An unfortunately growingly common disease plaguing society is depression. It appears as if the person loses interest in life, day-to-day activities, and is just chugging along and becoming less responsive and more introverted. Various causes such as postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, sadness, severe stress of day-to-day life, or some trigger related to any childhood trauma or traumatic incident may cause depression. Natural remedies exist to treat symptoms of depression and can make life happier step by step. We shall explore certain causes and steps that can be taken to understand and help people facing depression.
Signs of Depression include:
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Sudden introvert behavior.
- Loss of interest in most things.
- Over-sleeping or insomnia.
- Unproductive at work.
- Seemingly suppressed or angered behavior.
- A sudden burst of emotions, and heavy crying.
Causes of Depression:
Unexpected work stress or problems:
You could have just had a big announcement that you are being given a pay cut. You could have been fired from your job for whatever reason. Suddenly, your senior may start dumping an unusual amount of work on you while his or her behavior has worsened, showing you no appreciation whatsoever. Your business or venture could have collapsed, or been making losses for constantly long periods.
Since the major chunk of our day is filled with stress and worrying about how we are going to keep our finances running and our lives stable, work may impact our minds much more than we think we know. One needs to keep in check his or her stress levels and make sure they constantly remind themselves that any hardship in life is temporary, and despite it seeming like their world is falling apart, the only way to get things better is if they can hold their head high, and tide through with a smile.
Loss of loved ones:
The loss of a loved one can cause people to feel extreme sadness, and feel a void that can never be fulfilled. While a healthy expression of grief is important for us to let out our sorrows, sometimes people tend to suppress these feelings, or are unable to acknowledge the incident and move on. This can lead to depression.
Seasonal or light-related depression:
People tend to experience depression in times when their sunlight exposure is reduced due to the seasonality of certain regions. Places that see only a few hours or no sunlight during seasons tend to have people experience this kind of depression. Also, people working jobs that require constant night shifts wherein, they are sleeping most of the time when the sun is out can be a cause. A solution to this is to ensure you get enough sunlight by making some tweaks to your schedule. Also, if natural sunlight isn’t available a certain lightbox therapy exists where you have to be exposed to it for about 30 minutes a day.
After having gone through the difficult task of pregnancy and delivering a baby, women have to deal with postpartum depression as well. With all the hormonal and physical changes that the body has gone through for several months and the task of going through labor and delivery, a woman’s body and mind go through a series of chemical changes lasting between a few days to a few weeks. These can be handled with some medications and emotional support.
Did you know that men also get depressed in the postpartum period? Yes, the partner of the woman who has given birth also tends to get into depression. This is usually caused by a sudden change in routine. The baby’s erratic sleep schedule, the various feeding and cleaning times, and the added stress and concern of taking care of the child at all times can make a man feel depression as well for the first few months of the child’s life. Also, the partner has to be there for the female providing support as her body is also healing from having given birth. That can cause the mental health of the partner to be affected and they have to cope with these conditions. Researchers have found that roughly one out of every ten dads go through this.
Some symptoms to watch out for are:
- Perpetually dull or sad mood.
- Continuous crying.
- Excess cranky or angry behavior.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Aggressive thoughts towards people.
Professional help may be required if:
- Symptoms are on for more than 2 weeks.
- Unable to do normal functions.
- Thoughts of hurting themselves or their baby.
- Extreme anxiety, panic, or scared behavior all the time.
- Inability to handle day-to-day situations.
Aside from what is already mentioned above some types of depression that require medical and clinical intervention are:
- Bipolar Disorder:
People have extremely high and low phases in this kind of condition wherein it seems like the person is two different people altogether. Hence the term bipolar is used. Various medications and therapy are recommended.
- Psychotic Depression:
People facing this have major depression and symptoms like delusional thoughts, extreme paranoia, and hallucinations. Antidepressant drugs, antipsychotic drugs, and procedures like Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be solutions to this.
Aside from some of the tips given above, some measures can be undertaken to prevent the onset of depression and enjoy better mental health.
This topic can be a part of the discussion for almost everything related to human health. Some important vitamins, minerals, and food groups to include in your diet are:
- B Vitamins.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin D.
- Complex carbohydrates in grains, fruits and vegetables, and others.
- Amino acids.
- Fatty acids like Omega-3, Omega-6, and others.
A healthy diet would be as simple as eggs, fish, whole wheat bread, millets, dairy, and poultry. A decent amount of leafy vegetables and red meat is also beneficial. Nuts like almonds and walnuts can improve body and mind functioning. Pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and watermelon seeds provide proteins and energy boosts. Salmon, trout, cod, mackerel, and tuna are fish containing healthy fats. Poultry and eggs contain Omega-6 fatty acids.
Some foods that need moderation or should be avoided depending on your condition:
- Coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages, soft drinks.
- Excess sugar-loaded foods.
- Deep-fried foods especially, ones that have been in a reused or low-quality oil. Prefer foods that are made in extra virgin or cold-pressed oil.
- Excessively processed and refined foods.
Expressing your feelings:
Slightly overlooked is the actual expression of one’s feelings. Many people say sorrow lightens when it’s shared. Many may not feel comfortable sharing everything with their loved ones or maybe living alone, in which case, it is recommended to talk to a professional. One of the many feelings that depressed people get is that they may be judged for their thoughts or what they are thinking but this is not the case. It is very important to get your feelings out as it helps you connect your thoughts better. You may not realize it but once you do express it your mind works faster in connecting the dots and helping you accept the situation and move on.
Pills and medications may be a help but the long-term intention should be to free yourself from the burden of depending on something and your thoughts. Addiction only leads to you deteriorating your health and getting into a loop wherein you cannot set yourself free and feel fully independent. On a similar note substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and any other intoxicants may give you a feel-good effect wherein you can be alone and not express your feelings and be happy when you are intoxicated. But, this is only temporary and you should never depend on or consider any substance as the solution to your problems. Sharing your grief whether with loved ones or professional therapy is necessary to tide over your depression.
Also, in the case of childhood trauma, the first step to attempt is to get the people who inflicted it on you, or any other close family members together and discuss what you felt wrong about. In many cases, you may not feel safe to talk to the person directly, but you could talk to someone else who is a confidant, or a therapist. Therapy may help you connect so many behaviors and anxiety to their causes that you may have repressed in your memory, and help you to look forward with a happier mind and a clear heart.
Keep in mind that:
No problem or condition is going to be more important than your happiness and long-term health. For the sake of your well-being and your loved ones, you need to keep your mental health. Eating and following a healthy routine should never be overlooked as it can be the root cause of so many problems.
Healthy expression of your feelings is equally important. Keep a schedule where at least once a week you can sit with yourself and analyze what you have been thinking and feeling and keep a track of your emotional health. You will be able to level with your circumstances and deal better with your mental health and day-to-day life while being more peaceful at heart. Get help when necessary, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it but you are one of the bravest people alive if you can express your thoughts. It will reward you by making yourself more in control of yourself.
As the great C.S. Lewis said “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say, ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say, ‘My heart is broken.’
Like the great C.S., Lewis said, “Mental pain is not as dramatic as physical pain, but it is more common and intolerable. Often trying to hide emotional pain. It’s a heavy burden. It’s easier to say “my teeth hurt” than to say “my heart is broken”.