Most people know what depression is; not just because they know a friend who is depressed, or because they’ve read the dictionary definition, but because they’ve experienced it. Bouts of intense and prolonged feelings of sadness, fear, loneliness, and anxiety are experienced by everyone at some point. They’re usually triggered by situations; the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, loss of a job, etc.
But what happens when those feelings don’t go away? What if they can’t be pinned so easily to something situational? Though referred to as ‘depression’, a more accurate term for this would be a depressive disorder.
People often imagine such a disorder to be accompanied by frequent crying or other overt displays of sadness. But depression doesn’t always make someone feel intense sorrow. It can also result in a severe lack of motivation, feelings of discouragement, or just a disinterest in life in general. It doesn’t just affect your mood; it also affects how you function and behave. It affects your ability to actually do things. In fact, many would go as far as to call it a physical illness, or, at least, an illness that toes the line between physical and mental.
Your first port of call
If you feel that “the blues” has been going on for too long, then you should see your doctor. A lot of people don’t think about this; they think that they need to go to some specialist or clinic, something that seems incredibly daunting. But seeing your usual doctor is the first step you should take; they may be able to help you in several ways without immediately referring you to a counselor.
Taking things further
If someone’s depression is persistent, then a doctor will usually move the patient towards drugs and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. There are a lot of different drugs that may be prescribed, all with different effects for different people. There are also a variety of direct treatments that may be suggested. Some may look to full- or part-hospitalization if they’re in need of intensive treatment for their depression or other issues concerning anxiety. Compass Health Center has info on the options available to you.
What else can be done?
When people talk about treating depression, they think about doctors, counselors, drugs, hospitals – the sort of things we’ve listed thus far. While these can all be extremely helpful, and are recommended ports of call, your options for alleviating matters aren’t limited to things quite so clinical and daunting. Some general “live well” advice can also work wonders!
What do I mean by “general ‘live well’ advice”? I’m referring to the things that parents and doctors are always urging people to do. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Eat well. Drink lots of water. These things don’t just help keep your body fit and functioning properly; they help relieve anxiety, increase concentration, and help pump loads of feel-good chemicals throughout your body. Sunshine and vitamins can also help a lot in this regard!
Remember: there’s more help for these kinds of problems than ever. Reach out to someone and take care of yourself.