Facing Depression

Still Not Feeling It?  Maybe It’s Time to Ask For Help. 


 I have always encouraged clients to cope with uncertainty by maintaining a sense of optimism when the world seems to be kicking you around.   


 But let’s face it, life is what it is.  And sometimes, at least temporarily, we don’t feel like we have the resources to face it.  A client who I’ll call Sean admitted that he was feeling like his life was in a tailspin.    


 “I’ll say it straight out.  I don’t know how I made it in here today.  I’m barely getting out of bed.  I can’t shake off this feeling that I don’t have any hope.” 


 How are you doing?  Are you rolling with the punches?  Or are you finding that those days when things feel almost unbearable are starting to outnumber the good ones? 


When things fall apart.  Feeling sad at times is part of being human.  But when we think of depression, we normally think of someone who is unresponsive, maybe crying a lot, and feeling so ‘down’ that they can’t get through the day.  Basically, people who are depressed have trouble maintaining their normal lives – getting up in the morning, getting ready for the day, doing work around the house, getting together with friends or family.  Depression causes pain for the person who is depressed, and it also causes pain for the people around them who want to reach out but don’t know what to do.   


Your life, your meds, your mood.  The challenge of medication regimens can affect your mood.  Coping with your diagnosis, adjusting to medications, and making lifestyle changes, for example, can all have an emotional impact.  On some days you may feel like the challenges are overwhelming.  And your medications can also have an effect on your emotions, and depression can be a side effect. 


How do you know if you are depressed?   There are different kinds of depression, which a mental health professional, working with your doctor, can help to diagnose.  A diagnosis is based on symptoms that are common among people suffering from depression.  Some of the key symptoms include overwhelming sadness, fatigue, loss of interest in things you enjoy, isolating yourself, getting irritable or angry easily, losing or gaining weight, or having difficulty sleeping. 


Don’t diagnose yourself.  Keep in mind that the presence of symptoms does not necessarily mean that you are depressed.  Only a professional can make this determination for you.  But if you think there is a possibility that you may be depressed, you can take the first step to find out for sure.  Why live this way if you can do something about it? 


When the Going Gets Tough… Maybe It’s Time to Go Shopping.  Shrink-shopping, that is.  If you feel like the sadness or other symptoms that you are experiencing may be depression, you may want to first talk to your doctor.  He or she can begin by evaluating your symptoms to see if there is anything physical or medication-related that needs to be addressed.  Your doctor may be able to help you with depression through medication, or refer you to a mental health professional.  You can also find a mental health professional on your own, by exploring local resources or going online.  Try to find someone who not only understands depression but who also has experience in addressing the special needs of individuals living with illness.   Caution: If you are feeling that life isn’t worth living, or have thoughts about suicide, call a mental health professional, or even dial 911, right away. 


Build some prevention into your routine.  Don’t isolate yourself at home.  Get out and do something you enjoy, even if it’s only to take a walk.  Get together with friends and family.  Eat a balanced diet.  Get some exercise and kick-start your good mood hormones.  Who knows, you might even want to get a pet. 


 Depression is treatable.  Dial… double click… reach out! 

Don’t go through this alone.