At one time or the other all of us go through the blues – feeling low, out of energy, listless and lethargic. These are the normal symptoms of depression especially when you suffer from any of these maladies over a period of time or have these low moods frequently.
This article deals with a general and practical guide to cope with these mood swings that tend to attack you and take you unawares leaving you bewildered and confused. With the stress that is inherently part of today’s modern life depression in many forms hinders the physical and mental health of most individuals.
Some of the common symptoms of depression: Apathy or disinterest in activities that you normally like Lack of appetite or excess appetite, Sleeping too much or inability to sleep, Feeling low and down about yourself, General disinterest in everything, Exhibiting signs of poor hygiene or grooming, Wild mood swings, Unexplainable bouts of weeping.
There are a few logical steps to be followed to dealing with depression.
- Awareness: Many a times we go through life without being aware of the fact that we are indeed not feeling/ performing as we normally do. It is important to be aware of your mindset at any given time. This does not necessarily mean that you have to be obsessed with your state of mind, but having the ability to assess oneself clearly without delusions.
- For example: You are aware that your attitude towards your work has been very negative/ indifferent for a period of time and you are unable to produce the desired results, which you know you are capable of. Instead of identifying the underlying cause you tell yourself that anybody could go through this and keep on underperforming. This could result in not only lower self-esteem but could also affect your employment. The first step of awareness and acceptance of your depressed state of mind is very vital.
- Identifying the cause: Once you have accepted that things are not as they should be it is important to introspect on what is the cause of this state of mind. This could vary over a wide range of causes from the emotional, physical, and hormonal to the mundane events of life. However it becomes important to pinpoint the cause of your depression. Unless you are clearly able to understand the cause of your problem it would be difficult to come up with an effective solution.
- Analyzing the root cause: Once you have identified the root of your depression, it becomes important to analyze the root cause. For example: You are feeling low because you feel you have not achieved as much as your peers. Thinking about this in detail will help you analyze where you went wrong or maybe even conclude that your perception of their success is exaggerated or even that their success has been achieved at the cost of their personal life. This will help you gain a proper perspective on things. You can start weighing your achievements in the proper context.
- Devising a method to overcome depression: Once you have identified the root cause of your depression, you are halfway on the path to recovery. There are many things you can do to overcome your down mood, some of which include Accepting that you are better off as you are Diverting your mind to the positive aspects of your life Devising pleasurable pastimes that help lift your mood. This could be as simple as reading a book or listening to music. Discuss your plans with family members so that they can help you and do not feel left out when you take up new activities
- Allot some special time for yourself Start a simple exercise plan. Activities like walking and swimming are not only beneficial in building up physical fitness; they contribute a lot to your mental well being by releasing endorphins that help lift your mood and help build confidence Turn to spirituality and build a better relationship with God Talk to friends and family about your feelings.
- However while doing this please ensure that you choose a positive, optimistic and enthusiastic person to talk to, who is also a good listener or else it could turn out to be a case of misery loving company Treat yourself to something nice.
- A word of caution here do not overindulge or else you could be using your depression to form bad habits Pick out an outfit that cheers you up and wear it Have a good cry. Once in a while tears can have a cathartic effect and relieve the stress enormously.
- However again overindulgence in crying bouts could have a negative effect Write down your negative feelings/ thoughts on a paper and ceremoniously destroy the paper. A silly remedy but still surprisingly effective If you are fond of animals/ birds get yourself a pet.
- Please ensure that you are totally involved in taking care of the pet as this will divert your mind from the negative aspects of your life Take up gardening, Buy a fish tank and take full responsibility for its maintenance Learn a new skill that you always wanted to learn. Example: dancing, singing, playing guitar etc
- Play a new sport Implementing the methodology: Once you have devised the method/s you are going to use to overcome your depression, ensure that you implement your plan sincerely. Most of these activities given above are easy and pleasurable. However these are a few generalized suggestions. You could develop your own methods depending on your specific personality, tastes, time constraints and budgetary constraints.
- In the past I have always found that the key to overcoming to depression is having a clear plan of action and enough discipline to implement the plan to ensure success.
Tips and Warnings
- Please note that this is an article that deals with the common form of depression not clinical depression. In case you feel you or your near and dear ones are going through chronic depression over a continued period of time do consult a qualified and reputed healthcare professional.