Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it, but also everyone around them
What is Depression?
Depression is the state of low mind and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and sense of well being. It is common and serious and should be taken serious’
Symptoms of Depression
- Loss of Interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain)
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death
How to get Motivated when Depressed
1.Set small and specific goals.
Seriously. Unload the dishwasher. Heck, unload three glasses. Task completed and still itching for more? You can always raise the bar if you’re feeling particularly motivated. Take note that if you feel highly overwhelmed while tackling your goal, chances are it’s too high and you need to lower it to something more realistic or specific.
2. Practice self-compassion.
Self-criticism is depression’s BFF. If you beat yourself up for being so “unproductive” and “lazy,” You’re going to keep yourself feeling like crap and thus, paralysed. Try instead to use the same encouraging words you might use for a friend or loved one. If you can’t find the words, read more about self-compassion
3. Recruit support, or ask for help.
Some of us have trouble holding ourselves accountable at the best of times. With little motivation or energy, it’s that much harder. Confide in someone you trust, and ask for their help. Ask a friend to hold you to your commitment. Ask your partner to accompany to a yoga class. Pay for your support group, counselling appointment, or massage beforehand so you’ll be more motivated to attend.
4. Envision how you’ll feel after the task.
Getting in the shower, going for a walk, preparing a meal, or hanging out with a friend seems like a very ominous task if you focus on the effort involved. People who are depressed generally have low self- efficiency which means they have low confidence in their ability to perform tasks. As such, they tend to feel overwhelmed and avoid such tasks. Lower expectations for yourself within the task, and envision how you (might) feel after the task rather than during.
5. Make the goal to do it, not to enjoy it.
When you’re feeling depressed, it’s natural to lose interest in things that used to make you happy. Comedy is no longer funny, sports are no longer fun, spending time with friends is no longer engaging. Anxiety, depression, and self-loathing take over, leading to feelings of detachment and defeat. So, when doing something “fun” or “active,” do it with the goal to do it, not to enjoy it.
6. Acknowledge your courage for stepping out of your comfort zone.
As painful as it is, depression can become comfortable in a “devil you know” kind of way. You know what to expect, for the most part. You know the pain, you’re in the pain, you can predict that tomorrow will be more of the same. The idea of stepping out of this comfort zone can be quite anxiety provoking. There’s a good chance whatever you’re experiencing will come with anxiety, because anxiety accompanies uncertainty. Anxiety may be telling you you’re stepping out of the familiar routine of depression, so acknowledge your courage and try to bring such experiences forward in your journey.
How to encourage your loved one to get help
While you can’t control someone recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult. Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.
Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problem—and helping them see that it can be solved—is an essential step in depression recovery.
Taking care of yourself
There’s a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we love, but you can’t control a loved one’s depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. It’s just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You won’t do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, you’ll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Tips for taking care of yourself
Think of this challenging time like a marathon; you need extra sustenance to keep yourself going. The following ideas will help you keep your strength up as you support your loved one through depression treatment and recovery.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If you’re suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how you’re feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Set boundaries. Of course you want to help, but you can only do so much. Your own health will suffer if you let your life be controlled by your loved one’s depression. You can’t be a caretaker round the clock without paying a psychological price. To avoid burnout and resentment, set clear limits on what you are willing and able to do. You are not your loved one’s therapist, so don’t take on that responsibility.
Stay on track with your own life. While some changes in your daily routine may be unavoidable while caring for your friend or relative, do your best to keep appointments and plans with friends. If your depressed loved one is unable to go on an outing or trip you had planned, ask a friend to join you instead.
Seek support. You are NOT betraying your depressed relative or friend by turning to others for support. Joining a support group, talking to a counselor or clergyman, or confiding in a trusted friend will help you get through this tough time. You don’t need to go into detail about your loved one’s depression or betray confidences; instead focus on your emotions and what you are feeling. Make sure you can be totally honest with the person you turn to—choose someone who will listen without interruption and without judging you