Depression

  • Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.
  • Depression can be due to a variety of things and or a chemical imbalance
  • In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal.
    • “It feels like I’m stuck under a huge grey-black cloud. It’s dark and lonely, suffocating me all the time.”
  • People who are low or depressed normally have a critical way of thinking about: Themselves:
    • I’m boring
    • I’m ugly
    • I’m a failure
    • No-one likes me
    • Everyone is better than me
    • Things will never get better
    • What’s the point?
  • People’s behavior patterns also typically change if they low or depressed. For example, they tend to spend a lot of their time indoors (often in bed) and don’t socialize or do as much as they used to.
  • Clinical symptoms
    • Suicidal ideations / suicidality
    • Interest deficit (anhedonia)
    • Guilt (worthlessness, hopelessness, regret, energy deficit)
    • Appetite significantly decreased or increased
    • Psychomotor agitation
    • Sleep disturbances (significant increase or decrease)

Tips for managing depression;

  • Try to understand what is causing the depression?
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Sleep
  • Identify what makes you happy and do those things more

More Tips on coping with depression:

  • Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems; whether you are sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers.
  • Eat a healthy, depression fighting diet. What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Consider the following tips for having a healthy depression fighting diet;
    • Reduce intake of caffeine, trans fats and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones because they will adversely affect your brain and mood.
    • Minimize sugar and refined carbs such as sugary snacks, baked goods, pasta, French fries and other comfort foods.
    • Don’t skip meals. Try to eat something at least every 3-4 hours because going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired.
    • Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken and eggs.
  • Converting Negative thoughts into positive thoughts. See the chart below:
Depressive Pessimistic ThoughtsPositive Alternative Goal
“I am lost.”“Find a bearing.”
“No one appreciates me.”“Find exceptions to this statement.”
“I will never get over feeling depressed.”“Question hopelessness-thinking assumptions.”
“I can’t stand how I feel.”“Learn to tolerate when I don’t like.”
“I am useless.”“Question uselessness assumption.”

In the left column write your negative thoughts then in the right column, convert your negative thoughts into positive statements of what you can do to change. After seeing goals, make sure to have specific plans for reaching them. The fact is that goals without plans are often fated to fail (Gollwitzer, 1999).

Implement the plan. When you are done, evaluate and revise your plan.

  • Cognitive change: People sometimes develop a justification for delaying a task and hope for a better tomorrow. It is also called a false hope because you put things off until later.
Justifying thoughtsFlip Technique
Don’t think about going to the gym. Wait. You will feel rested and ready. Perhaps you will go in a day or so. Besides, exercise as a remedy for depression wont work if you are depressed.Use the flip technique by putting one foot in front of the other and heading to the gym.
Activity remedies for depression, like house cleaning, are a pain and waste of time. You have better things to do, like watching your favorite soap opera.Start cleaning the house while listening to the soap opera. Here you are doing two things at once; one activity that is passive, the other that is active.
  • A lack of scheduled activities and inconsistent routines can increase feelings of helplessness and a loss of control over the direction of your life. Adding a plan to your day can help you regain that sense of control and decrease the feeling that you’re just a passive participant in life. (Specify an activity for each hour after you wake up until you go to bed; plan for your day the night before; think about your activities and see what you actually did; think about how you felt about what you did; and note the situations and thoughts which may have negatively affected your mood.
  • Reach out to your social support network. Call a friend or family member to get together for tea or meet up somewhere outside.
  • Do some volunteering activities
  • Smile at people even the strangers.
  • Set small goals. Depression can make the simplest task seem daunting, so breaking things down into small makes the task seem more doable. For example, instead of getting stuck thinking “how am I going to get to work everyday this week”, think about getting to work today, then break it down even further; like getting out of bed, having a shower, getting dressed and so on. Each time you complete a step, give yourself credit. Getting out of bed when fighting depression is an accomplishment.
  • Find ways that make you laugh. Humor gives you a break from all the negative thoughts depression brings. Possible ways of laughing varies; it involves talking to a friend, watching a funny show, following a humorous account on social media, reading jokes or any other way, it can all help.