What is Depression? Depression by definition is a mental illness that commonly exhibits the following symptoms:
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness
Too much or too little sleep
Overeating or appetite loss
Thoughts fo suicide While defining depression is important, it's also important to note what depression is not. Depression is not simply feeling sad or lonely. It can include these feelings, yes. However, depression is a much more complex, chronic collection of symptoms that are both mental and physical. If you think you may have depression, take this free quiz.
Types of Depression Part of understanding depression is to understand what the different types are.
Major Depressive Disorder. This is the most common and is also often referred to as clinical depression. It includes many of the symptoms above and your doctor is one who can assess the severity of your symptoms along with the length of them.
Persistent Depressive Disorder. Also called dysthymia or chronic depression, this disorder is very similar in symptoms to major depressive disorder. However, the symptoms last longer and tend to be chronic (lasting 2 or more years).
Seasonal Affective Disorder. This one happens most often in the winter months due to the shorter days and reduced exposure to sunlight. A lot of times this can be remedied with light therapy, exercise, and meditation/affirmations.
Postpartum Depression. This disorder affects some women who have recently given birth. Due to a dramatic drop in natural hormones, women may experience feelings of sluggishness, depression, and have difficulty emotionally connecting with their infant post-delivery. No matter what you believe about depression, it's the body's way to defend itself. Depression is brought on by some kind of trauma a person has experienced. That can be as an adult or as a child. There are of course factors that make some people more likely to get depression, like having a family member who has had it. But honestly, I believe anyone and everyone is at risk. No matter your genetics.
Best Ways to Deal with Depression Learning the best ways to overcome depression, instead of just dealing with it takes time and commitment. These may have been some of the ways you've dealt with depression (I know I've tried them all):
Drinking green tea (this one is my favorite)
Staying away from alcohol and drugs
Stop doing the normal everyday routine (break out of that rut)
Guided meditation All of these things can have a tremendous effect on helping you deal with depression. However, to truly overcome depression, you must get to the root cause and work through the trauma that caused it in the first place. And I'm not just talking about going to therapy and hashing out the past here. Maybe you've tried a few of the above. Have they worked for you? If they have, that's great. Every single person is different. However, from my experience (and trust me I got a lifetime of it), these things help you deal, they don't help you overcome. And if you're just dealing with them, that means the depression can come back and it usually does. A lot of times worse than before. Before we dig a little deeper into overcoming depression I want to discuss anxiety too. Since usually and most often the two go hand in hand like that horribly annoying married couple that just argues all the time.
What is Anxiety? Anxiety is a state of extreme worry or high alert like something bad is about to happen. Although, everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, the type I'm referring to in this post is the chronic kind. The kind where you are constantly in a state of stress and duress.
Best Ways to Deal with Anxiety Like depression, many of the remedies can be used in the same way to help deal with anxiety. But to add a few more, gratitude, breathing exercises, walking and avoiding stressful situations. Anxiety can be a bit trickier to deal with because there can be so many everyday things that trigger anxiety. That's again why I highly suggest digging deep to the root causes of anxiety. Simply using willpower doesn't work. You need a plan, a system.
How Affirmations Can Work with Mental Health