I don’t profess to be an expert on depression and no doubt there will be people who disagree with some of the suggestions I will make. What qualifies me to talk with any authority on this subject, is the fact that I’ve been affected by the illness of depression since my early teens.
Countless trips to the doctors with complaints such as insomnia, mystery aches and pains in the body and general low mood, led to several prescriptions for anti-depressants. Most of these prescriptions were never collected or were picked up and left to go ‘out of date’ whilst sitting on a shelf. This was for the following reasons:
- I refused to believe that I had depression
- Depression was something that happened to other people, mad people. Not me
- I had many ailments none of which were depression, or so I thought
- I did not have all of the symptoms described as linking to a diagnosis of clinical depression
- I did not want to be on medication and kept thinking I might end up as a ‘Seroxat’ case, or even worse overweight
These were just some of the reasons that stopped me accepting the help and support offered to me to combat what in modern society, is a very common and widely misunderstood illness.
If you’ve ever been told “ Pull your socks up, Look on the bright side or get over it”, when you’ve been going through a depressive episode; then you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s commonly misunderstood.
The truth is depression can manifest itself in a myriad of ways; from increased anxiety resulting in anxiety attacks and increased or decreased appetite. To reduced sex drive and reduction in self-esteem and confidence. Being faced with all these intense emotions and maybe with no particular incident or situation to attribute them to, can leave you feeling lost, confused, low and err…depressed.
In my case this lead to a complete halt in productivity in my personal and professional life, a wish to withdraw from the world and during this time; I spent a lot of time at home eating and desperately trying to sleep. After many years ignoring and denying there was a problem, I finally sought help in the form of counselling, which after an assessment and long wait; I was able to get via my local health service.
How to get help to manage your depression
- Get help. You are not alone in your problems and physicians deal with people presenting the same symptoms as you daily. Don’t be ashamed.
- Get a second opinion. All too often doctors are prepared to prescribe anti-depressants with very little information as to your medical history, background and the full range of symptoms you are presenting. Needless to say it’s very difficult for even the most qualified Physician to ascertain all this information in the standard ten minute appointment offered. If in doubt make a further appointment or go elsewhere for a second opinion.
- Research the medication offered to you, but resist the urge to become a ‘self-taught internet’ Doctor. Whilst it is important to get as much information as you can, every case must be judged on it’s individual merit and the symptoms of depression and any side effects of medication- are the not the same for everyone.
- Take the time to research the alternatives and other complimentary therapies. Depression is often best treated when looked at from a holistic view point.
- Take some time to think about whether you are ready to commit to a course of anti- depressants. These are not a ‘quick fix’ and to get the most benefit from which ever medication you’re prescribed, does take time.
Once you have been given a diagnosis of depression it can often feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders; as you finally have a reason for why you have been feeling so bad. But this is also the time that the stigma of depression can become problematic or indeed you can slip even further into low mood.
I would suggest giving yourself a period of a few weeks to adjust to the effects of the medication and any alternative therapies you are doing, as the first couple of weeks starting any treatment can be the most challenging; and people often give up at this stage. Unless you are experiencing severe unmanageable side effects I would suggest you:
- Preserve and maintain regular contact with whomever is treating you
- Start and keep a regular time that you take your medication, and always have some to hand in case you find yourself not at home at your usual time
- Do not take a double dose if you miss a day, just continue as normal
Once you have stabilised with your treatment, it’s time to make some radical adjustments to the rest of your life.
Sometimes medication can lead to drug abuse and if you need help Narconon drug rehab centers are always available for you.How to manage your depression by making positive changes to your routine
6.Establish a routine, especially around your sleeping and waking times. Over or under sleeping can greatly impact your energy levels, mood and general feeling of wellbeing.
7.Clean up your diet. Get rid of all the junk, additives, excess sugar, caffeine and salt. Many people report improvement to their mood and overall health as a result of changing their dietary habits and making sure their body is getting the correct vitamins and nutrients it needs, and not filling it with toxins such as: alcohol, cigarettes’ and processed junk food.
8. Take up some sort of exercise. This doesn’t have to mean joining an expensive gym, any form of aerobic exercise which gets the heart rate pumping will do. Dance, run up the stairs, get off the bus a stop early and walk briskly to your destination. Think of ways to incorporate extra aerobic exercise into your day. Your body loves the endorphins and after a while; you will to!
Dealing with depression can be a difficult and confusing situation but remember; you are not powerless. These guidelines on getting a correct diagnosis and addressing your problem, will help you start to manage your depression effectively and finally get your life back.