Do you know what depression is?
You are losing your appetite, feelings of hopelessness overwhelm you, nothing interests you, you don’t care whether you live or die, feelings of discontent, anger and guilt weigh you down.
Have you ever been in this state?
Do those questions sum an experience you have had? Perhaps you are unable to concentrate on any task, even for a short time; your patience runs thin and thoughts of suicide creep in. You may also find yourself becoming restless; trying to find satisfaction in anything but each activity drives you further into the depth of despair.
These feelings vividly describe a state known as depression. It is normal to feel sad once in a while but if the feeling persists and it affects your daily life, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
Depression is a mood disorder characterised by feelings of sadness, anger and grief which interferes with a person’s daily life. Experts have attributed the condition to genetic characteristics, hormonal imbalance, stress, grief, and anxiety. Any of these conditions significantly alters the brain chemistry, leading to depression. Bereavement, disappointment in relationships, failure in business, setbacks that come from independent economic events may alter the brain chemistry of individuals.
There are natural remedies that can help you overcome depression.
Exercise releases certain chemical components called endorphins into your body. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that put you at ease. Apart from the feel-good chemicals which are released a few minutes after breaking sweat, exercising regularly rewires your brain and sends happy signals to your nervous system to mitigate the secretion of chemicals responsible for depression.
Make a habit of eating healthy meals
There is no silver bullet to curing depression but it helps to eat less of fat and carbohydrates. You are encouraged to include vegetables, fruits and fish in your regular diet. Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories; none has any measure of cholesterol so they are naturally healthy for your heart. Carrots, banana, apples, dark leafy greens, grapefruits, spinach, fresh berries, citrus fruits and kiwi fruit are all associated with positive mental health. Also find ways of incorporating onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, egg plant and pumpkins into your diet. When you eat healthy, your mood improves. Read more about fruits and vegetables here.
Depression takes away your sense of self-worth and makes you feel that you are no good and can accomplish nothing great. Combat this feeling by starting each morning with a list of goals—things you will like to accomplish at certain times of the day and be determined to achieve them. You need not make your goals grandiose; that will only frustrate you further when they are not accomplished. How about saying I would brush my teeth, freshen up, put on a nice perfume and dress nice before 7:30am? How about saying I will walk three kilometres before 7 in the morning or volunteer to help the traffic control officers across the streets? All of these will give you a sense of value—a reason to push ahead and ignore the voice telling you to “end it all.” Listen to the voice of “truth” and the truth is: you matter.
Depression makes it hard for you to sleep and as you know, little sleep is exactly not the best thing for your mental wellbeing. Finding a way to enjoy a sound sleep every night not only helps you to overcome depression, it makes you stay healthy. You can achieve this by going to bed the same time every night and get up within the same timeframe every morning. Make sure your bedroom is primed for sleep. Keep the computer, cell phone, TV and video games away from your bedroom.
Depression robs you of your sense of duty. Fight back by taking on responsibilities. Do your house chores; help your younger ones or kids with their homework. Take care of your loved ones; be responsible for getting things done either at home or at the office. Make your impact felt—it uplifts you.
How do you feel when you bring a smile to someone’s face? Well, researchers believe that acts of kindness lift your soul and make you feel better about yourself. How can I show kindness when I am sad? You may ask. You should be kind because that may be a critical route out of your sadness. Be charitable, pay for someone’s lunch, help someone pay for a ticket at a football match and always make sure there is someone whose faith in mankind is restored because of what you did.
When was the last time you called an old school mate? When was the last time you spoke to your parents or siblings or a former teacher? When you feel you are losing your mind, picking up the phone to put a call across to someone you have not heard from in a while may go a long way in boosting your mood. Beyond just calling and texting friends and relatives, how about travelling to see them, to share your pain and frustration with them. Just do it. Do not suffer in silence, go out there and see who you can share old memories with—reminisce and talk about happy times. You will end up feeling better.
What is it that you have long intended to know about or do? Want to go skydiving? Want to visit a different continent, go hunting, swim with the locals or try out a new meal? Whatever it is you want to achieve, don’t let anything hold you back. See life as worth living and enjoy it to the fullest. Go on that vacation, learn a new language, try learning a new course online, upload a video of your progress on YouTube and invite friends to view and drop their comments—ignore the unfavourable ones—“like” the ones that sing to your soul. You deserve compliments for starting something new.
Your partner cheated with your best friend and you are finding the betrayal or treachery difficult to bear. You lost your job after you have put in so much effort to make the company grow. The business failed even after you have sacrificed everything to make it stand. What is the cause of your depression? A negative comment from someone you thought would understand? A public reprimand by the boss? Whatever it is, there are billions of people who would give up everything to trade places with you. Think about the joy of being a free man or woman living in a free country. Be thankful and hope for the best.
Go ahead and live your life to the fullest. You will be here tomorrow and the pains of today will seem like they never existed. Be alive when tomorrow comes.