Living with depression
Living with depression can very well be the hardest thing you will encounter in your life. While it’s not fun to go through, there are things you can do about it.
First off, let’s talk about depression a little bit. What exactly is depression? Essentially your brain has an inability to absorb necessary amounts of serotonin. In other words, your brain doesn’t receive enough of the chemical released to feel normal amounts of happiness. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness, lack of interest in activities you once found fun, isolation, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, and can even lead to having suicidal/homicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm. All of these symptoms (besides the ones involving you wanting to hurt yourself) are relative to normal behavior. It needs to be abnormal to how you ate/slept/felt BEFORE you were depressed.
Now that you know a little bit about what depression is, let’s talk about diagnosis. DISCLAIMER: diagnosis is a very loaded word and can sound scary, but it’s honestly a matter of going to a doctor and getting it confirmed so you can get help. Self-diagnosis is useful to an extent, but it can be a really harmful thing. It can prevent you from seeking help and can keep you stagnant in your depression. I can’t stress how important it is to go to a doctor for a consultation, it can make all the difference. Also, diagnosis doesn’t mean you will be hospitalized, forced to take medicine, etc. Doctors respect you and how you feel and only want to help you. Depression is not a life sentence.
What can you do to help yourself? On top of seeing a therapist (something which I think everyone should do, it’s fantastic), it’s important to be honest with yourself. Honesty is not only admitting to yourself that you are depressed, but keep reminding yourself that depression is not a life sentence. What has happened much too often to friends around me is that they resign to their depression. It can and does get better. You NEED to keep that in mind. Another thing that helps is talking to friends/parents about what you’re going through. It helps so much to be able to express your emotions to people you care about. You will most likely not want to because you feel like you’re annoying them. I can almost guarantee that is not the case. Just like how you’d be there for your friend in their time of need, they are more than willing to return the favor. Things other people find helpful are journaling, exercising, playing sports, listening to music, playing music, reading, etc. Really any fun activity to take your mind off of what’s happening. Also eating lots of healthy foods will make you feel better (sorry for being a mom but I swear it does).
As someone who has struggled with severe depression and has been hospitalized twice because of it, these are all things that have helped me. It’s not a sure fix, but I can promise you it gets better.