Depression is no longer a health issue that people are unaware about, even in smaller cities of the country. A lot has now been written and discussed about it to create awareness and educate people. This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has themed the World Health Day around depression—"A mental condition that people should not be afraid of and ashamed to talk about."
Not seeking help on time usually results in the depression deepening and becoming more severe.
In their hectic and busy lives, people go through a lot of stress and anxiety. When it all starts taking a toll and begins to translate into depression is often difficult to ascertain. These days depression has become very common, given the pressure-filled lifestyles people are leading, especially in metropolitan cities and big towns. It is striking the young, the middle-aged and the old in equal measure. Yet, despite awareness, people still hesitate to seek professional help; else, they are unable to realise that what they are feeling is something beyond your everyday "blues." Unfortunately, not seeking help on time usually results in the depression deepening and becoming more severe.
It is important to be mindful of certain changes which are commonly experienced by people suffering from depression.
Not being able to sleep properly, feeling tired, fatigued, having a low appetite, loss of weight, continuous headaches are some of the signs of depression. Conversely, others may start overeating, sleeping too long and putting on weight.
Depressed people often have low concentration and forget things easily. They suffer from negative thoughts, guilt and feelings of worthless. Depression can also manifest in the form of irritability and reckless behaviour. Thought of self-harm are not uncommon—and people may occasionally act on such thoughts out of frustration and impulsivity.
Becoming reclusive and losing interest in activities once enjoyed should be enough to ring alarm bells. Since cognition is also affected, as described earlier, performance at school or work may also job. They may act agitated, frustrated and impulsive; in a quest to feel "better" some people may resort to substance abuse, whether it's smoking, drinking, sedatives or other drugs.
It is alright to be sad sometimes, but when the feeling persists despite no obvious trigger or reason for it, then depression could be the cause. This overwhelming sadness makes it impossible to take enjoyment in life.
While seeking professional help is the best way to start the healing process, there are some other things you can do to facilitate recovery.
Structure your day
Having a structured routine can help keep your emotions on an even keel even if your mood is low. Achieving even small milestones in a day, such as watering the plants or cooking breakfast, can bring a feeling of achievement, resulting in increased motivation.
Depression can lead you to under- or over-eat. In either case you may lose out on key nutrients. Being vigilant about diet and eating plenty of healthy proteins and fats can have a positive effect on your emotional state as well.
Regular exercise helps in getting your mind off your preoccupations and releasing mood-enhancing endorphins. If you can't manage a gym session or a run, even a walk can give you a boost. I also recommend doing pranayams outdoors—they help you focus and generate positive thoughts.
Lack of sleep is a sign that you are suffering from stress/depression. You must make sleep a priority even if isn't easy. As you like down, fight off the thoughts that clog your mind. You can focus on positive things that happened during the day or in general just before going to bed. Relaxing music might also help.
Experiment with yourself
Try something new each day that you have not tried ever before. This might include cooking, drawing, reading, riding a bike etc. This keeps you busy and keeps your mind off negative thoughts.
Confide in people
Do not stay away from the ones you love. Tell at least one person about how you feel and what is going on. Airing your thoughts and knowing you have someone who knows what you are going through can be very comforting.
Practice affirmations/positive self-talk
One of the most powerful tools to overcome depression is positive self-talk. Make sure you are your own biggest champion and give yourself a pep talk every day.