Millions around the world live with mental health problems. They struggle through life on a daily basis with negative symptoms that drain the fundamental motivation to continue with anything. It is a condition that plagues even the youngest members of society. Stats show that suicide is the leading cause of death in kids between 10 and 14 years of age, with mental health playing a crucial role in the overall equation. 21% of adults all across the US suffer from some kind of mental health condition too.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, major depressive disorder, more commonly known as depression, is a common and grave medical condition that negatively impacts how a person acts, feels, and thinks. Globally, the rate of depression grew drastically after the COVID-19 pandemic, with various data sources showing a 28% increase in people experiencing signs of this condition globally. During the same year, between 2020 and 2021, anxiety disorder rates grew by 25% worldwide.
Depression is not easy to live with. No matter how hard you try, you continue to feel a weight pulling you down, keeping you from regaining control of your life. And although the most effective cure is to root out the source of the problem, it is not always that simple.
Here are a few ways in which you can ease the symptoms and try coping with depression:
Read up and research your condition
Depression, much like every other mental health issue, is widely misunderstood by laypeople. People can diagnose themselves with depression when similar symptoms can come from other, sometimes physical ailments and cardiac or nervous diseases. It is essential to look up depression overview and treatment options to read as much as possible and determine what may be wrong and what is the way forward.
If your research leaves you more confused, it is best to consult a mental health specialist as soon as possible. Many people self-diagnose and, worse yet, start self-medicating. There isn’t a more dangerous practice that can exist in the world. Your health and well-being are not something that can be experimented with. Muster up the courage to visit a professional who can accurately diagnose and prescribe the appropriate medication if and when required.
Build a network for support
A common reaction from people experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder like depression is to isolate themselves. Being alone at a sensitive time like this can worsen negative feelings, which can ultimately lead to something even more damaging, including self-harm. The answer is to always seek solace in those close to you. Find people who understand what a serious problem depression is and strengthen your ties with them.
Your confidante may be a family member or a friend; it can even be a complete stranger because you know they won’t judge you in any way. No matter who it is, build a circle around you with people who can support you in your struggles. This network not only helps you when the symptoms are at their worst, but also facilitates your journey toward recovery. This is one of the reasons why support groups exist for people dealing with mental or physical trauma.
Work on your stress levels
Under stressful conditions, the human body releases cortisol, a hormone that prepares you for a fight-or-flight response. And while this chemical is great for the short term, its persistence in the body can be damaging. Not only can it lead to depression, but it can also alleviate the symptoms when they occur. For instance, if depression causes you to lose your cool, the presence of cortisol in the body may turn you violent for a second, which you may come to severely regret afterward.
It is, therefore, imperative to counter stress-causing agents in your life. If it’s work, take a break. If it’s problems in the family, try talking them out. If it’s monetary, ask around for appropriate solutions like finding a different job or starting a side hustle. Little by little, you can eliminate stress from your life considerably.
Manage your sleep cycles
A study on the relationship between sleep and depression found that 80% of people who complain about this mental health ailment experience difficulty sleeping. It is understandable for people to say this is not something they can control. They may not, but they are definitely able to perform certain actions that facilitate the sleep cycle. Try researching various ways that can help put the body to sleep, such as listening to calm music, ensuring you don’t expose your eyes to blue light before going to bed, and not working while lying in your bed. When you work from your bed, you eventually associate it with stress and not peace, which is the element you need to get some sleep.
Get your diet regimen in control
People who are trying to cope with depression do one of two things. They either start eating a lot or completely lose their appetite. Again, this is not something that they do intentionally. It is just that their body refuses to cooperate with them. However, there are strong links between diet and mental health. Fresh and rejuvenating foods like fruits, vegetables, and proteins help the body and mind develop positive energy. As an example, it can be noted that a scientific study has found that zinc deficiency can lead to depression as well. It is, therefore, imperative to maintain a healthy diet, especially when dealing with depression.
Procrastination is enticing because the signs of depression, which include exhaustion and difficulty concentrating, make it look so. In reality, procrastinating contributes significantly toward depression because it triggers more anxiety and guilt that come back to haunt you in the form of the menace that is depression.
Setting deadlines and practicing effective time management are crucial. Set short-term objectives and try to do the most crucial tasks first. Your procrastinating behavior will be easier to break with each task you finish.
Depression is a serious global threat, but more importantly, it is a nuisance that can creep in and destroy a perfectly normal life. Even though, in most cases, the source of depression is something a person struggles to control, it is best to make all-out efforts nonetheless. Financial constraints, work-life balance, relationship problems, or just plain loneliness all have effective and readily available solutions. People just need to know what works for them and how to direct it in their favor.