Get Help For Depression
Sometimes people say, “I’m sad, I’m feeling blue, I’m depressed.” What they mean is that they are having a bad day, have had a negative experience, and are feeling glum about it. But the feeling will pass and tomorrow they will be fine. That is not depression. However, if you are feeling low and it doesn’t pass, but it is persistent, you may have real depression. And you need to seek help for it.
Symptoms of Depression
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, if you have these symptoms for at least two weeks, you may have depression and need to seek treatment:
Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness
Decreased energy or fatigue
Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
Thoughts of death or suicide.
Physical symptoms without a clear physical cause
Everyone doesn’t manifest the symptoms of depression in exactly the same way. The symptoms can begin to show up slowly and subtly, or they may hit you suddenly after something like a traumatic experience, after giving birth, a sickness, or a loss and time of grief. You start to feel different and think it will pass, but it doesn’t. Depression can linger for weeks, months, or years. Or it can manifest only during a season like winter, or for a period in your life, lift and never return or return again later.
What To Do
If you recognize some or all of these symptoms in yourself, what should you do? Maybe you have been experiencing them for a while. Like anything else, the earlier you treat it, the better off you’ll be. However, if you’ve had these symptoms for some time, it’s not too late to get help. The only thing you can do wrong is not get help and just try to shoulder it on your own. If your symptoms of depression are interfering with your daily ability to function, get help now.
Here are seven steps you can take right now to help with your depression:
Remember that you are not alone.
Depression is more common than you think. From April 27 to May 9, 2022, around 22 percent of adults in the United States reported symptoms of depressive disorder in the past week. People tend to hide their depression because of shame, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something millions of people just like you struggle with depression.
Give yourself permission to ask for help.
The only person keeping you from getting the help you need is probably you. Maybe you’re worried about the cost of therapy, or you don’t feel that you are worth the expense or time, but whatever your reason is, it’s not true. You need help. If you had a persistent toothache or headache or some physical ailment that wouldn’t go away, you’d seek help. This is no different. But you have to say, “I am worth the money, worth the time, and worth the effort to get this problem in my life treated.”
Share your concerns with someone you trust.
Depression thrives in secrecy. In fact, it makes you want to isolate yourself and shut yourself off. So, a major step toward battling depression is to share what you’re feeling and going through with a family member of friend that you can trust whom you know will support you. If you don’t have anyone close to you that you can share with, reach out to your doctor or to a counselor.
Eat good food.
Often, depression depresses a person’s appetite and you don’t feel like eating. But that just feeds your depression. Depression starves you but feeds itself. Not eating lowers your body’s defenses and naturally depresses your system, so that your emotional depression grows stronger while you grow weaker. So, eat. Not junk food, but good food, healthy food with good nutritious value.
Depression interferes with your regular sleep patterns. It makes it hard to go to sleep and stay asleep. But you need sleep. The human body and mind cannot go without sleep for very long before breaking down psychologically. So, as much as you can get to bed at a reasonable hour, take a melatonin to help you sleep if needed, meditate or pray and focus on positive and calming thoughts to help your mind drift into sleep.
Get some exercise.
Again, depression doesn’t want you to move around too much. It wants you to find a chair and just sit and be inactive. But activity and exercise where you move your body are huge countermeasures to depression, maybe one of the best things that you can do to fight depression. Go for a walk around your neighborhood, or if it’s too cold or hot, go walk the mall; do some gardening or mow the lawn; go for a bike ride. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise at a gym, even simple activities that get you moving for at least a half hour are beneficial.
Seek professional help.
Getting professional help doesn’t mean you are weak. It actually means you are strong enough and wise enough to fight for your health and do what is best for yourself. See your doctor first to find out if there is a medical cause for your depression such as a chemical imbalance. If that’s not the cause, he or she will probably prescribe a combination of medication and talk therapy. As counselors, we do not prescribe medication but we do talk therapy very well.
There Is Hope
Counseling is valuable for depression or any mental or emotional problem because as long as a problem stays within you, it has power over you and controls you. But when you put that problem into words and give it form and expression and share it with a counselor, it has now become manageable and you can take control over it. There are several therapies that are effective and proven to help with depression. One of the main talk therapies for depression is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which we practice at Christian Counseling Associates.
If you are struggling with the symptoms of depression, I urge you to read more about depression, and then reach out to us at Christian Counseling Associates to schedule a free consultation and get you started on the road to a better life.