Depression: Getting Out of The Dark Place

“Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure, coupled with no urge to be productive. It’s wanting friends but hating socializing. It’s wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely. It’s feeling everything at once, yet being paralyzing numb.”

Sherry Amatenstein

Depression hits harder than we all would admit, even though many don’t even understand the general dynamics behind depression and how it works.

Even Mild Depression is More Than a Sense of Lingering Sadness

Even Mild Depression is More Than a Sense of Lingering Sadness

We all, as humans, like to think we have the answers to prevent others and ourselves from hurting. Sometimes, wanting to stop a major depressive episode in its tracks is a selfish matter. And other times, we want ourselves, family, and friends to be able to enjoy our favorite activities without feeling low.

At the end of the day, if you think that depression, mental health issues, and anxiety are just different words for being sad and lazy, you are sadly mistaken.

A Major Depressive Episode is a Serious Mental Illness

Today, depression is recognized as a genuine and severe illness across the world. Now officially labeled as a mood disorder by the behavioral sciences, depression and suicidal thoughts affect every aspect of an individual’s life. Wrestling with depression can make it hard to get out of bed. Yet, it can also make it difficult to fall asleep. And there are many more complications a person may suffer from when wrestling with these deep, dark thoughts and feelings.

Currently, over 7.1% of North American adults and 3.2% of United States children struggle with depression or other mental illnesses (like bipolar disorder) that may worsen the effects of suicide ideations.

Defined by a clinical psychologist, depression is a mental illness that takes a heavy toll on families, individuals, and society.

Yet, Despite the Prevalence of the Mental Health conditions, Many People Still Suffer Great Pain at the Hands of Depressive Episodes

Despite depression and anxiety being widespread and often talked about in social circles or even joked about in intimate settings. Today, being depressed and wrestling with chronic pain is something that many people do not fully understand. In fact, many cases of clinically undiagnosed depressive episodes occur in the United States every year.

An individual, family member, and friends can be unaware of a mood disorder occurring or developing.

In fact, many people make the mistake of looking for a “sign” that a person may be depressed before working to offer their support. But mood disorders like bipolar disorder and depressive tendencies can be tricky to catch without the untrained eye of a therapist or doctor.

As a result, many people have trouble sleeping, maintaining a healthy diet, and thinking clearly without realizing they are depressed.

Mood Disorders are Stealthy Thiefs

Yet, even though telling the difference between being depressed and just temporarily sad can be challenging. There are ways a person can seek professional help to diagnose their disorder.

A doctor, therapist, or even licensed addiction specialist can help people get the treatment medications and therapy they need to beat depression and thoughts of suicide.

And all it can take to start is a phone call.

Treating Depression, like Substance Abuse, is a Long-Term Journey

Depression is more than a temporary sadness. There are many different levels of it. But it often takes over your entire thought process. And left untreated, major depressive episodes can have serious physical and mental health consequences, some of which could end in death.

Of course, even depression is more than being sad for a short time. And it can be tricky to detect. Despite people’s thoughts, depressive episodes usually have a beginning, middle, and end.

People Need Therapy, Medications, Treatment and Time to Break Free of a Depressive Episode

People Need Therapy, Medications, Treatment, and Time to Break Free of a Depressive Episode

In the weeks leading up to an episode, a person may begin to change their physical actions slowly but surely, without noticing it themselves.

You get tired quickly, and many people feel constantly fatigued. And it is common for people struggling with depression for weeks to wish somehow someone else could look into their soul and figure out how to fix what is wrong. During this vulnerable time, you crave the comfort and support of family and friends.

But you also want to shut out the world.

In the end, depression affects everything in our lives. But sometimes, even though we are suffering greatly, we do not realize that what we are fighting against is a depressive episode.

So, what is Depression Exactly?

Depression is a complicated mental illness typically classified as a mood disorder. It occurs fairly commonly, affecting more than 17 million individuals in the United States. Still, even though many people suffer from the disease, it can manifest in each person very differently.

However, the general symptoms that characterize the illness remain the same. Some of the most commonly known characteristics of depression include:

  • Feeling lost
  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Deep sadness
  • Anger mood swings
  • Emotional numbness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Constant thoughts surrounding death or suicide
  • Familial withdrawal
  • Excessive fatigue or feeling tired all the time
  • Slow reaction times
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep pattern disturbances like getting too much sleep or not enough

Additionally, depressive stretches can also worsen pre-existing conditions. Or also affect or be affected by substance abuse. Feeling sad or down is normal in everyday life.

None of us makes it through life free of experiencing sadness or traumatic event. We need to realize that not every bout of despair we share is a depressive episode. On the other hand, you need to recognize when you have been feeling down for far too long.

Depression is a severe mental health condition. Without proper care and treatment, it can worsen quickly or worsen other conditions you are struggling with very fast. Suppose you feel hopeless, sad, lost, down regularly with no actual event to pin these feelings. In that case, you may be struggling with depression. And it may be time for you to seek out professional help.

Am I Depressed? 5 Telltale Signs You Might Be Working Through a Depressive Episode

Depression may seem easy to spot, but not everyone experiences depressive episodes in the same way. There are several different types of depression. They can occur in almost anyone at any time in life, and their symptoms can range from mild to severe. Many people in the United States work through different kinds of depressive episodes without even realizing it, which can, in turn, make their period of depression worse.

Depression is like a roller coaster, and it can have its turns, dips, dives, highs, and leave you feeling at times a slight motion sick from all the back and forth that it does.

Depression is a Roller Coaster of Emotion

Depression is a Roller Coaster of Emotion

This leaves many people struggling with long bouts of sad or negative thoughts to wonder, “am I depressed? Or is it all in my head?” It can be challenging to spot the difference between depression and just feeling down or overwhelmed with life for a bit. So, to help you better grasp your own emotional and mental health, here are five telltale signs that might point out that you are, in fact, working through a depressive episode. These five signs include:

  1. Loss of Interest:
    All of the hobbies and people you enjoy just haven’t been able to keep your attention recently, no matter how hard you try, how much you enjoy them, or how much you were looking forward to an activity or event previously. You just cannot seem to muster enough energy to care about what you once used to love, and you cannot figure out why.
  2. Increased Irritability:
    You have noticed that you are much crankier than usual. You lose your temper swiftly; you are short with others when they speak or ask you questions. Everyone and everything seems to be making you angry at the drop of a time and for seemingly no reason. You flare into irritable moods without the slightest clue as to why.
  3. Constant Fatigue:
    You are bone tired all of the time, and you have no energy even to do something you initially looked forward to. You sleep all the time but always want to crawl back into bed, feel unmotivated, and even small daily tasks like brushing your teeth or hair seem too much work. You cannot make your brain or body put in any effort towards even general living needs.
  4. Persistently Sad:
    You have been sad before. But usually, it’s for a day or two, depending on the situation or circumstance, where you can move on to other subjects for a time without getting caught up in your negative emotions and thoughts. But the sadness you are experiencing now is unrelenting. You don’t know why, but you can’t shake the feeling for even a short period. You seem to have a high moment and then dip immediately back down. You can’t pinpoint a reason for it, but you feel empty, sad, hopeless, and it just will not go away.
  5. Difficulty Concentrating:
    Nothing keeps your concentration these days. Work, school, the conversation you are trying to have with your best friend on the phone. Even the television show that you are trying to watch, no matter how large or small the task you are working on, you are having difficulty concentrating on it and seeing it through to completion. It has started to affect your friendships, job, and even your home life and self-care.

There is More Than One Sign a Person May be Wrestling with a Major Depressive Episode

Of course, many other physical, emotional, and mental signs can point to a depressive episode. Generally, these are some common issues that most people struggling with depression will identify easiest. Headaches, aches, pains, feeling guilty or overwhelmed by everything and nothing simultaneously are also common symptoms of depression—no matter what symptoms you are experiencing. Suppose you are concerned that you might be struggling with depression. In that case, you can talk to your doctor or another trained professional to get a second opinion.

Depression manifests in everyone differently but can still have severe adverse effects. To protect yourself and your health, you must pursue the proper treatment to help get your depression under control.

How to Cope with Depression Daily

Now that you know some of the signs to look for. And you have an understanding of what depression is. Additionally, you know that it can get out of hand without proper treatment. You are probably getting ready to start performing internet searches that look like this, “how to cure depression in 3 easy steps.” It is excellent that you want to learn more about yourself or your loved one’s condition and how you can make it easier on yourselves, but we have some bad news.

There is no “cure” for depression.

Depression is an illness that demands to be felt. And it is often a chronic condition that you will have to struggle with on and off throughout your life. That does not mean that depression can’t be treated, and it goes away forever, never to be seen or heard from again. But we don’t want you to get your hopes up for finding a full-proof cure that will fix all of your problems.

That being said, depression is treatable! And there are things you can do every day to help you cope with a depressive episode. Here is how to cope with depression daily:

  • Do something you enjoy!
    Yes, depression may take your drive to do things away. Still, sometimes doing those hobbies you love despite being tired or disinterested can give you that extra spark you need from your day.
  • Get outdoors!
    Take a walk, sit by some trees, and breathe in the scent of fresh flowers. Sunshine and fresh air do wonders for our physical health and our mental well-being.
  • Get engaged in some music!
    Maybe not a sad song, but upbeat music, a piece that gets you moving or wanting to move. It can be rock, pop, metal, electronic, classical, whatever you like! Listening and playing music are proven mood boosters. There’s truly nothing like music therapy.
  • Try something entirely out of the ordinary!
    Maybe take a surf lesson, a painting class, go to a live music event, sit in a cafe you’ve never been to before. Sometimes getting out of our everyday routines can spark life and interest back into us long enough for our minds to feel refreshed and our moods to improve. We are nomadic by nature. Keeping everything the same for too long can take a toll on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
  • Try making a small daily routine!
    On the flip side, sometimes our minds falter and begin to mess with us when we do not have enough structure. Is depression making it difficult for you to perform daily hygiene care for yourself? Make a small routine checklist to help you get through what you need to get done while also giving you something to feel accomplished when you finish.
  • Stretch it out!
    Five minutes of stretching daily can help boost your physical system’s operations. It also is known for helping to alleviate the aches and pains that come with depression. While also increasing blood and oxygen flow to combat the effects of a depressive episode on the brain. Who doesn’t love a good stretch anyway? I know my cat and dog sure love to stretch out their backs.
  • Change up your diet!
    Cut back a bit on the coffee, soda, and alcohol. Instead, pack some extra water into your system, eat a leafy green and get some fiber! It may seem a bit far-fetched. But taking additional care to fuel your body with foods that help promote wellness can significantly improve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

You can even try making intentional playtime with a pet, volunteering, rewarding your efforts to get better, and setting attainable goals to help yourself cope with depression daily. Sometimes performing these small goals a couple of times a week can get you through the episode until you feel better again, all on their own. In other instances where depressive symptoms are at their worst, you will need to try and combine these coping methods with professional clinical treatment.

In the end, depression, like substance abuse, is a treatable condition.

It may derail your life, but that does not mean you need to suffer needlessly or endlessly. You can recover, even though there is no set “cure” for depression, and you can live your life the way you want to again; happy and healthy.

There are ways for you to combat depression and get yourself out of the dark. It won’t be an overnight transformation process, but putting in the effort will help you feel better about your current position in life. You can do this! Depression does not rule you.

Professional Help for Addiction Treatment and Depression at St. John’s Recovery Place

St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP) is a drug and alcohol rehab center. With locations across Florida, St. John’s is well known for its ability to provide clients with access to varying health insurance benefits in treatment. But, we are also known for our therapy services, amenities, and holistic approach to healing.

Here at SJRP, we understand depression plays a huge role in influencing substance use disorder cases.

St. John's Recovery Place Can Help You Beat Depression and Addiction

St. John’s Recovery Place Can Help You Beat Depression and Addiction

And our primary goal is to help you and your family heal from the influence of drug and alcohol abuse. Recovery is not always easy. But, at SJRP, you can rest assured that you gain not only the support of an additional treatment family. You also get the treatment services you need from quality trained professionals.

If you or a loved one wrestles with a dual diagnosis, like a substance use disorder and depression, call St. John’s today at 1-833-397-3422. Or, visit us online to learn more about our recovery services and how we can help you!

Start setting yourself free from addiction today and call us so we can help you heal.