Depression-Ways to live with it daily and understanding both sides of it. The ups and downs. Do you or someone you love suffer from depression?
Depression is not just being sad or being in a period of grief. Depression is a prolonged state of sadness, grief, or depressed mood that starts to prevent a person from performing daily activities.
I talk about Depression a lot on my blog. Mainly because I feel there needs to be more awareness for Depression and Mental Health in general. I personally have suffered from depression for over 20 years now. So let’s talk today about ways to live with depression, and understanding both sides of depression.
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Depression-Ways to live with it daily
First, before you can start learning to live with depression, you need to find out if you (or someone you love) may have it.
WebMD states: “Most of us feel sad, lonely, or depressed at times. It’s a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But when these feelings become overwhelming, cause physical symptoms, and last for long periods of time, they can keep you from leading a normal, active life.”
To begin with let’s talk about some symptoms of depression. If you are feeling depressed and noticed any of the following symptoms it is time to talk to your doctor. Reference to this list and more information on depression can be found here on WebMD.
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
- Pessimism and hopelessness
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
- Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Ways that help to live with depression
Once you have recognized symptoms of depression you need to discuss them with your doctor. There are medications that can help.
Make a list of your symptoms before going to the appointment with your doctor. If your doctor prescribes a medication then you need to be consistent with taking it. Watch for side effects as well as improvements in your mood. Keep a journal or log of these things for your next doctor visit. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the right medication and dosage for each person.
Therapy really helps
Many times your doctor may also suggest therapy, such as a counselor. Give it a try! An honest try! Ditch the old stigma of “seeing a therapist must mean your crazy”. That just isn’t true!
Therapists are trained to give you ways of coping with the things you are struggling with! Honestly just going to a therapy session and having someone to sit and listen to you can help in ways you’d never understand until you try it.
Therapy can also take several tries until you find the right one that feels right to you. Therapist are people too. They have different styles and personalities. Just because you aren’t comfortable with the first one you see doesn’t mean you won’t like the second or even fourth one you try. Don’t give up too soon!
Daily life with depression
Clinical depression is a condition, an illness much like any other invisible disease. Chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure are examples of invisible illnesses that people have. They are called invisible because you can’t tell they have those illnesses just by looking at them.
As with depression, it is invisible to the outside world. I stated earlier that I have suffered from depression for over 20 years yet the majority of my friends and even family never knew. Most still may not unless they read my blog.
I was always the fun-loving, party-girl and enjoyed laughing. I thrived on making others laugh. I still do when I can. However, most of the time I honestly “miss me”, the real me. Me before depression set in.
Depression changes you
Daily life changes with depression, everything becomes a struggle. It all becomes a vicious cycle.
First, you don’t feel happy so you don’t feel like being around other people. You start feeling alone and like nobody wants to be around you when you are sad and depressed. Therefore you start to slowly isolate yourself.
Next, you start to feel more comfortable being home and alone all the time. You may even feel so tired that it seems to take too much energy just to shower and get dressed. Cleaning the house becomes a major task.
Before you know it you and your house are hot messes! You don’t even want a friend stopping by because you would be embarrassed, even horrified for them to see you or your house like that. That thought depresses you more but you can’t find the energy or desire to do anything about it. The vicious cycle.
Then you start sleeping more just to avoid thinking about all the things that depress you. Too much sleep will actually make you feel even more tired. You will either skip eating or start to over-eat. This too will affect the depression.
Avoid feeling worthless and alone. Avoid negative thoughts and over-thinking. Do not isolate yourself.
Remember that depression changed you. It did not change the people around you. So when you start thinking that your family and friends no longer care, remember that is the depression putting the negative thoughts in your mind.
Promote self-care and self-worth in your daily life. Get up each day, take a shower and get dressed. Try to avoid sitting around in your pajamas all day.
Get out of the house each day, even if it’s just to take a walk. You need exercise. Eat regular meals. Connect with friends and family. By phone, text, or messenger, but make contact with someone daily.
Accept invitations from friends to go out to lunch, dinner or for coffee. Whatever the invite is for. You must work hard to make yourself go sometimes, but you can’t allow yourself to stop interacting with people that do care about you.
Understanding Both Sides of Depression
Not everyone experiences depression the same way. A lot of people suffering from depression do not even know it. It is difficult to realize or even think of being depressed when the person is normally chipper, smiling, and out-going.
It doesn’t seem possible for someone to be happy, functioning in daily life, and be depressed at the same time.
However, Rita Labeaune, Psy.D. in an article on Psychology Today had the following to say about depression.
How many people do you imagine look happy, but struggle with depressive thoughts on a daily basis? Typically depressed people are depicted as being bed-ridden and incapable of functioning. What may or may not be surprising is, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, that approximately 10 percent of the United States population is suffering from depression, which is 10 times more than those suffering from bipolar disorder (1 percent) and schizophrenia (1 percent).Rita Labeaune, Psy.D.
Clinically speaking, there isn’t a term called two sides of depression. At least not that I know of, or that I found. When I say “both sides of depression” I’m referring to a couple of different things.
Both sides of depression, in my opinion, can be the ups and downs of living with depression daily. But it also can be diagnosed vs. the undiagnosed people suffering from depression. Another “side” of depression to consider is the depressed individual that hides it so well that he/she doesn’t even realize they are depressed.
I’m referring to Smiling Depression. Although this is very common, most people have never heard of it. Think of Robin Williams and how shocked so many people were to hear of his suicide. He was aware of his depression, but how much of the world ever suspected it?
What is Smiling Depression
Those who are most surprised to realize they’re experiencing some form of depression are those suffering from “smiling depression.” Most people haven’t even heard of the term. The definition of smiling depression is: appearing happy to others, literally smiling, while internally suffering from depressive symptoms. Smiling depression often goes undetected. Those suffering from it often discount their own feelings and brush them aside. They might not even be aware of their depression or want to acknowledge their symptoms due to a fear of being considered “weak.” The smile and the external facade is a defense mechanism. (Credits to Psychology Today article)
We MUST spread more awareness about mental health and depression! We must help to stop the stigma of depression making a person seem weak, worthless or less than normal.
Suicide can be a particular threat for individuals suffering with smiling depression. Typically, people suffering with classic, severe depression might have suicidal thoughts, but not the energy to act on their feelings. However, those suffering from smiling depression have the energetic ability to plan and follow through. This is why smiling depression can be more dangerous than a classic form of severe depression.Rita Labeaune, Psy.D.
Depression Also Affects Children
Depression among children and adolescents is common but frequently unrecognized. It affects 2 percent of prepubertal children and 5 to 8 percent of adolescents. The clinical spectrum of the disease can range from simple sadness to a major depressive or bipolar disorder. Risk factors include a family history of depression and poor school performance. Evaluation should include a complete medical assessment to rule out underlying medical causes. (credits to AAFP article)
Would you know if your child or teen was depressed? Many adults still believe that kids and teens can’t become depressed. They are so young- what do they have to be depressed about? When we were that age, we were just happy’. That way of thinking, alongside misunderstanding, is stigma and the idea that mental illness is a taboo subject.
Again, we need more awareness! Please help by sharing this post!
Depression and living with it daily is a struggle. Depression is an illness that may never go away, yet it is treatable.
You can learn to live with depression and continue a normal and productive life.
Learn ways to cope and stay positive!
- Practice gratitude daily
- Practice self-care, self-love, and self-worth
- Change your negative thoughts to positive ones
- Avoid overthinking things and situations
- Don’t isolate yourself
- Communicate with friends and family
- Accept invitations from friends and family
- Eat and exercise regularly
- Keep a journal
- Seek therapy and medical help (this should have been first on the list)
- Getting a pet or volunteering at a pet shelter can also help
Living with depression daily requires motivation, thinking positive, and conscious efforts to not let the depression take over.
However, you are worth those efforts! You are not alone in your battle. You are worthy, you are important and you are loved by friends and family in your life. Don’t give up! Reach out to someone.
Perhaps you are that someone to a loved one that is suffering from depression. Have you noticed a change in someone you care about? Reach out to them. A simple phone call or even a text to just ask if they are ok can make a huge difference.
You may never know what someone is really dealing with unless you ask.
If you found this post helpful leave me a comment. I love hearing from my readers.
Most importantly help spread more awareness about depression and share this post!!
until next time,
Download my free printable Depression Symptom Checklist!