Mental Awareness - Depression

U.K. artist Toby Allen hopes to bring a face to mental health illnesses by depicting various psychiatric disorders as cartoon-like monsters.
                                                                                                       U.K. artist Toby Allen hopes to bring a face to mental health illnesses by depicting various psToby Allen - 2013/Tumblr

     Depression is a common but serious mood disorder which can affect how people handle work and daily activities. It has a wide range of covering eating, sleeping, communicating and feeling. There are several common misunderstanding about depression. People usually mix depression with sadness symptoms which requires causes and particular feelings. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), many of those suffer from depression do feel overwhelming sadness but no specific emotion at all. Emptiness and apathy are two more accurate words to describe depression. People can suffer from anxiety as well when they experience depression. [1] Another big misconception of depression is assuming it as a sign of mental weakness. Depression is a complex medical disorder that has biological, psychological and social dimensions. Plenty of “strong” people suffer from depression as well due to different situations. Depression has a strong negative impact on brain chemistry, nervous system and action ability like other illness. [2]
    There are some obvious symptoms of depression:

  • Constant sadness with anxiety and “empty” mood. 
  • Hopelessness, helplessness, worthless and feelings of guilty. 
  • Decrease energy and ability of handling daily activities. Losing interest in life activities includes sex. 
  • Having difficulties in concentrating, remembering. Making decisions and controlling internal feeling towards things. 
  • Having thoughts of suicide and death, maybe attempting suicides. 
  • Refusing to accept treatments or the fact of having depression.  [3]
    When you think you see signals of depression on yourself or anyone around you. It is always beneficial to asking for help. There are hotlines for depression that can be easily found online which can listen to the problems and provide further suggestions. You can also reach out to doctors’ office in person or join online doctor forums if you want to stay anonyms.
    Even though talking to professionals is very highly recommended, you can also try the following list of natural depression treatments.

  •  Get in a routine. If you’re depressed, you need a routine, says Ian Cook, MD. He's a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA. Depression can strip away the structure from your life. One day melts into the next. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track.
  • Set goals. When you're depressed, you may feel like you can't accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself. "Start very small," Cook says. "Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day."
  • Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways, Cook says. How much exercise do you need? You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Just walking a few times a week can help.
  • Eat healthy. There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It's a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better. Although nothing is definitive, Cook says there's evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
  • Get enough sleep. Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse. What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom -- no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.
  • Challenge negative thoughts. In your fight against depression, a lot of the work is mental -- changing how you think. When you're depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions. The next time you're feeling terrible about yourself, use logic as a natural depression treatment. You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control.
  • Check with your doctor before using supplements. "There's promising evidence for certain supplements for depression," Cook says. Those include fish oil, folic acid, and SAMe. But more research needs to be done before we'll know for sure. Always check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re already taking medications.
  • Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class. [4]
     Depression is a very serious illness that destroy one’s life. People who are suffering from it need self- awareness, positive altitude for getting help and treatments, strong supports from family, friends and society.

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