Please read this article carefully, as it gives you the information you need to eliminate depression from your life. For best results, download this very powerful recording, and use it along with this article:
The first thing you need to know about depression is the effect is has on you. Most people know when they are depressed, but sometimes it helps to know the specific symptoms.
Emotional Aspects of Depression
You know that you are depressed if you feel sad almost all the time, and have lost interest in things that you once enjoyed. You may have frequent thoughts of death or suicide. You may feel guilty and worthless. When you are truly depressed everything is gray. You can’t seem to get pleasure from anything that you do. It is an effort to get out of bed in the morning, and there is nothing to look forward to. Depression is a real killer. Your thoughts may seem to slow down, and you find it difficult to make decisions.
When you are depressed your pace in life can slow down, even your speech. You seem to lack energy, and your sleep patterns can change radically. You may sleep much more than usual, sometimes for days at a time. Or you may have extreme difficulty getting to sleep and then wake up after only a few hours of rest. Your eating habits may change radically…either you eat way too much, or you have trouble eating at all because everything tastes bad. You no longer want to make love, and when you do it is not pleasurable.
How do You Know if You are Depressed?
People who are depressed may say things like:
- “I feel sad all the time and just don’t feel like myself.”
- “I don’t enjoy being with my friends or doing any of the things I usually love to do.”
- “Sometimes I feel like my life is not worth living anymore.*”
- “I don’t have any energy.”
- “I’m not really interested in eating.”
- “I don’t understand why I am eating so much lately.”
- “Even after a long day, I still feel restless.”
- “I feel indecisive and I can’t make any decisions.”
- “I feel worthless.”
- “I have trouble sleeping.”
- “I can’t seem to wake up…I want to sleep all the time.”
- “Nothing seems to give me any pleasure any more, even sex.”
Symptoms of Depression
- Feeling sad or unhappy almost all the time
- Frequent irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest in normal activities and lack of pleasure
- Reduced sex drive
- Either insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Changes in appetite — depression can cause decreased appetite and weight loss because nothing tastes good. But in some people it can increase cravings for food and cause weight gain.
- Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still.
- Irritability accompanied by angry outbursts
- Slowed thinking, speech and body motions.
- Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration, in some cases the inability to perform tasks requiring concentration.
- Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may require way too much effort.
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Fixation fixating on past failures. Blaming yourself when things don’t go right.
- Difficulty in thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide.
- Crying spells.
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.
Situational Depression and Involutional Depression
Situational depression is a normal and natural response to a tragedy. When you undergo a major psychological trauma, like the death of a loved one or the break-up of a close relationship, you will react. Any kind of loss can trigger depression…getting fired, losing a lot of money, a car accident, a particularly harsh chewing out by someone you respect. You and I are human beings and we are sensitive. Bad stuff is really depressing. This is natural.
The good news is that this kind of depression is temporary. Given enough time you will heal. The amount of time it takes depends a lot on how well you take care of yourself, on whether you seek out friends for help, go to a counselor, read up on ways you can get over your sadness, and use other methods like the recordings that you can obtain to help you return to normal. The more you really want to get over your depression the sooner it will happen. Just reading this article may help you a great deal.
Involutional depression is different…it sticks around. When you are depressed you don’t function as well. Your judgment goes off kilter, and your thinking process slows down. So you lack your customary efficiency and alertness, which makes you prone to accidents, bad job performance, and other disasters. Any of which, completely on their own, could make you depressed. It’s like a spiral…when you are depressed you are likely to get into trouble, which create more depression and so on. If you are experiencing this kind of spiraling depression it’s time to send up an emergency flare. Get help fast.
How do I Know if I am Depressed?
It’s possible that you don’t really know whether or not you are depressed, even after reading about all the depressing symptoms that have been presented so far. Could be that your case is truly unusual, or that you have so many symptoms that you are confused. If you have any doubt, please take the Depression Test put out by Luminosity; www.depressedtest.com. After taking this test you will know a lot more about your condition.
Some of the Causes of Depression
We don’t know exactly what causes depression in many cases. Sometimes there is a clear cut cause, like a recently experienced severe loss. But many times things are not this well-defined. Here are some possibilities:
- Brain structure changes. People with depression seem to have physical changes in the actual structure of their brain. This is the subject of a number of ongoing investigations.
- Change in neurotransmitters. These brain chemicals affect mood, and seem to have a direct role in creating or alleviating depression.
- Hormonal Changes. Hormone changes can cause or trigger depression. Examples are thyroid problems, menopause and post-partum depression.
- Inherited Tendencies. If other members of your family have depression you may be prone to this condition.
- Emotional Trauma, like the death of a loved one, break-up of a relationship, financial loss and high stress can trigger depression
- Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as abuse or loss of a parent, may cause permanent brain changes that make you more susceptible to depression.
There are a number of risk factors that make people susceptible to depression. Here’s a list:
- Having a family history of depression. The susceptibility can be inherited.
- Being a woman (It may be that women are simply more likely than men to admit that they are depressed)
- Having traumatic experiences as a child like abuse, or death of a parent.
- Having family members or friends who have been or are depressed. It’s catching.
- Experiencing stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one. This is called situational depression, and is often a natural response to trauma. Usually cured by time.
- Having few friends or other personal relationships. Social isolation is hard on people.
- Recently having given birth (postpartum depression). Hormonal imbalance, which takes a while to get over.
- Having been depressed previously. This may be an inherited predilection, or a learned habit, or simply the result of risk factors like alcohol or drugs.
- A serious illness, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s or HIV/AIDS. It’s depressing to be seriously ill.
- Having low self-esteem, being overly dependent, being self-critical or naturally pessimistic.
- Abuse of alcohol, nicotine or illicit drugs.
- Some high blood pressure medications, sleeping pills or certain other medications. If you suspect this please talk to your doctor. Don’t stop the medication on your own.
Do you Have Suicidal Thoughts?
If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Do not take the situation lightly…this is a serious situation. Get help.
- Contact a family member or friend.
- Seek help from your doctor, a mental health provider or other health care professional.
- Call a suicide hot line number — in the United States, you can reach the toll-free, 24-hour hot line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If you have a loved one who has harmed himself or herself, or is seriously considering doing so, make sure someone stays with that person. Take him or her to the hospital or call for emergency help.
OK, so I’m depressed. What do I do about it?
First step…get help. Depression really sucks. It you are depressed because something horrible happened to you, then you will most probably get over it on your own. But it will take a long time, maybe even years. If you get help you will get back to normal much more quickly.
If you are depressed because your hormones are off, or because you are reliving some traumatic experiences from early childhood, of because you are seriously ill, then you may not be able to get back to normal on your own. Getting help can make the difference between happiness and productivity, compared to a truly draggy life.
The first place to get help is from your doctor. Your doctor can look for things like a viral infection (which can cause depression), a debilitating illness, a hormonal imbalance, and other possible physical causes. He or she can also prescribe medication for depression, and can set up the tests that are necessary to make sure that there are no harmful side effects.
Before starting any anti-depressant medication, make sure that you know all the possible side effects. Some of them reduce libido, which might be OK temporarily. It’s important to understand that anti-depressant medication is a quick way to break the chain of depression, but it isn’t enough on its own. It needs to be used for a limited time only, while you make other life changes to bring your depression under control on a permanent basis.
Next step is to start working with a mental health professional. This brings you two benefits. It brings you a helping relationship, an emotional ally who works with you to bring you back to your normal self. And it brings you guidance and support in making basic changes in your life style to support your recovery.
Sometime soon you may want to make some changes in your life style. Things like:
Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can make you prone to depression and can also make you susceptible to major illnesses. Once you change your sleep schedule to get in more Z’s you may find a remarkable improvement in your mood.
Get some exercise. Studies of people who exercise reasonably vs. those who don’t show that exercise all in itself can completely cure depression. I recommend a supervised exercise program, just the right amount and intensity to bring you into physical and mental health. You will be amazed at the results.
Change your diet. Cut down on caffeine, sugar, preservatives and other contaminants in your food and you will feel better. Watch out for the carbonated beverages. Become aware of how your body reacts when you eliminate some of the trouble-making foods.
Find one thing in your life that you really enjoy, and make sure that you have this pleasure at least once each day. Even if just for a few minutes.
Start meditating. Depression usually involves a circular thought pattern of negativity. You think about a depressing incident from your life, then you start blaming yourself, then you feel guilty which brings up another depressing incident and so on, in an endless loop. Meditation has two effects…it makes you feel good while you are doing it, and for a long time afterward. Most important, it teaches you awareness of your thoughts and thought patterns, and gives you a way to turn off any cycle of destructive thinking. The recording “End Depression” that accompanies this article teaches you to meditate, and also teaches you to replace depressing thoughts with positive life affirming thoughts.
Use Your Computer. There are several web-based programs that can help you overcome depression. The depression center is one; http://www.depressioncenter.net.
There is also a very good program at
https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/moodgym. This program is free. I think that you will find both programs very helpful.
There is also a very old and very good program called Overcome Depression. This program was written by Dr. Kenneth Colby of the Malibu Artifactual Intelligence Works in 2000.
The Malibu Artifactual Intelligence Works is no longer in existence. Dr. Kenneth Colby, who created the program, has passed away. I have talked with Dr. Colby’s daughter Erin Johnson, and she has given us permission to distribute this program at no charge. So the program is yours for the asking, just email me. Davidlee9@aol.com.
Depression is rough. I know, because I’ve been there. Estimate is that 10% or our population suffers from depression right now. It would be frightening to know how many of us have had bouts of depression at some time in our life. My guess is pretty much everyone.
If you feel depressed, or are afraid of being depressed, please start with the recording “End Depression”. It may be all that you need. At the least you will feel better. You can use this recording as a help with any of the other recommendations in this article.
Here’s another possibility for you; you can call me at any time for help and advice. I am always here for you. No charge.
Here’s your End Depression recording. https://soundcloud.com/truefortunes/enddepression