The process is slow but it starts to feel like the wind and waves are surrounding you. The walls are pulling closer. You are starting to breathe heavily as you feel the darkness sinking deep in your soul. And everyone else – they continue life as if nothing is happening. You keep telling yourself you are ok until you are not. They are breathing happily but you feel powerless. You start to recognize that feeling that creeps up your body and consumes your soul – DEPRESSION. Beating depression might seem daunting at first, but like any journey start with one step.
In the lowest of low, in the deep valleys of life, you might feel alone. You feel weak, ashamed and embarrassed. It might feel like there is no way out and no one that cares, but that is a lie. Understanding the latest depression statistics could not only increase mental health awareness but also help people dealing with depression not to feel alone and seek treatment.
What is depression
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that can affect all people, no matter what their background or age. Statistically more people are diagnosed with depression in the modern era than in the past. Most psychologists believe that the modern jam-packed lifestyle plays an integral part in this statistic. People are also not taught how to deal with their emotions.
Frequency of depression:
- 300 million people around the world have depression, according to the World Health Organization.
- 2 million adults in the United States experience major depressive episodes.
- 3 million adults in the United States experience an episode that resulted in severe impairment.
- Almost 50 percent of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.
- Approximately 15% of the adult population in the world will experience depression at some point in their lives.
Knowing and recognizing the symptoms can help both the person who is feeling depressed and it can also help his family and friends. Depression can be divided into several categories:
Major Depressive Episodes
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) defines a major depressive episode as at least 2 weeks of feeling depressed with a loss of interest in life. It is important to note that these symptoms will cause significant distress and impairment in everyday life. These symptoms include:
- Sleeping issues. The person is either sleeping more or less than usual.
- Drastic changes in appetite.
- Decreased energy and feeling fatigued almost every day.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Slow and unintentional movements.
- Self-attacking thoughts that lead to worthlessness.
This type of depression occurs in line with seasonal changes. Often it is diagnosed in winter in people who live in colder climates.
- 5 percent of the US population experience seasonal depression yearly.
- 80 percent of these people are women.
- The ages range mostly from 20-30 years old.
10 Percent of women who give birth tend to develop depression within four weeks of delivery. Some psychologists suggest that it can extend up to six months after delivery. Although only a mere 15 percent of women with postpartum depression are treated. Treatment can make a huge difference in the life of both the mother and the baby. The symptoms might be the same as major depressive episodes and may include the following:
- Depressed mood with a loss of interest in activities
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Agitation or retardation
- Chronic mental battering
- Guilt and feelings of worthlessness
- Crying episodes with no cause
- Concentrating problems
- Constant feeling of inadequacy for a long period
Beating depression and anxiety
The waves have hit and it feels like you are in the ice-cold depths of the ocean floor. It feels like you are in a fetal position and you can’t get up. Depression drains your soul and being, making it difficult to take steps that will help you feel better. The things that help you the most are the most difficult to do. Difficult doesn’t mean impossible it just means more effort has to be put in. Taking the first step is always the hardest. There is no quick fix for dealing with depression. Remember a journey of a thousand steps starts with one small step.
Tips to beat depression and anxiety
Set daily activity goals
Plan days with useful activities by making a written list of activities that you will engage in. Include dates and times. This will help you to stay motivated and to keep to the planned activities. For example cycling, jogging, taking a walk in the park, painting or even fishing.
Choose an activity that you enjoy the most.
Think about an activity that you enjoy and makes you happy. Try to spend more time on this activity to elevate your mood.
Don’t compare yourself with the way you felt previously and how you are currently feeling. Importantly don’t compare yourself to others. Your thoughts about them are just a perception. You are uniquely woven together with your own ideas.
Find your tribe
Surround yourself with positive people, people that can influence you to move forward and who will motivate you. Also, choose to communicate with people who know what you are dealing with.
Rewarding yourself for your effort helps you to stay positive and to keep pressing forward. Reward yourself with that nice pair of shoes or chocolate. Choose what will make you happy. Remember recovering from depression is a bit like learning to walk again.
Simplify a difficult activity
If something on hand seems to difficult break it up in smaller steps and try again. Sometimes writing the steps out might also help.
Make an effort to exercise daily. Exercise releases endorphins that give you a happy feeling. Most people report that they feel a sense of accomplishment after exercising.
Talking to someone about your day can help you stay motivated and strong. Talk about your feelings, don’t be scared to talk about the nitty-gritty details of your day. Stay connected to people by participating in social activities.
Write or journalize your journey. Writing can be an excellent way to express your emotions. Make time to spend in the sun.
Sunlight boosts serotonin levels which improves a person’s mood. Expose yourself to sunlight at least 15 minutes per day.
Beating depression and anxiety take time. It is an ongoing journey to heal. Most importantly give yourself grace to work through your depression. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You will be able to win depression. Just keep moving forward.
Beating depression and anxiety is an ongoing journey. As you journey through your depression you will experience ups and downs. Be intentional to finish the journey strong. Choose to finish the race. Always remember slow and steady wins the race. You are not alone.