Everyone gets sad and depressed at some time or another – and that’s perfectly normal and natural. After all, we know “happily ever after” is truly the stuff of fairy tales. And eventually we rally and life goes on, one way or another, and the pain of the loss eases at least somewhat, becoming part of the new normal. But depression which lingers and for which there is little or no cause is another thing altogether.
It’s as though one has slid down a slippery slope into a dark place and become mired in a muddy morass. And with no one loss or event to blame for that downward slither. For that lack of motivation. Inability to get anything done. Almost a paralysis.
And if someone says, Oh, you’re just depressed, your reaction is: Oh, nonsense. And you flounce off in a huff – to find somewhere quiet to sit alone and stare vacantly into space.
You might not even know you are depressed; you might think you’re way too strong for such wishy-washy weakness. But acknowledging your “paralysis” is not normal is the first step towards coming to terms with depression, and dealing with it.
And if it’s difficult to see it in yourself, it’s equally difficult to see it in others. Knowing the symptoms, both physical and psychological, helps:
Common physical symptoms:
• Loss of appetite with excessive change in weight.
• Loss of interest in sex.
• Loss of energy, even when not physically active.
• Loss of sleep despite feeling exhausted, or
• Sleeping too much or more than usual.
• Slowed activity and speech.
• Feeling miserable for weeks on end.
• Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities.
• Slowed or inefficient thinking with poor concentration.
• Difficulties making decisions or solving problems.
• Recurring guilt and self-critical thoughts.
• Thoughts of self-harm or of being better off dead.
If you’re experiencing even some of these symptoms, it’s time to do something about it. After all, you’ve taken the first and most difficult step: acknowledging that you have a problem.
And you’re not helpless – there are strategies you can try!
• If you’ve withdrawn from friends and family, reach out. Don’t isolate yourself!
• Get some exercise. Even a short walk can be a mood-changer.
• Set goals for yourself. Keep tasks simple – success breeds success – do just one small thing you’ve been putting off.
And reward yourself.
• Sticking to a schedule or a routine can also help – make sure it includes activities you enjoy.
• And you know how we talk to ourselves all the time? Don’t indulge in negative self-talk; make sure you’re thinking positive thoughts even if it feels artificial at first.
• If you’re an inveterate popper of pills, your doctor can prescribe an anti-depressant. They really do work. If you choose not to go the chemical route, there are therapists who are often better than pills!
Or join a therapy group. Here in Kenton, you can contact Ruleen de Wit 082 782 0287