Recognizing Depression in Yourself
Have you been feeling a bit lost lately?
Do activities that used to bring you joy not anymore?
Are you having trouble getting out of bed in the morning?
Do you want to sleep all the time?
Are you tired all the time?
Are you unmotivated?
Are you isolating yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be struggling with depression. It can be hard to come to terms with, but once you recognize it, you can get the help you need.
I recently realized that I am depressed again. I think it was something I have known for awhile, but I was scared to admit it to myself. I was having trouble getting out bed in the morning, I had no motivation to do anything, I was lazy, I just wanted to sleep or binge watch TV and eat junk food. It was confusing because I was still mostly happy, but there was nothing bringing me joy. There was nothing I really wanted to do besides be lazy and stay inside. Once I recognized these problems and related them to depression, I have been able to start pulling myself out of it. I know my depression and I know what it does to my mind. It makes me think there is no one that cares about me, it makes me question every decision in my life, it makes me think I'm doing everything wrong. My depression makes me feel like a failure especially when I do not want to do anything to "fix" it.
The thing about depression that no one really talks about is that once you have been depressed, it tends to return, even if you have been feeling better for months or even years. I thought how could I be depressed again, I haven't been in years which then made me feel even more depressed because how could I let this happen again? I realized it is okay to feel this way again, it is not something I should be ashamed of. It happens to those of us who have been depressed before because depression forges a connection in the brain between sad mood and negative thoughts, so that even normal sadness can reawaken major negative thoughts. It turns out that every time a person gets depressed, the connections in the brain between mood, thoughts, the body, and behavior get stronger, making it easier for depression to be triggered again.
I have been reading the book "The Mindful Way through Depression" by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, & Jon Kabat-Zinn which has been helping me through this returned state of depression I am experiencing right now and it is teaching me a lot that I did not know about depression. It has made me feel better about being depressed again because it is normal.
If you are experiencing the same feelings I have been, I hope this blog post helps you recognize that so you can start to help yourself out of it, too. I have been getting myself out of my depressive state again by:
- Going outside every day
- Making my bed every morning
- Drinking a homemade smoothie every day
- Getting some kind of physical exercise every day (walk, run, lifting weights, dancing, etc.)
- Making myself homemade meals
- A simple one, but still effective - drinking enough water
- Not drinking alcohol
- Being in bed before 11 pm every night (usually I'm in bed around 12am-1am)
- Stretching every night
- Lighting a candle
- Reading a helpful book (The Mindful Way through Depression)
- Writing in my journal
- Showering every day
Some of these things may seem simple, but when you are depressed, they are not. I have been doing these things every day for the last week and I already feel myself getting back to feeling like myself again. I was lost for months, but recognizing that I was depressed has made it easier for me to find myself again.
I hope this helps anyone feeling the same way.