning, godlike creature she will get upset and cry anyway. No worries. Just live it through together.
Bipolar disorder is another mental disorder which is characterized by extreme mood swings from low to high. You can be extremely sad at times or you can be extremely happy.
Bipolar disorder affects around 6 million people in the United States. The causes of bipolar disorder are yet unclear. However, data suggests that 85% of it comes from genetics.
The major causes of bipolar disorder are:
People suffering from bipolar disorder are at greater risk of hurting themselves. Thus, 30-40% of those suffering from it will practice self-harm.
The treatment usually includes antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
I may have had this problem myself because I had such extreme mood swings during the day. Currently, I’m learning to keep my mood neutral. When I feel like I get too sad I stop listening to sad music, doing things that irritate me, and ignore my negative thoughts about life.
In contrast, when I feel too highly-spirited, energetic, and excited, I try to listen to calm music such as Jeremy Soule, Hans Zimmer, Peter Roe, etc.
Apart from music, physical exercises help me a lot in both cases. After doing some push-up and pull-ups, I feel a bit tired which is good when I’m too excited and euphoric. On the other hand, exercises help me uplift my mood when I’m feeling too exhausted and frustrated. I assume it works because my blood starts circulating better and flows away from the brain distracting me from negative thoughts.
Seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder which is characterized by depression episodes and mood swings during the season changes. Usually, SAD occurs in winter when the sun is hidden, and everything is grey and cold.
SAD is also called winter blues or winter depression and affects Nordic countries more than other countries. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include:
Usually, the SAD treatment includes mood regulators and light therapy as it’s probably caused by the lack of sunlight. Also, during SAD, it’s vital to spend more time talking to people. Just like for any other type of depression, communication is the key.
Now, when you know about some of the scientific causes of depression I want to share the causes that I find to be true as well. This is, unfortunately, something I see every day. The most common problems which many of us ignore are the actual causes of depression.
(Not because some of your relatives were depressed, but because of your upbringing). Often times people are depressed because they were raised in a wrong way, for example, when your parents dictate you what you MUST do instead of asking you what you want. And when you say what you want they tell you off by saying you’re too young to have your own opinion.
Continuous discouragement, punishment, and pressure lead to a higher risk of bipolar disorder and depression development. There are two ways you can deal with it as a teenager. Either seek family therapy to regulate your family processes or become invisible for your family by being a “good” kid and then take action to distance yourself once you turn 18. Dormitory, campus, a rented flat, friend’s apartment, etc., will improve your life.
Seeing a lot of negative things every day from news, TV, social media, YouTube, and other channels of information can make you lose hope in society, world or your own life. When there is only negative stuff such as death, rape, murder, catastrophe, incident, etc., it’s hard to see the good in life.
The solution is to ignore and avoid negative images, movies, and news. Unsubscribe from all the bad stuff you’re receiving and focus on what matters. Bad things happen; it’s true and it’s real. But if you can’t change it now – ignore it. If you truly care, then focus on getting better, bigger, and stronger to fight the negative in this world.
Your friends, acquaintances, family members (especially, the elder) may be complaining every day about their life problems, misfortune, etc. Even if you don’t watch TV and all the trash that’s happening in the world, there is at least one person in your life who tells you everything you “need to know.”
The solution is to clean up your social circle. You have an opportunity to choose your friends and people you communicate with. As someone who has a choice, you can change your social circle again and again until you’re satisfied. Look for people who will support you when you achieve things as well as when you fall down.
Seek those who will always encourage you to move forward even if you’ve already surpassed them. People who can listen to you, understand, and support you without any pragmatic vision are the ones you need to surround yourself with.
Having troubles with physical health may severely damage your psychic. For example, if you broke your leg and now you can’t dance, or you’re sick all the time and you can’t go for a walk when everybody is walking, or you’re under/overweight and you think nobody is going to like you. All these things may cause depression.
The solution is to exercise regularly. I try to do sports every day because I know what happens when I stop. Once I stop doing exercises, I’ll start experiencing back pain and mood swings which lead to depression.
I’ve started regulating my diet as well. I try to avoid sugar, junk food, and overeating. It helps me wake up feeling better and my overall state has never been better. I encourage you to read more about the food that you eat and create a diet within your budget.
Going to work that you hate, but need in order to provide for yourself or going to university/college because you were told to do so, visiting dance clubs when you always wanted to do swimming may hurt you as well. It affects the way you think because you’re constantly doing something that you don’t like. It causes a lot of stress, negative thoughts, and pressure.
The solution is to transition from one job to another until you feel satisfied with your salary and corporate culture. Same with college. If you hate college so hard and you think it’s a waste of time – go find a job or make your own plan. If you just hate college, and you don’t have a better plan – keep on studying because you’re not ready yet.
The way you think and react to things is the only real cause of depression. All the psychotherapies you go through are directed at changing your beliefs and thinking. You just learn to see your problems and life challenges from a different perspective. Practice problem-solving skills to develop natural depression resistance.
There are many ways people express their depression even if they don’t tell you they are depressed. Usually, you can see it in very common things. However, these things may become the first signs of depression which you shouldn’t ignore.
Here are the two non-obvious ways to spot depression in others.
Quotes about depression are simple ways of expressing very complicated problems. They are very precise at describing a particular feeling, emotion, or experience. A quote is something that is easily consumed and shared this is why they have wide public resonance.
HealthyPlace seems to have gathered a solid collection of quotes about depression. Here are some of them:
It’s important to pay attention to your friends who regularly post quotes and images about depression, anxiety, suicide, etc. because these things may be the first signs of their mental struggles. You may be the one to keep your friends from making wrong choices.
Memes have a huge impact on today’s society and generations. They the power to change your thinking and behavior, political situation, life or simply cause good laughs.
Memes spread very quickly because these are easily-consumable combinations of text and images which your brain processes much faster than plain text. People like and share them in the blink of an eye. This is why memes about depression are a perfect form of self-expression.
If you’re depressed and you read and share memes you get easy dopamine because of social appraisal, likes, and comments which make you feel good. A simple comment like “Haha, true” makes you feel not alone, supported, heard, and listened to. A minute later, all the good feelings are gone, and you just keep scrolling for more memes.
Just like quotes, memes about depression, anxiety, and suicide are also signs of serious troubles. The one who jokes about these things is the one who is probably fighting depression at the current moment and is looking for help. You may not necessarily ask your friend how’s it going after every picture they post, but if you see other symptoms like complaining about life, feeling down all the time, etc., it may be the time to offer your support.
A depression treatment plan may vary depending on your specific type of depression. Usually, a depression treatment plan includes:
You may want to consult your doctor or an expert to identify and fight your specific type of depression effectively. You may be afraid to go to the doctor, and that is the last thing you want to do, but I encourage you to go there and listen to what you’ll be told. You may not necessarily follow the prescription, but at least you’ll have one in case your self-help plan doesn’t work out.
At Life to Make, I do everything I can to help you practice emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and problem-solving, but you’d better discuss your depression treatment plan with your doctor.
Remember: depression can be cured. It has started in your head, and in your head, you can end it.
What if I told you that you have a choice? You can choose to be depressed or you can choose to be happy. What will you choose?
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