Depression is more common than the general population knows. I often think of depression as a silent and painful state of being shrouded in shame and disguised with joyless activity be it physical movement or sloughing through a thickness of brain activity.
Yes, there are degrees and types of depression, but this piece only addresses depression in broad terms. There is much known about depression today versus several decades ago. However, I think the process of the science of psychiatry, general medicine and psychology is wide open to research in the areas of cultural, social, emotional, brain chemistry, hormonal chemistry, nutrition, physical activity, and the close interaction of these topics.
Some signs of Depression are physical manifestations such as body aches, headaches, nausea, fatigue, physical changes in movement (dropping things, stumbling, tripping —- all more than usual), weight change, overeating, over drinking or other forms of self medication. Yes, all so, so vague and no external cause to blame. These symptoms are also seen in many other physical illnesses and can be soothed with traditional approaches after a process of elimination.
When one’s mind, heart, body, soul are sad, are down and beyond the ministrations of typical solutions, it’s time to look deeper. There is help out there, but taking that first step to share, breaking your silence with someone (friend, family, doctor, clergy) the deep sadness, pain, anger, emotions is extremely difficult. There may be an element of pride to acknowledge that help is needed. Emotional pain may feel as it’s a weakness of character, shameful and needs to remain hidden.
Depression is discussed widely in various forms of the media. A quick search on-line will direct you to on-line depression self tests and more. For one, check out www.WebMd.com which is a vast resource for health in general. There are many free newsletters connected with this site specific to issues which are helpful, too.
I offer several ideas to start the journey of self-healing and self-care. Finances may not be flexible enough to include counseling/therapy, but there are ways to start on the path of health that do not cost money. They are expensive in terms of devoting time to yourself and leaving what does not need to be done, undone, but minimal monetary outlay.
If you have read this far, some of the above may resonate within yourself — a matter of degree of impairment and quality of daily living, which only you can measure. What I offer is not restricted but a general recipe for just good living.
-grab a pen (colored ink is great) and pad of paper (again, go for color)
-Review your eating style by looking at when, where and what.
-Make columns of when, where & what and jot down a word, or two in the appropriate column.
-Replace less healthful items and with fruits and vegetables.
-COLOR on the plate brightens meal time.
if you need help with food selections, talk to a Registered Dietician or contact a local hospital to see if nutrition education is available. The library may have information, too. If that overwhelms you, stop! Go back to the beginning of this section.
2. Exercise (not marathon or fitness training)
-just list day-to-day activity like vacuuming, laundry, driving, walking around at work, or home.
- figure out ways to get more movement into these activities. You’ve read them all before, or heard them on TV.
-get a quality pedometer (www.Amazon.com)
-park farther away
-make 2 loads of laundry instead of one
-take the stairs, or walk up the escalator
-walk the dog, cat
-turn on your tunes and dance while cooking, talking on the phone.
-squat instead of bending over to pick up…….
-assess quality, how much, how you feel in the morning,
-how many times do you get up
-if you’re finding sleep quality is poor, speak with your doctor, or research sleep solutions.
-Some find taking calcium at night is helpful, again, check with your MD.
4. Journal —- daily —- for your eyes only —- and try not to censor yourself. I urge the use handwritten journals, (colored inks) which engages connections to the brain, and emotions. This is not a school assignment, so it does not need to be perfect.
5. BREATHE!!!! Breathe through your feet!
Take the time to just focus on your breathing and bring it down, down, deep into your abdomen. Letting your ribs expand. Breathe through your feet (no, of course you can not), and be aware of the soles of your feet, the texture of socks, shoes, floor — whatever you are standing upon.
And continue for several rounds just letting yourself be in the moment.
CONGRATULATIONS: In conclusion, I want you to know that you have taken some huge steps by just reading this post. When you implement some, or all the suggestions, or re-tool them to fit you, you will have accepted responsibility for your health and started taking control of your life and health.
If you feel the urge to kill yourself, or have made plans to seriously harm yourself, please reach out to someone near you or dial 911.