What is Depression?
Isolation and loneliness are two of the most helpless feelings a person can experience. The cycle of loneliness and subsequent isolation can lead to depression, feelings of failure, and even thoughts of suicide. Depression is a complex mood disorder that can occur suddenly, following a life-changing event, such as a sudden death of a loved one. Sometimes, depression causes persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, and feelings of prolonged hopelessness. This is called major depressive disorder, or clinical depression.
Lost in Loneliness
When you’re depressed, the resulting social isolation leads to loneliness and feelings of abandonment. The cycle can spin out of control. You may experience extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, anxiety and trouble making decisions. The inability to interact socially intensifies the feeling of loneliness, and so it goes. People aren’t meant to be alone. It is important to have at least one person, whether it is a friend, relative, or co-worker, that you can connect with as you struggle to overcome your depression. Share a cup of coffee, go to a movie, or invite the person to your home for an evening of TV watching, if you’re not up to going out.
Don’t Lose Hope
Learning to live with depression is the first step to overcoming it. You have to start somewhere, so start by admitting you have the condition, and seek help. Make an appointment with your physician or mental health professional for an assessment. If your depression is situational, such as unexpected tragedy, divorce, job loss, or estrangement from a friend or relative, you can probably manage the symptoms with counseling and the passing of time.
If you suffer from clinical depression that leaves you feeling chronically sad and hopeless, you may need to consider a regime of anti-depressant medications combined with counseling or therapy. Follow the recommendations of your physician.
Climbing Out of the Darkness
Once you verify your diagnosis, it’s time to get busy. Severe depression isn’t usually something you can handle on your own, but you can make some lifestyle changes that will help you work toward recovery. These simple steps will help you feel better and help you control your depression, rather than allowing it to control you.
You know the drill. Avoid sugar, caffeine, and unhealthy food. Replace them with fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Drink lots of water.
Take a walk, ride a bike, join a gym, or engage in a physical activity that appeals to you.
Learn about depression. Read books, talk to your therapist, and educate yourself about your condition. Knowledge is power, and power will lead you down the road to recovery.