Tag: depression

7 tips to cope with depression

Depression is a common mental health issue that is becoming increasingly common amongst the Britons. According to the independent newspaper, Britain was seventh place amongst countries with the highest rate of depression in 2017, with 10% of 25 to 64 year old been diagnosed with depression. Studies have found that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men, at a rate of 29%, compared to 17% of men. As a result of this, one in four women will require treatment for depression, compared to one in ten men.

Many factors may contribute to these findings, such as gender differences, i.e. women’s triggers are more likely linked to hormone-related prognoses such as pregnancy, periods, childbirth and menopause and many more. In addition, women have different roles, whether this is in the home, motherhood, having a work balance while raising children and building a career. They generally invest more in relationships than men. 

Myths about depression 

Some people have a perception that depression is a track matter, which is indeed not the case. Depression is an illness that needs serious medical attention, and an individual shouldn’t be treated as though they need ‘to get over it’ or ‘pull themselves together’. This illness is not a sign of weakness, nor something to be ashamed of. It’s important that you get support and treatment. 

Some people believe that the symptoms of depression are the same for every case. This is a myth; it’s not accurate as everyone is different and although there is a general prognosis in diagnosing patients, which responses to depression in different ways based on many factors such as, medical history, substance abuse, etc.

Signs of depression

  • Having little interests in doing things such as going to work, getting out of bed, isolation, having a bath, social anxiety, being overly pessimistic or inabilities to enjoy hobbies and interest.
  • Suicidal thoughts. Thoughts about dying, being better off dead or attempting suicide.
  • Sleeping problems. Having problems sleeping or sleeping too much, as well as feeling extreme tiredness or having little energy. 
  • Feeling very low, hopeless down and depressed.
  • Feeling very tearful.
  • Finding that you can’t cope with everyday things or using drugs/alcohol to cope with feelings.
  • Trouble concentrating on things such as reading or watching television.
  • Feeling extremely negative about yourself or that you’re a failure or let yourself or your family down.

7 tips to cope with depression

1. Seek help
Don’t feel ashamed or alone; speak to your GP so that they can support you with the right treatment and support (such as therapy or medical treatment).

2. Avoid isolation
Try and keep in touch with loved ones/friends that you trust. Talking to someone that you trust can very helpful as it prevents over thinking and so you don’t have to face your issues alone.

3. Don’t be hard on your self
Avoid trying to be hard on you, if you have a difficult or bad day. Postpone important decisions until you are feeling better.

4. Keep active
Having fresh air and being physically active helps you to feel better.

5. Peer/support group
There are many support groups within the borough; you could join a group that could help you with advice and experiences with those going similar experiences.

6. Set realistic goals
Having small and realistic goals can help you feel good and boost your self-confidence. This may include getting dressed or having healthy meals each day and having a routine. 

7. Avoid too much alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol only masks the problems and it could make you more depressed, try cutting down on your alcohol consumption when feeling depressed.

What causes anxiety

Anxiety is when you feel afraid or overly worried, tensed that something is going to happen in the future.

Most people who suffer from anxiety have been anxious during the earlier part of their childhood. This could stem from living in an environment where one or both of the parents do not talk about their feelings or express their emotions, particularly negative emotions, and often deal with them in a negative way. In addition, early years of anxiety could be a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, drug addiction or alcoholism, parents that suffer from mental health issues and school-related issues like exams or bullying.

When you’re overly anxious it can affect any area of your life such as:

  • Work – you begin to lack concentration and you’re often not present as your mind is busy racing and thinking about other things.
  • Intimate relationships – you may begin to find it hard to be emotionally connected with your spouse as you feel anxious about the status or the future of the relationship.
  • Friendships – it’s important to socialise and have hobbies, but unfortunately, when an individual is highly anxious it affects their ability to be sociable, as they are often worried about different things which could begin to make them feel paranoid. As a result, they suffer from social anxiety.

Everyone can feel anxiety from time to time, however, anxiety is a mental health problem: if it affects your ability to live as fully as you would like to.

Do you often feel like this? Do you feel anxious very often with the feelings being very severe and lasting for a prolonged time? Do you worry constantly or are afraid that you feel out of control regards to a situation?

  • You avoid situations which might cause you to be anxious and your worrying makes you feel very distressed.
  • You experience panic attacks.
  • You find it hard to enjoy the day to day things. Anxiety could affect the way in which you look after yourself, work, enjoy leisure time, and form and develop relationships.

Self-care for anxiety

Time to pause

Avoid extreme build-up of stress by taking time to pause, relax and recharge yourself. It’s important to avoid over-working by doing long hours without breaks.

Control your breathing

Severe anxiety is often linked to poor breathing habits. It’s important to implement slow breathing techniques by breathing in slowly and gently through your nose for about 5-7 seconds.

Exercise

Exercise is good for your general health, including your mood, mental health and wellbeing. Engage in a regular weekly exercise which will help release the ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins. It will also help you relax and sleep well and it is a very healthy distraction.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Having a balanced diet will provide the right nutrients that your body needs, which will contribute to positive emotional wellbeing. 

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety. 

Get enough sleep

Improved sleeping patterns enable you to recharge yourself. Common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can often underpin sleep problems. Sleep helps you to feel better and boost your moods.

Acceptance

It’s essential to accept that you can’t control everything and it’s important to avoid being overly controlling. It’s important to have a vision or dreams and aspirations, but you can’t spend too much focus or time worrying about the future.

Know your triggers

Having an understanding of what triggers your anxiety will help you look for the patterns and keep your anxiety levels under control.

Talk about your issues 

Talking about issues that make you anxious will help you to think less and reduce over thinking which contributes to worrying and anxiety.

Coping with Depression

Depression is a real illness and it can happen to anyone regardless of his or her age, gender, class, race,  sexuality or religion. 

It can affect people in different ways and can cause various symptoms including: low moods, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, tearfulness, restless, isolation and being unable to relate to others, finding no pleasure in things that you usually enjoy, low self-esteem, feeling hopeless, having memory difficulties or difficulties concentrating on things, sleeping differently or sleeping too much and feeling tired most of the time.

There are several things which can cause depression and it varies from person to person. Here are some common causes of depression:

  • Childhood experiences such as; physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
  • Bereavement.
  • Traumatic events.
  • Relationship breakdown.
  • Family problems.
  • Drugs/alcohol abuse.
  • Serious illness.
  • Life changing events, including losing a job, starting a new job, having a baby, extreme pressure from studying.
  • Genetics.
  • Social exclusion or anxiety.
  • Being bullied.

These experiences can have a huge impact on one’s emotional well-being and esteem.

Depression is often a low mood that lasts for a long time, which affects your everyday life. People experience depression in many ways including feeling:

  • Down, upset or tearful.
  • Restless, agitated or irritable.
  • Guilty, worthless and down on yourself.
  • Empty and numb.
  • Isolated and unable to relate to other people.
  • Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy, such as hobbies and interests.
  • A sense of unreality.
  • No self-confidence or self-esteem.
  • Hopeless and despairing.
  • Self-sabotaging behaviour.
  • Suicidal.

Severe depression can be life threatening because you may feel that you’re not good enough and your life is not worth living. As result of this, you could feel suicidal. Some people describe depression as being stuck, it’s like being in a dark place, isolated with no interest in things that usually makes them happy, others describe it as feeling sad.

Self-care for depression 

Visit your GP

It is advisable to always contact your GP for medical advice if you think that you are depressed. 

Seek professional help

There are many trained counsellors that you can seek to give you the support you need. You don’t have to go through the difficulties or challenges on your own. Talking about your problems can make a big difference. 

Get enough sleep  

Sleeping well can help to improve your mood and increase your energy levels. 

Eat well 

Having a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well, think clearly, increase your mood and energy levels. 

Exercise 

Keeping active helps increase your happy hormones, helps you to feel energised and helps you to sleep better.

Personal hygiene

Small things, like taking a shower/bath and getting fully dressed even if you are not going out of the house, can make a difference to how you feel. 

Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol

Using drugs or alcohol to cope with any difficult emotions could make you feel worse and numb your emotions. 

Avoid isolating yourself 

Speak to family and friends that you trust about what you are going through and how you feel. 

Keep a journal of your thoughts and feeling

Keeping a journal will help you to offload any negative emotions and enable you to be more self-reflective.

Why ignoring negative emotions can be dangerous

Emotions are a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. Your emotions represent who you are, it can help you to make sense of self, environment and the relationship that you have with others.

Emotions can be both positive and negative. Regardless of whichever one it is, it is important to understand and feel it. People who have grown up in an environment where they were not allowed to express their views or talk about their emotions, often struggle to deal with negative emotions. For instance, people who have anger problems may have suppressed their emotions for a long time, particularly towards people who have hurt them as a child. As result of this, they often get very angry at anything and everything as adults since they have not been allowed to express their views or emotions as children.

In addition to this, children who have experienced or been exposed to severe emotional pain during childhood, subconsciously develop a coping mechanism to emotionally shutdown, when feeling negative emotions, such as; fear, loneliness, vulnerability, sadness, jealously, failure, rejection or abandonment.

Often, individuals that do not know or acknowledge these emotions use, people or other things to distract themselves, including food, inappropriate sexual activities, drugs, alcohol, and even dysfunctional relationships. Our emotions represent who we are and often tell us many things about ourselves. It is not always easy to understand your emotions, but doing so will enable you to build your esteem and take more control of your

wellbeing. It is important for you learn to understand and take control of your emotions since avoiding them can lead your emotions to control you. If this habit is not tackled, it could lead to mental/ emotional issues such as: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, dysfunctional relationships, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal idealization.  

 How to deal with your emotions positively

It is important to identify and acknowledge the emotions, which you are feeling, rather than ignore them. Emotions are very powerful and can influence the way that we behave and the type of people we attract.

Keep a journal of your thoughts and emotions to gain a deeper perceptive and understanding of the root cause of what you are feeling or where it is coming from.

Try breathing or relaxation techniques, if you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.

Talk to positive family members or friends about your concerns and how you are feeling. If you feel that you want to speak to someone neutral, then seek professional help from a therapist to explore your emotions.

Emotions do not always represent the reality of what we feel. For example, you may feel that people will abandon you, this may not be the reality. However, there may be underlying issues that may be associated with your childhood or past that has not been addressed.

It is best not to respond immediately to negative emotions such anger in the moment. Always take time out to calm down or reflect before responding to negative situations. Often, you may say or do something that you may later regret.

Self-care can increase your ability to deal with negative emotions, such as exercising. Exercise can help to increase the happy hormones and help you to be more mentally at peace with yourself.