You might be depressed if you experience 5 or more of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks.
- You lose interest for things you usually enjoy
- You feel sad, cry for no reason
- You are always tired, no energy
- You sleep too much
- You have difficulty sleeping
- You have gained weight very quickly
- You lost you appetite
- You feel guilty, worthless
- It’s hard for you to concentrate
- It’s hard for you to take simple decisions
- You can’t stay still or you don’t feel like you can move
- You think about death and suicide (please get help immediately)
1- Get help!
In Canada you can consult your general physician, he will make the diagnosis and refer you to the proper channels. The Canadian healthcare system is well equipped to give you complete team of mental health professionals. One website that helped me was www.depressionhurts.ca/. If you live in Quebec, you should definitely go to a CLSC they were the most helpful.
If you feel like you are loosing control or yourself, you have a suicide plan, please contact a suicide help line or CALL 911
If you work, check with your employer (HR) if they have a help program for employees, it’s becoming very common.
Most school and Universities have Health care professionals on site. They are usually free. Remember that depression is an illness like any other one, it needs to be treated by a health care professional.
2- After the diagnosis
So the doctor gave you the diagnosis, you have clinical depression (or major depression) what do you do next?
Try to find a psychologist, register for a psychiatrist and look for a support group. You can find all these information online. There are many free mental health support groups they help a lot. You might have to wait to get psychologist, finding a psychiatrist will take even longer but in the mean time there is no harm in looking for support elsewhere. Online forums and blogs helped me a lot.
3- They prescribed you meds
Many times, when it’s a general physician who prescribed your medication, he won’t take time to explain what they are and what to expect from them. Do your research, ask questions to your pharmacist.
When are your depression medications gonna start to work ?
They usually take 4 to 6 weeks to kick in, so you need patience. You are not gonna feel high are super happy from them, the change is gonna be slight but it might make a big difference. They also might not work, it generally takes a couple of adjustments before they find the perfect combination of meds.
4-Schedule you days
If you are depressed, your agenda is your best friend. Your memory probably sucks and you don’t feel like doing anything so you will need some extra help.
-Make a list of what you like to do (or what you used to like)
-Make a list of what you have to do
Now schedule your days to do:
1 chore per day (It might be just to do 1 load of laundry)
1 activity you like (taking a nice bath for example)
1 physical activity (In the beginning it might mean 5 minutes walk around the block)
and try to get outside everyday. It will be hard to do all of them at first but be compassionate towards yourself.
5-If you have trouble sleeping
This is a huge reason why you are so tired when you’re depressed. The body can’t work properly when it’s sleep deprived. If you have trouble falling asleep here are some tips that can help you:
-Turn off all electronics when you are ready to sleep
-Don’t go to bed before you’re sleepy
-Avoid naps (very hard I know… I tried spending my days out of the house so I could resist)
-Try meditation (You can find guided meditation to sleep videos on YouTube)
-Drink something hot before bed
-Do some relaxation exercises
My biggest problem with sleep was that I had very bad sleep quality. I kept waking up. I had to take sleeping pills. Most sleeping pills are addictive when they are not taken properly and when you are not followed by a doctor. I was on them for about 3 months then he took me off them. I still don’t sleep but it’s a choice now.
Journaling is proven to help depression. This will help you keep your sanity. Most of the time, you won’t find people who really understand what you’re going through, and journaling is a great way to get out those feelings that are eating you alive. You can burn them when you finish writing, what’s important is that you stop ruminating. You can find online some websites that give you journal topics or you can just Google self help tools for depression and you will find plenty of tools to help you sort out your feelings.
This is it for my how to guide for depression. I will explore the subject further in other mini posts.
1-Think before you act:
Life is made of a succession of choices, and each choice brings us to a different path, it important to think carefully before taking a decision. If we know that we are doing what is “right” in our book, whatever the consequences regret will be easily removed from the equation. Avoiding a situation or missing an opportunity because of fear is also considered as an action. So before we let an opportunity slip trough our fingers, we should carefully assess the pros and cons.
“Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.”
–Robert E. Lee
“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”
–Miguel Angel Ruiz
2-Assume the consequences of your actions
We must take control of our destiny. Every action has his consequence, and they are caused by the choices we made. Nobody but us is responsible for our choices. If we act according to someone else’s advice, the consequence will be a result of our choice to listen to that person. We have to take responsibility (total or partial) for what happens in our life.
3-Don’t waste time and energy blaming others
Once we become adults, NO ONE is responsible for our well being. It might be difficult to admit but it’s the truth. Bad things will happen to us, and sometimes it will be completely somebody else’s fault, or worse just bad luck. It takes a lot of time and energy, to blame others and to try to understand the reasons behind their behaviors. Sadly not everybody think before they act, and even if everyone did, knowing the answer would not fix our problems. We can only work on ourselves, it takes time but it’s energy well spent.
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
As human our body allows us to be incredibly resilient. Our need of control makes us cloud our mind and prevents the brain from doing what it can do naturally, cure itself. By letting go, forgiving and staying positive, bring up our resilience level therefore we are less susceptible to experience regret. We should take every failure as a learning opportunity. With experience, getting back up will become increasingly easy.
“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.”
5-Don’t look back
Keep moving forward! We should not spend a lot of time if any dwelling on our past mistakes. What is the most important is what we can do now to make our situation better. When we made a bad call, we can have a cry but start the repairing process as soon as possible. Mistakes we made when we were kids (including teenage years) ,should not be regretted, our brain were still developing. They stay in our memory to prevent us from repeating them. What is important is NOW. We must focus on what we can do today, live a meaningful life.
“Don’t let the past steal your present.”
I’ve been going through the comments on my blog and I saw how good I felt when I read positive comments and reviews about my blog. My self esteem goes up a bit, I’m starting to believe that maybe I’m good at this writing thing..People are actually interested in what I have to say and share. What a great feeling! So an idea came up! I’m going to collect positive things people say about be and whenever I’m down, I will read them and remember that some people think I’m awesome :). It’s crazy how it’s hard for us to accept our talents and know how much we are worth. This constant need of approval destroys our self esteem.
Since we are human, and we cannot get rid of our need of belonging, I say, let’s make the best of it. We deserve to celebrate ourselves (Not to the point of being self centered), to remind ourselves that we were put into this hearth for a reason. Maybe we haven’t found it yet, but with a little digging, some experimentation and by accepting failure eventually we will be in the path of self actualization (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).
I’ve been looking for a video that correlates Maslow hierarchy of needs with mental disorders but I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t make me snore out of boredom. Why does information about mental health as to be so plain. No wonder reaching out to ”normal” people is so hard. Even I don’t want to watch a depressing video about depression.
My theory is a person suffering from a mental illness is generally deprived of his basic needs. These are the ones sited in the 3 first steps of the pyramid such as : health, employment security,family, friendship and sexual intimacy. It becomes more of a problem when they live in countries where those needed are supposedly fulfilled and the majority is reaching for the 2 last steps of the pyramid which are Esteem and Self Actualization. No wonder there is a barrier between the mentally ills and the mentally healthy , between the poor and the middle class and up. They don’t speak the same language.
A person who was raised in a stable family, had always have healthy relationship , who has never suffered from a mental illness wont understand why these needs are so important some someone who suffers from depression for example. For them these are already acquired needs that became their normalcy, now they are striving for high self esteem and creativity.A lot of people suffering from mental health are very creative and spontaneous. These are needs at the top of the pyramid, a person who had already acquired these qualities but lack of basics necessity become unstable.
Take myself as an example I feel like I have met all the needs in the self actualization category (morality,creativity,spontaneity,problem solving,lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts) but In 3 other categories (Safety,love/belonging and esteem) I fail miserably. The good news is that it can be fixed and we don’t even have to do it in the ”right” order. The need of safety can be resolved with a concrete in rational plan so it should be easier to solve than the others. I think love and belonging goes with esteem. From my perspective, if we work on our self esteem, respect others,believe in ourselves and achieve the goals we set to ourselves, having a sense of belonging and making meaningful relationship should follow. This is great news, i just rationally proved to myself how I can improve my life!
So my suggestion are :
- Look at the pyramid, select the needs you have already fulfilled and put them as your assets then find the ones that need to be addressed and find different ways you can work towards satisfying them.
- Write down the compliments people give you and read them from time to times to remind yourself that despite every reason you can find to hate yourself somebody else thinks that there is some good in you.
That’s all for today’s advice. Please tell m what you think about my theory,there’s nothing scientific about it so feel free to question it, I love a good debate.
Enjoy your night! Or… your Morning!Kisses!