What is depression exactly, and how do you get over it? Studies show that depression rates are on the rise in industrialized nations, and their number continues to climb. In fact, just about all of us will experience bouts of depression at some point in our lives. The trouble happens when we start to experience longer lasting and more persistent bouts of all those yucky feelings… It is important not to confuse depression with grief or sadness that is appropriate to a situation of bereavement or loss, as this is a healthy and normal state that is temporary. But when your feelings of overwhelming sadness, despair and lack of interest in normally enjoyable activities begins to take over your life, is when it may be a good time to think about being evaluated by a mental health professional.
I want to be clear that even though I espouse natural remedies, I am not on a crusade against anti-depressant medications. There are plenty of individuals that have had their lives turned around by the help of antidepressants. However, they are not without their risks, and I do want to point out some additional methods of treatment that can benefit sufferers alongside medications, or in place of altogether. To overcome a condition that is as persistent and ongoing as depression, it behooves the person seeking treatment to be open-minded about all of the non-drug treatment options out there, as well as the lifestyle changes that should be part of the regimen as well.
Our diets are one important factor in the stability of our moods. A diet laden with too much processed junk food, refined sugar or flour, and fried foods has been linked to an increase in recurring depression. It is important to maintain a good diet and include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, as well as amino acids, Omega-3, and B Vitamins to keep our moods and mind functioning normally.
Omega-3 is present in much of seafood and been found to be a great natural depression buster. It’s also a good idea to include dietary supplements as well that contain vitamins, calcium, magnesium and amino acids.
It is also imperative to get plenty of exercise and vitamin D which is present in natural sunlight. Physical activity improves the heart rate, circulation and oxygen flow throughout the body. Vitamin D naturally occurs in sunshine as well as dairy products. This could explain why people are more likely to become depressed in the wintertime. If your bouts of sadness occur more often during the time of shorter days and bleak skies, it might be a good idea to invest in a light box which acts as a provider of artificial sunlight to improve one’s mood and mental functioning. Many doctors swear by these for patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or known by the acronym “sad” (just a coincidence, I guess, that the acronym is also the most fitting mood for the disorder!)
The third thing to keep in mind is the importance of social relationships. Even though you may be feeling so lousy as to not even want to do anything beyond hole up in your room, isolation can make your symptoms even worse. Talking with a mental health professional has many benefits, but don’t forget about trusted friends and family members, who can lend a sympathetic ear and not subject your thoughts, feelings and condition to censure. Also consider getting involved in a support group where you will find that you are not alone in your condition and hope for recovery from the debilitating effects of depression. Just remember: seeking help is the first step to breaking the chains and setting yourself free once and for all. You can overcome the power of this dark beast that drags you down, and live a happy, purposeful and fulfilling life once again with the right combination of treatment and therapeutic options out there today.
If you are suffering from a depressive disorder, don’t go it alone… There really is a lifetime of happiness, hope and possibility waiting for you around the corner, but it is up to you to take that step now!