It was a cold, dark night, I could hear the clapping thunder and see the flashes of lightning from my window. Earlier that day, the final results had been pasted on the board and mine was dismal. I had seen some results before that day and I had failed a few and this feeling of sadness and helplessness was already creeping in. I got to the faculty and immediately skimmed through the results on the board. I felt a sharp pain in my chest. It was like my column was spray painted with the letter F. I walked home not knowing what to do or who to talk to. Got to my apartment, shut the door and just laid on the bed for hours feeling absolutely lifeless. And thus my journey to depression officially began. That night, there was a plethora of negative thoughts flooding into my head the feeling of helplessness intensified. From then on, I was caught in a downward spiral, sinking slowly and painfully like i had stepped in quicksand in the middle of nowhere and there was little or no hope of getting out. Having battled depression [and believe me, I fought really hard] it made me dive deep into the subject in search for answers and possible solutions to others fighting a similar battle. Here is what I found:
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Close to 10% of the population in the United States suffers from depression, but because it is a mental illness, it can be much more difficult to understand than, say, high blood pressure.
There is frequently a misunderstanding between having depression and simply feeling depressed. Almost everyone feels bad from time to time for various reasons, such as getting a bad grade, getting into an argument, losing a job, and so on, but then things change and you feel a lot better. Clinical depression is unique. It is a medical condition that will not go away simply because you want it to. It lasts at least two weeks and impairs an individual's ability to work, play, and socialize.
Stress, peer pressure, demands from friends and family, bullying, emotional abuse, and the media that distorts our sense of self-worth and self image can all contribute to depression. You notice a progressive decline in your ability to perform basic functions that you used to carry out and even enjoy doing.
Clinical depression is characrized by some symptoms which include:
• A low mood
• Loss of interest in things you normally enjoy
• Changes in appetite
• Feeling worthless or excessively guilty
• Sleeping either too much or too little
• Poor concentration
• Restlessness or slowness
• Loss of energy
• Recurrent thougts of suicide.
According to psychiatric guidelines, you qualify for a diagnosis of depression if you have at least 5 of these symptoms.
Depression is distinguished not only by behavioral symptoms, but also by physical manifestations within the brain. Smaller frontal lobes and hypocampal volumes are examples. Depression is also linked to abnormal neurotransmitter transmission or depletion, particularly that of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
What to do when you are depressed:
● Talk about it:
Being supported and gaining insight into your own depression can come through talking about a situation with a friend or a group. According to research, talking can aid in stress management and depression recovery.
You might not feel at ease sharing your distress or talking about your mental health with others. If so, other strategies to improve your mood include writing about how you feel or expressing your emotions via poetry or art.
● Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs:
It may be tempting to smoke or drink if you're depressed in order to feel better.
Alcohol and cigarettes may appear to be helpful at first, but they ultimately worsen the situation. Use medical cannabis with caution.
Despite what you may believe, there is a clear connection between cannabis use and mental illness, including depression according to study.
● Work on your diet and make sure you exercise:
Exercise and a healthy diet can significantly speed up your recovery from depression. Both will benefit your overall health.
A healthy diet can help you feel better. In fact, it appears that eating healthily is just as important for maintaining mental health as it is for preventing physical health problems.
According to research, exercise may be as effective as antidepressants in reducing depression symptoms.
Physical activity can improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, promote the release of endorphins (your body's feel-good chemicals), and boost your self-esteem. Exercising can also help to distract you from negative thoughts and improve your social interaction.
● Practice mindfulness and declutter your mind:
It is easy to rush through life without pausing to notice much. Paying more attention to the present moment - to your own thoughts and feelings, as well as to the world around you - can improve your mental health. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness," and you can work to cultivate it in your own life.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends "mindfulness-based cognitive therapy" for people who are currently well but have had three or more previous episodes of depression. It may aid in the prevention of future episodes of depression.
● Seek medical help and complete your treatment regimen:
Consult a doctor or a pharmacist if you feel the situation is getting out of hand and you are already falling off a cliff (contemplating suicide). Follow the prescriptions given by the health care professional religiously.
Even if you begin to feel better, it is critical that you continue to take your antidepressants as directed. If you discontinue them too soon, your depression may return.
If you have any questions or concerns about the medication you're taking, consult a doctor or pharmacist. The information on possible interactions with other medicines or supplements will be included in the leaflet that comes with your medicine.
If you intend to take over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, or nutritional supplements, consult your doctor first. These can occasionally interfere with antidepressants.