What comes to mind when you hear the word depression? Familiarity? Weakness? Darkness? Or something you think people should just bloody snap out of!
I’ve always known depression was a genuine and often serious diagnosis, however I’d never really understood it. Obviously we all get down from time to time but I would always have a genuine positive outlook for the future and motivation to do things!
I realise this I quite an open post but I figure this stuff needs to be spoken about! Statistics show that one in Four people will be affected by some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. And still mental health problems continue to be poorly misunderstood.
It may be something of a British culture to get up and get on with things, however there does come a time when you need or physically and mentally cannot continue without telling someone how you feel or expressing your emotions.
I myself have experienced what I can only describe as waves of depression mixed with post traumatic stress – being unwell mixed with vicious panic attacks probably caused this. Luckily I haven’t experienced this low feeling for a while but to explain it would be to say it was like a massive dark cloud sat over me and all I could do was feel really sad mixed with a lack of motivation for stuff, this feeling scared the shit out me! I hadn’t ever felt like this before and had always had a very optimistic outlook on life.
After learning about the brain and it’s synapses I have come to understand that the more a pathway in the brain Is activated, the easier it can be used in the future. In other words your brain notices when you are using a certain pathway a lot and makes it easier for us by automatically firing it. This can be incredibly useful, AND incredibly un useful . When relating to anxiety for example, the more we have or experience panic the more likely we are to do so in the future because these pathways have got increasingly stronger and stronger. However there is very good news attached to this, if we can repeatedly activate a pathway that lead us to feel anxious, we can do the same to repeatedly create happiness and joy! I feel like I’m blabbing on now so if you want to find out more about this then google NLP or the lightning process.
I think the most important thing you can do if you’re feeling unusually low is tell someone you trust or who’s close to you. Although I understand this isn’t easy! But it helps so much knowing someone else is aware of what you’re going through.
Another option is to go to the doctors, this is all pretty obvious stuff I know but if you’re feeling low and hopeless it can be so much effort! It’s also important not to let them fob you off with anti-depressants.
This happened to me when I went to the doctors about anxiety. I ticked a few boxes and bam there were my drugs to fix it. Haha, sorry to say to the medical profession, your ‘amazing’ SSRI tablets are not going to treat the cause of my problem!! At the time I was a little more unaware and didn’t push for counselling but I would advise anyone not to let them get away with just giving you drugs.
Another thing I find helps is exercise, in particular swimming, I always feel so good after going! Also meditation and relaxation techniques like breathing out more than in (I already spoke about this is a previous blog post).
I also find having routine in my life to be very important, I feel a lot calmer and generally better with a good routine structure. Getting up at the same time, regular meals etc. All slightly obvious stuff but not to take the importance away from it!
Everyone (including myself) has a natural habit of portraying their ideal ‘perfect’ self to the people around them, understandably not wanting people to see the evidential flaws in their mental state or life in general. This is one reason that makes it hard for us to open up about issues that you may think make you seem weak or labelled. This is why I think it’s important we speak out about it. The more people that do, the more people who won’t be so shy/ conscious to express how they may be feeling!