What Is Depression, and What Can You Do About It?

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Via Pixabay

Depression is very common, having been named “the cold of mental disorders”, in an attempt to explain just how often it is seen. Despite this, it’s still misunderstood by the general population, and even by those who are depressed.

However, it’s very important that more people become aware of what depression really is, in order for them to be able to either help those around them, or even themselves, get the proper treatment when they need it.

 

What Depression is Not

First of all, one has to understand what depression is not. In the day-to-day life, people tend to go through periods of happiness, followed by periods of unhappiness. These ups and downs are normal, and they usually correspond to events that happen in one’s life.

While people often say that they are depressed when they’re experiencing those “downs”, this is the wrong label, as it is not depression they’re experiencing.

 

What is Depression?

Depression is characterized by feelings of despair, and an inability to find pleasure and interest in everyday activities. Indeed, this loss of interest can be so debilitating that it might leave a person completely unable to carry out regular activities.

Here is a list of symptoms that one might experience when undergoing a depressive episode:

  • Experiencing depressed mood almost the entire day.
  • A substantial decline in interest in nearly any activity.
  • Lack of movement, or too much movement.
  • A substantial decline in energy levels.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Weight loss or gain that is unintentional.
  • Decreased ability to concentrate.
  • Feeling worthless.
  • Experiencing guilt.
  • Thinking about death.
  • Thinking about suicide or attempting to commit it.

These symptoms have to last for over 2 weeks in order for it to be considered depression.

 

What Should You Do when Experiencing Depression?

The first step you should take is talk to a professional about it. If you don’t know where to start, even going to your family doctor is a good idea, as he or she will be able to point you in the right direction. In addition to this, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself.

  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Get the proper amount of sleep

You’ve probably heard about how good these things are for you that you might be tempted to ignore them, but you shouldn’t. Indeed, they can help you improve your mood, and though they might not be the quickest way to healing your mind, they are efficient.

Exercise

While exercising, most people enjoy an elevated mood, and though someone who’s depressed might not experience this, after a few weeks of exercising 3 to 4 times per week, there are high chances that you will notice an improvement in the way you feel.

Not only this, but exercise can also help you relieve stress, and improve your energy, which will leave you better able to deal with everyday activities.

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits is always a good idea, but this tends to be even more true for depressed people. By doing so, you will be feeding both your body and your brain with the nutrients it needs to work properly. As such, your brain will be on its way to recovery.

Get the Proper Amount of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is probably easier said than done. If you have insomnia, then you simply can’t get to sleep. However, there are things that you can do make falling asleep easier.

For instance, you can start by having a bedtime routine that helps you relax, which might involve reading a book, drinking a hot beverage such as tea or milk, and having a warm bath.

Then, if you find yourself unable to get to sleep, you should make sure that you don’t stay in bed, as that will only make matters worse. Rather, get up, and continue reading the book, or do something else, until you feel like you are about to fall asleep again. If this doesn’t help at all, then talk to your doctor about getting medication for sleeping.

If, on the other hand, you sleep too much , then you should make sure that you have activities that you can do throughout the day in order to avoid sleeping.

 

Ask for Help

Talking to a professional might feel a bit overwhelming, and if that feels like it’s too much in the beginning, you should start by asking a loved one for help.

Some people feel ashamed about having depression, but it is nothing to be ashamed about. Not only is it very common, but it’s also not your fault that you have it.

If you open up to someone who cares about you, you don’t have to worry about them thinking less of you, because they will very likely understand and try their best to help you.

 

Experiencing depression is difficult, but luckily, the problem can be dealt with. While getting the help of a professional is the surest way to healing, there are a few things you can do on your own, such as getting the help of a friend, taking care of how much you sleep and of what you eat, and exercising.

 

Sources:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm

http://depressionhurts.ca/en/manage/social-life.aspx

http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/depression/

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The Terrifying Face of Change

Via Wikimedia

“We are creatures of habit.” The number of times I’ve heard this is ridiculously high, yet I never really gave it much thought. “Yes, I suppose we are.”, I’d say to myself, and go about my day, without really absorbing what the person meant by saying this. Hell, maybe they didn’t even know the extent to which they were right.

The idea of change is a beautiful one, isn’t it? There’s a certain comfort in thinking that your life won’t always be the same. Of course, we hope that someday it will be better. That we’ll get that dream job we’ve wanted since we were kids, that we’ll be able to afford the house, the car, the clothes, and the vacations we want. The reality, however, is that change isn’t always good. Sometimes, we go down a level instead of up. That can happen at work, but it can also happen in life. One day you’re happily riding the “Business Class” of life, and then the next, all of a sudden, you’re sent to “Economy”. No warning, no nothing.

This is why people don’t always welcome change; because they don’t know if it means that something good will happen, or something bad. Of course, some are better than others at dealing with the uncertainty of it all. Yet still, most of us are wired to prefer what is known, because simply knowing something makes it more comforting than not knowing. This is why people will stay in crappy conditions (and I’m sure you can think of someone who has stayed waaaay too long in a bad relationship). Chances are, they probably know that those conditions suck. But there’s a little voice inside of them whispering that maybe, just maybe, if they dare to change something, they might end up in a situation that’s even worse.

Via pixabay
Via pixabay

Many times, change can be seen as a good thing; a way for getting out of a life that’s not offering what you’re looking for. Even so, the more that change is approaching, the more terrifying it can be to look at it.

But there’s good news! Sometimes, change can make it seem as though you’ve gone to a worse place than you were before. Perhaps, temporarily, it may be true. However, if you know how to make use of it, even the scariest of changes can lead to better outcomes. Maybe you find yourself having to quit your job, leading to a period of unemployment. Let’s be honest here: for most people, going from job to no job is going from good to bad. Yet, this may give  you the chance to look for a better job than the one you had. It may push you to do something you never did before, because you were too comfortable.

Change happens outside of your comfort zone, but stepping into that land doesn’t feel all that great at first. There’s a reason it’s called the “comfort” zone. Nevertheless, once the change has occurred, you may just find that your zone of comfort is extended, and you can do so much more than before. This is why, no matter how terrifying change may seem, it certainly comes with benefits.

/Larisa

The Things You Should Never Tell Yourself

Via 9gag
Via 9gag

I like going on 9gag from time to time, because it’s a lot of fun. Well, what I mean to say is that it can be a lot of fun. It can also be very sad, and sometimes, even frustrating. Lots of people were complaining about the fact that many 9gag users started to post things that weren’t so funny. I personally didn’t have any particular problem with it, because I’m all about people talking about their opinion, and it doesn’t matter if it’s related to something funny or sad.

But then there are the posts that just plain frustrate me. There are many such examples, and maybe I’ll talk about others as I encounter them. The one I posted above is just one of them.

Let’s take each statement one by one, and see what’s wrong with it when said in relation to one’s self:

I hate you

You do realize that you are going to spend the rest of your life with you, right? In essence, you’ve sort of entered a marriage with yourself the moment you were born, and this is not a marriage that you can end by divorce. It’s not a marriage that you should end. So, what do people do when they don’t want a marriage to fall apart? They fix it. There are good things about you, whether you care to acknowledge them or not. They’re there. Be on the lookout, and you’re sure to find them.

You’re weak

Let’s make something clear here, ok? We’re all human beings. No, seriously, we are. That makes us vulnerable, which means that sometimes, yes, we are weak. All of us. Not at the same time, but we all go through phases of weakness, followed by strength. It’s normal.

If you’re feeling weak, don’t blame yourself for it. Rather, look at what made you be that way, and try to fix it. If you can’t do it on your own, then…well, look for help. Even looking for help implies some sort of strength, because it shows that you acknowledge the problem, and you’re ready to do something about it. There is strength in you. You just have to make it come out.

You deserve the pain

So you’ve taken the role of God, eh? You started to decided who deserves the pain, and who doesn’t.

Every single one of us makes mistakes, because, as I said before, we’re humans. If you’ve made a mistake, this doesn’t make you a bad person. It simply means you made a mistake. Try to fix it. If you can’t, then do your best to reduce the negative effects it has. Telling yourself that you deserve the pain won’t solve anything. It will only make you feel horrible, and there’s no point in that.

You’re imperfect

YES!!! Of course you are. We all are. This statement seems pointless to me. It’s like saying “I breathe oxygen”. Yeah, no kidding. So do I! Look at all the stuff we have in common.

But there’s more to this statement, when said in this context: it essentially says that “I breathe oxygen, and therefore I’m a bad person.” Well, then that means that we’re all really bad, because we are all the same in this regard.

It’s ok to be imperfect, really. We all are.

You’ll never be good enough

Not only are you God, but you can also see in the future. That’s quite impressive, it really is! Well, never mind! God is supposed to see in the future, so I guess I should have congratulated you on your impressiveness before this.

Anyway, this statement begs the question “Good enough for what?”. Can you answer it being specific, or do you just think that way in general terms?

It doesn’t really matter if you can be specific or not, because you’re mistaken in thinking this either way. Using words like “never”, and “always” is not a good idea, because they can easily be refuted. So hey! Maybe you weren’t good enough for something at some point, but you can do something to improve it in the future. If you think that you’re not good enough in general, then you are exaggerating. There is something in you, ready to come out and be great and wonderful, but if you keep hiding it, then…

I hope you die

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

Whatever is going in your life, you should know that it will get better. But did you see the key word in that sentence right there? It’s life. There needs to be life in order for things to get better.

These kinds of thoughts are quite commonly met in depression. Many of us might experience some of them on a daily basis, but it’s in depressed people that they happen with a lot of frequency. If you notice yourself thinking this way a lot, then you should look for help. It’s out there, and it will help you smile once again 🙂

In the meantime, here are some things you should tell yourself:

Sea_Clouds_Background_Texture_by_StitcherLadyxx

/Larisa

Get in touch with me!  🙂

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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

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Trying to do something, and then failing at it utterly is never fun. And I mean never. There is only one thing that can make failing fun, and that is succeeding at that task later. (I spoke about this in my last post)

The problem is that sometimes, you keep on trying and trying and trying, and that success doesn’t seem to want to come. It just won’t.

And it sucks, especially when you feel as though you’ve given all that could, all that you had to that one task. When you’ve given your best, but you haven’t achieved what you were hoping to achieve, what do you do?

Do you back down, and try to look for something else to put your efforts into, or do you keep on trying and trying until you’ve finally succeeded?

There is no simple answer here, sadly. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking…”No clear-cut answer in something to do with real life?! How very shocking…”

Indeed, it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that things are usually more difficult in life than they seem, or than they should be. However, at least for me, this never ceases to be frustrating.

But here are my two cents on the whole matter: it all depends on enjoyment. If you’re doing something, you’re giving your best, and you’re not where you wish you could be, it’s ok. That is, as long as you’re still enjoying whatever you’re doing. If you feel good about it, and it makes you happy, keep at it. Chances are, there will come a day when your best will be good enough. Who knows? There might also come a day when your best is better than good enough.

Now, don’t think that the minute you start disliking or getting frustrated at something you usually like to do, you should quit. Goodness, not at all. There will always be times when you’ll feel frustrated, especially when you’re constantly putting in the best you can, but the results don’t seem to show that.

When you should really start thinking about whether something you like to do has turned into something that you used to like to do is when you’re feeling frustrated most of the time you’re doing it.

In essence, if Frustration > Happiness, or Enjoyment per total, it’s time to reconsider your position. Until then, keep at it!

/Larisa

Get in touch with me!  🙂

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The Flavor of Success

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“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” 

-Truman Capote

Failure is something we all dislike, because there is nothing pleasant about attempting to do something, and not succeeding in that which we have wanted to achieve. Some people take a failure harder than others: they might see that failure as essential to their character, and thus, identify with it. However, there are people who look at a failure and realize that it’s just a set back. The fact that they didn’t succeed the first, second, third, or hundredth time doesn’t mean that they won’t ever succeed. All they have to do is keep looking for ways.

However, once success comes, it becomes that much better. You see, here it’s not just about the success itself, though this, too, is important. Of course it’s a great feeling to know you’ve achieved something thorough your own efforts. However, what’s even better than that is knowing that you didn’t give up. That no matter how many times you couldn’t succeed at something, you simply kept trying and trying, until it was done.

Being successful is great, because it gives you a sense of accomplishment. But when this sense of accomplishment is combined with the sense of perseverance, it becomes that much better.

School, Stress, and Life

via flickr

Do you know the feeling when classes start, and you’re super excited about the new year that lies ahead of you?

No, not really? Ok, so I might be the only one.

Anyway, point is, I was really happy about the opportunity of learning new things, particularly since all  of my courses seemed fascinating. Then…well, then reality happened.

You know reality, right? It’s like that annoying person that constantly points out the literal meanings of things: “Dude, what do you mean her eyes are as bright as the stars? You can’t even look at the stars…” or “It’s raining cats and dogs outside? Cats and dogs don’t even rain…”. Well, I’ll admit that occasionally, I am that person. But I can still appreciate metaphors, unless they’re not too ridiculous.

Oh, but back to reality: it has such a sweet way of destroying hopes. Not always, but it seems to have a special talent for that… So there I was, thinking this term is going to be perfect. I kept thinking that until it started.

It took me a rather short amount of time to realize that this was not going to be the case. Juggling working as a writer and being a full time student is intense, to say the least. Not that I don’t like these two occupations…in fact, I love them! However, it’s like combining two really cool solutions in chemistry, which, on their own, are perfectly alright. Put them together and.. BOOM!!

Stress has been bubbling up in my head like a carbonated drink does when it’s agitated. I’m just hoping that once I open the “bottle” it won’t explode.

I’ve talked about stress before, and I mentioned how good stress is good for you, because it motivates you to do the things you ought to. But then there’s bad stress…the kind that makes you go out of your mind, but it fails to actually do its job.

Our society is very talented at stressing us, because of the kind of “ideal” that it promotes. This is understandable, in part, but once you realize how bad chronic stress is for the brain, you’ll probably start hoping that society would just take it down a notch.

But when that’s not an option, what’s left for us to do? Well, we have to take it down a notch ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we have to quit the job that sustains us (unless there’s certainty of another one), or that we have to self-medicate with alcohol, and other dangerous substances. Yet, we do need to self medicate somehow. Even a simple walk is sometimes efficient at lowering stress. Other times, a run might be a better candidate. Really, it should be something you enjoy doing, because otherwise there’s no point.

So this is my challenge to you: think of what can bring that stress level down, and do it. It’s not just your short-term happiness that’s at stake, but also you long-run well being.

/Larisa

Related:

One more day, by Staymiscellaneous

Have A Break… Have A KitKat!, by Apricots and Cream

 

Today I Feel Like Doing Nothing…and Why I Hate Days Like This

Via Wikipedia

We’ve all had days like these, in which bathing in an absolute state of utter laziness is the only thing we want to do. I know I’ve had my fair share…Of course, I use the term “do” here rather generously, for it is precisely the absence or lack of doing that is sought on such days.

It is ironic to me just how strong this feeling is, despite the fact that I absolutely hate such days. Do keep in mind that “hate” is a word I do my best to refrain as much as possible from using, due to its strength. Regardless, I will not even attempt to refrain from using it in this situation, because it portrays my feelings all too well.

You see, I like accomplishing things. They don’t need to be huge, or extremely important (though I wouldn’t mind it), as long as at the end of the day, I can proudly look back and see that something got done. Little things, like cleaning up a room, or reading 20 pages from a book can make me feel like the day wasn’t wasted.

One of the people I respect the most used to constantly remind me that each day I need to be better than I was the day before. He referred specifically to learning, because he was a teacher, and so this followed naturally. However, I think this can be taken more generally. You can be a better person by doing a simple gesture, such as giving an elder your seat on the bus. And then of course, you can be a better person by gaining more knowledge, by adding to the pool of known information yet another fact.

I believe in being better each day very strongly. This is like a driving force, able to give constant motivation.

And yet, there are days when “being accomplished” is the last thing I want to achieve, on a practical level. I say “on a practical level”, because as far as my beliefs go, they don’t change. Strangely enough, my desires collide. Here I am, stuck between not what I want to do and what I should do, but between what I want to do, and what I want to do. A strange feeling, indeed!

At the end of the day, I always try as best as I can to remind myself that this feeling of laziness is nothing more than the result of chemicals working funny in my brain. That’s all there is to it, though it sure feels like much, much more.

The thing that always ends up helping me get over this “I feel like doing nothing” feeling is always thinking of how important it is to me to advance each and every day. As I said, I don’t strive for necessarily big things. Something easy is enough, so long as it gets me going. The rest comes easy after that.

 

Then, of course, there are days in which taking a break is a good idea. But there’s a crucial difference between these types of days, and days like today, and this difference rests in a conscious decision to take a break. I figure this is much better than falling pray to chemistry that has gone awry.

Is there anything that motivates you to keep moving even when you reaaally don’t feel like it? I’d love to hear your input on this one 🙂

/Larisa