If you've been diagnosed, you're probably looking for ways to treat depression.
In truth, we tend to either romanticize mental illness, or be flippant about it. You tend to be a little finnicky about how something is arranged? “I’m so OCD!” You get nervous meeting someone new? “My anxiety is playing up right now!” In reality, mental illness is not pretty, and healthy people often can’t comprehend the impact it can have.
The reality is that mental illness can have a pretty dramatic impact on how you cope with life. Of course, you've got to see your doctor for treatment, but recognizing your symptoms and triggers can also help.
So, without any further ado, here are some ways to treat depression that might work for you.
Either you haven’t eaten for several hours, or you haven’t eaten anything but chocolate for the last three days. Appetite fluctuates. Regardless of what your body physically needs, it is not playing ball. Eventually, a wave of nausea hits you, and you realize you haven’t eaten all day. Everything tastes like cardboard. Seeing a nutritionist and finding foods you love can really help and is one of the best ways to treat depression.
Sleep is hard is you are depressed. You spend all night tossing and turning, perhaps eventually nodding off in the early hours if you’re lucky. Yet somehow, you are always tired. You’ll spend all day lying in bed, but not sleeping. Insomnia is awful for anyone who experiences it, but it does seem to come hand in hand with depression. Talk to your doctor about medications that can help you get the shut-eye you need.
As if sleep wasn’t difficult enough, something commonly experienced in people with depression is nightmares. They can consist of anything and range from a slightly uncomfortable experience, to waking up halfway through a full-blown panic attack. Even worse, many antidepressants have the horrific side effect of making nightmares more frequent or intense. This gives a wonderful toss-up between disturbed sleep and ongoing treatment. If you're in this situation, be sure you talk it out with your psychiatrist to figure out which meds can help and which ones make the problem worse.
This is something else that is rarely associated with depression. It’s been three days and I have barely left the bed. I haven’t showered. My hair is greasy and I stink. I haven’t cleaned my teeth and my room is a mess. I haven’t changed clothes or even washed any in a week. This isn’t glamorous or romantic. It stinks, literally. There is help out there though. Look for a housekeeper who can help you stay on track.
We’ve all seen enough TV or films to have the perfect mental image; rain lashes the window as someone (who often looks perfectly made-up and dressed) leans against it. A single tear rolls down their face as “all by myself” plays. In reality, depression is apathy. Sure. There are moments of intense self-hatred, irrational anger and tears. But more often than not, depression is an all-encompassing numbness that keeps you rooted to the spot and staring at the wall. You need help so get it!
People can be awful. They try to understand and help, and yes, being around supportive, loving people can make the whole thing a lot better. But more times than not, people won’t understand. They’ll expect tears and sadness, not anger and apathy (contradictory, I know!). It’s no one's fault, but friends will (intentionally or not) be driven away. Relationships can crumble. In reality, there’s no hunky prince whose kiss magically fixes depression. You're going to need to seek therapy and really focus on keeping your relationships healthy and happy.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and we can always do more to learn about mental illness and how we can support ourselves or the ones we love. In reality, mental illness needs patience. Take the time to take care of yourself today.
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