Monday, August 8, 2011

Depression: You Don't Have to Feel This Way

Symptoms of depression
* No interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
* Feeling sad or empty
* Crying easily or crying for no reason
* Feeling slowed down or feeling restless and unable to sit still
* Feeling worthless or guilty
* Weight gain or loss
* Thoughts about death or suicide
* Trouble thinking, recalling things or focusing on what you're doing
* Trouble making everyday decisions
* Problems sleeping, especially in the early morning, or wanting to sleep all of the time
* Feeling tired all of the time
* Feeling numb emotionally, perhaps even to the point of not being able to cry

Getting through depression
* Pace yourself. Don't expect to do everything you normally can. Set a realistic schedule.
* Don't believe all of your negative thinking, such as blaming yourself or expecting to fail. This thinking is part of depression. These thoughts will go away as your depression lifts.
* Get involved in activities that make you feel good or feel like you've achieved something.
* Avoid making big life decisions when you're depressed. If you must make a big decision, ask someone you trust to help you.
* Avoid drugs and alcohol. Both make depression worse. Both can cause dangerous side effects with your antidepressants.
* Physical activity seems to cause a chemical reaction in the body that may improve your mood. Exercising 4 to 6 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time is a good goal. But even less activity can be helpful.
* Try not to get discouraged. It will take time for your depression to lift fully.

Reasons to get help for depression

* Early treatment helps keep depression from getting worse or lasting a long time.
* Thoughts of suicide are common in people with depression. The risk of suicide is higher if you don't get treatment for your depression. When depression is successfully treated, the thoughts of suicide will go away.
* Treatment can help you return to your "normal" self, enjoying life.
* Treatment can help prevent depression from coming back.