Depression

How to recognize it & climb out of it

Definition: A feeling of sadness, hopelessness, inferiority, powerlessness, and/or helplessness caused by a combination of social, psychological, and/or physiological factors.

Types of Depression
Climbing out of Depression

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder
If you exhibit 5 or more of the following symptoms for over two weeks to the point where these symptoms interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from this disorder. See the tips at the end of this section. If they don't help, you may want to seek professional help. Major depressive disorder can occur only once or it may repetitively reoccur with about 2 months between symptoms.

  • Depressed or irritable most of time
  • Inability to enjoy the things that you used to enjoy
  • Sleeping problems (too much or too little)
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • A feeling that you're being held back
  • Feeling that you're worthless
  • Excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Thoughts of death and/or suicide
  • A change in weight of more than 5% within 1 month

Dysthymic Disorder
This form of depression is a more chronic or continuous problem, in which a person feels the depression for most of every day for a year or more. If you exhibit many of the following symptoms, and the tips at the end of this section don't help, you may want to seek professional help.

  • Depressed or irritable most of time
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Drowsiness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • A pessimistic view on life
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Difficulty talking to adults
  • Poor appetite or overeating

Bipolor Disorder
A disorder causing abnormally large mood swings between a manic state and a depressive state. A manic state is characterized by high energy levels, little sleep, and a talkative positive mood. A person may swing between manic and depressive states for a year or more, with less than 2 months between each phase. If this describes you and the tips at the end of this section don't help, you may want to seek professional help.

Climbing out of Depression

Dealing with the loss of a loved one
You may not understand why you can't cry, or why you're not sad or why your feelings change drastically from one moment to the next. It's all right to feel angry, sad, numb, cheated, etc. Everyone reacts to a loss differently, and not all feelings make sense. They all, however, are a part of the healing process.

Talk to others about how you feel.
You might find that they've gone through the same feelings that you are experiencing. Discussing your feelings can help you better understand them by putting them into words that you or the person you're talking to can better understand.

Understand that it may take a long time before the pain soaks in, and once it does you may experience reoccurring periods of sorrow as you heal emotionally.
These grieving episodes will probably become less frequent with time, but may last the rest of your life. Think of them as a reminder of the time you shared with your lost friend, a reminder of the things they were able to experience, a reminder of the ways they contributed to your life and to the life of others, and a reminder to live your life to the fullest.

More strategies to stop depression

Do not turn to drugs or alcohol.
Whatever fleeting moment of euphoria you get from drugs will be followed by more or even worse depression. The dependency you may develop, and the effect it may have on your brain will dull any joys you could have received from the natural simple things in life. Drugs also prevent you from taking control of your life and making the many small important decisions you need to make to turn your life in a different more positive direction.

Exercise daily.
You will feel better. Exercise can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Your energy level will increase, your body will feel better and more energetic, and you will feel better about yourself.

Release your pent up feelings.
Cry, beat the stuffing out of a pillow, go running, express your feelings in a journal or to a friend. Release them anyway you can without causing harm to yourself or to others. Talk with your parents, or talk to another adult such as a teacher, a relative, a family doctor or some other trusted adult friend.

Act positive. Use your body to convince your mind to feel better.
Once you have expressed your feelings imagine how your behavior would change if you were absolutely excited about each day, confident about yourself and full of energy. Would you lift your head up? Would you look people directly in their eyes? Would you have a better posture? Would you be more observant of the world around you? Would you smile and laugh more often? Would your smile show your teeth? Would your laugh sound more free and robust? Would you take full breaths? How would you walk differently? How would your voice change? Would it be fuller and more confident? Once you've developed a clear picture of this confident excited behavior, stand up and act it out. You should notice that when you act excited, happy, energetic and confident, you feel a lot better than when you act depressed, sad, tired and pitiful. Simply changing your physical behavior can fool your mind into feeling better. When you wake up every morning, stretch your arms into the air, take a deep breath and smile. Stand up with a fabulous posture, swing your arms and clap your hands. Continue your day acting happy, excited, energetic and successful. Whenever you notice you're slouching, talking into your chest, facing the floor, taking shallow breaths or exhibiting some other negative behavior, immediately make a conscious effort to switch into a positive behavior, lift your head up, take in the scenery, take deep breaths, put a smile on your face, and act positive. Over time acting positive may become a habit that can lift your spirit out of depression.

Find a good reason to look forward to every single day
whether it's a hot bath, a morning jog, taking your dog for a walk, singing in the shower, swapping massages with a friend... find something good and treat your self to it every day.

Gather useful information.
Read self-improvement books and read Taking Control of your Life. Information can give you the knowledge and strength to combat your depression!

If you've tried all these suggestions and nothing works, you may want to seek professional help
such as a psychologist (PhD or PsyD), psychiatrist (MD), or a psychotherapist (MFT or LCSW). These people have been trained and have had experience helping other people just like you. Seeking professional help doesn't mean you're crazy. It means you have the sense to seek the help of others when you need it. You may have a chemical imbalance in your body that can only be treated by a prescription. If you can't shake a depression, seeing a professional could be an important step toward healing and understanding what's going on within you.

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Related Info

Immediate Anxiety Relief
A natural technique to stop panic attacks & general anxiety fast!

Boys Town National Hotline
www.ffbh.boystown.org
1-800-448-3000 Crisis counseling for girls and boys and referral to local help

The National "YOUTH" Crisis Help line
1-800-999-9999

1-800-SUICIDE
www.livewithdepression.org
A national that links callers to local crisis centers:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
1-888-333-AFSP
http://www.afsp.org
Great info on suicide and suicide prevention with useful links

The Covenant House
1-800-999-9999 crisis hotline http://covenanthouse.org/cov_con.htm
Although written for young kids, this site can provide useful information for adolescence on how to cope with thoughts ofÉ

Running away http://www.covenanthouse.org/kid/kid_run/kid_run.htm

Suicide
http://www.covenanthouse.org/kid/kid_sui/kid_sui.htm

Abuse
http://www.covenanthouse.org/kid/kid_abu/kid_abu.htm

For help escaping depression, please read our
Depression section.