Posts tagged: depression
Do You Love Someone With Depression?
If you have a partner or are close to someone who struggles with depression, you may not always know how to show them you love them. One day they may seem fine, and the next they are sad, distant and may push you away. It is important that you know that as a person who is close to them and trusted by them, you can help your friend or partner have shorter, less severe bouts of depression. Mental illness is as real as physical illness (it is physical actually, read more about that here) and your partner needs you as much as they would need to be cared for if they had the flu.
Your relationship may seem one-sided during these times, but by helping your partner through a very difficult and painful affliction, you are strengthening your relationship and their mental health in the long term.
1. Help them keep clutter at bay.
When a person begins spiraling into depression, they may feel like they are slowing down while the world around them speeds up. The mail may end up in stacks, dishes can pile up in the sink, laundry may go undone as the depressed person begins to feel more and more overwhelmed by their daily routine and unable to keep up. By giving your partner some extra help sorting mail, washing dishes or using paper plates and keeping chaos in check in general, you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm environment. (I’m a fan of the minimalist movement because of this, you can read more about that here.)
2. Fix them a healthy meal.
Your partner may do one of two things when they are in a depressed state. They may eat very little, or they may overeat. In either case, they may find that driving through a fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza online is just easier than fixing a meal. Eating like this, or neglecting to eat will only degrade your partner’s health, causing them to go deeper into their depression. Help your loved one keep their body healthy, and their mind will follow. This is a great article that talks about the “Brain Diet” which can help the symptoms of depression, and this article talks about how our modern diet could contribute to the recent rise in depression. Here is a recipe for a trail mix that is quick to make and has mood-boosting properties.
3.Get them outside.
The benefits of getting outside for a depressed person are huge. And it is possibly the last thing on earth your partner will want to do. Take them to be somewhere in nature. Pack a picnic and lie in the sun, take a leisurely hike or plant a garden. Being barefoot in the dirt, or “earthing” helps ground the body and reverse the effects of living in a world of emf’s, and digging in soil can actually act as an antidepressant, as a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. Sunshine increases Vitamin D production which can help alleviate depression. My friend Elizabeth wrote an excellent post about Vitamin D and its link to depression here. For more information about other sources of Vitamin D, this is a great post as well as this.
4. Ask them to help you understand what they’re feeling.
If your partner is able to articulate what they are going through, it will help them and you better understand what you are dealing with, and may give insight into a plan of action for helping your partner. Also, feeling alone is common for a depressed person and anything that combats that feeling will help alleviate the severity and length of the depression.
5. Encourage them to focus on self-care.
Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.
6. Hug them.
Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver. Depressed people often don’t want to be touched, but a sincere hug with no expectation of anything further can give your partner a lift.
7. Laugh with them.
Telling a silly joke, watching a comedy or seeing a stand up comedian will encourage your partner to laugh in spite of themselves. Laughing releases endorphins and studies show can actually counteract symptoms of depression and anxiety.
8. Reassure them that you can handle their feelings.
Your partner may be feeling worthless, angry and even guilty while they are depressed. They may be afraid that they will end up alone because no one will put up with their episodes forever. Reassure them that you are in the relationship for the long haul and they won’t scare you away because they have an illness.
9. Challenge their destructive thoughts.
A depressed person’s mind can be a never-ending loop of painful, destructive thoughts. “I’m unlovable, I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m stupid”. Challenge these untruths with the truth. “You’re not unlovable, I love you. You aren’t a failure, here are all the things you’ve accomplished.”
10.Remind them why you love them.
Look at pictures of happy times you’ve had together. Tell them your favorite things about them. Reminisce about your relationship and all the positive things that have happened, and remind your partner that you love them and they will get through this.
(via The Darling Bakers)
More people need to know this.This is so incredibly important. I’ve seen people with depression ostracized so many times, and I cannot stress how much it means to each and every person I’ve tried to reach out to after whatever “falling-outs” they’ve had due to depression. Remember to always be compassionate and kind to all friends like this, because you never know what they’re going through.
SO important. A lot of times people are told they’re selfish because their own brains have turned against them and make it incredibly difficult to carry on life as usual. Which is pretty crappy when you barely have the energy to drag yourself out of bed and into a hollow mockery of life, so.
It sucks but I need this sometimes.
Graeme Cowan suffered through a five-year episode of depression that his psychiatrist described as the worst he has ever treated.
Part of his recovery involves helping people build their resilience and mental fitness as the Director of R U OK? In his book, Back From the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression andBipolar Disorder, he offers advice gleaned from interviews with 4,064 people who live with mood disorders.
He asked the respondents to rate the treatments they had tried and how much each had contributed to their recovery. Here’s what he found.
The following were the top eleven most effective treatments:
- Supportive psychiatrist
- Supportive psychologist
- Support group, emotional support of family and friends
- Vigorous exercise
- Fulfilling work, paid or voluntary
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
- Reducing intake of alcohol and other non-prescription drugs
- Belief in God, spirituality, religion
Other helpful treatments include:
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Hobbies, such as gardening, pets, or music
- Good nutrition
- Keeping a gratitude journal
Cowan then categorizes the effective approaches into five major themes:
1. Emotional Support
We are social creatures who crave empathy and connection. That’s why emotional support, reassurance, and compassion from psychiatrists, psychologists, support groups, and family and friends dominate the top ten effective strategies. Cowan’s findings indicate that the emotional support and reassurance provided by psychiatrists and psychologists is judged more important than their treatments, which concurs with previous studies that have shown that the quality of the relationship between a clinician and patient is the best predictor of a successful outcome.
2. Psychological Treatments
Some psychological treatments that were listed as effective: psychoanalysis, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, interpersonal therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and letting go of unrealistic goals.
3. Lifestyle Strategies
Both vigorous exercise (equivalent of running for 30 minutes 4-6 days per week) and moderate exercise (equivalent of walking for 30 minutes 4–6 times per week) were rated as very effective. Other helpful lifestyle approaches include: getting a good night’s sleep, being able to relax, doing meditation or yoga, engaging in hobbies, getting massages, and reducing intake of alcohol and recreational drugs.
4. Fulfilling Work
Cowan credits his fulfilling work — offering hope to persons stuck in depression — as one of the most powerful tools he uses to stay well. “I experienced personally the benefits of doing voluntary work in my own recovery,” he writes. “My voluntary work involved placing discouraged people (new migrants or people rehabilitating from physical or mental illness) into volunteer positions with charities. I saw how the work lifted their self-esteem and confidence.”
Fulfilling work was rated more highly than cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is often considered a highly effective depression treatment. Cowan cites the Gallup poll that found that only 20 percent of employees like what they do, but that people with a high career well-being were more than twice as likely to succeed in life overall. Dan Baker, Ph.D., director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch, and many other positive psychologists believe that a sense of purpose — committing oneself to a noble mission — and acts of altruism are strong antidotes to depression.
5. Prescription Medications
The results of Cowan’s surveys found that, while prescriptionmedications can play a vital role to recovery from depression and bipolar disorder, they should not be relied on as the sole strategy. Pharmacology is still in its infancy. A drug that works wonders for one person might not do anything for another except give her a dry mouth and nausea. Cowan writes: “This stresses the importance of working with a doctor who’s highly experienced in successfully treating mood disorders.”
1. Make sure you get enough sleep. A recent study by the U.S. Mental Health Association and the Better Sleep Council identified a relationship between positive moods and sleeping between 6 and 8 hours a night. Regular bedtimes were also important.
2. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible as this stimulates production of melatonin. (Low melatonin levels are linked with depression.)
3. Make sure you have a diet that supports brain health. For example, the following nutrients have been shown to promote more stable moods: B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids. Also, rapid changes in blood sugar can also precipitate changes in mood, so watch your consumption of refined sugar products, and make sure you eat lots of complex carbohydrates.
4. Try some natural remedies. Chamomile, lemon balm or valerian root tea are recommended for helping with anxiety. St. John’s wort is said to soothe the mind and relieve irritability. In terms of homeopathic remedies, lycopodium is believed to help with anger, and feelings of agitation; tarentula hispanica is used for mania; and chaste berry, red raspberry, black cohosh and sarsaparilla may help with female hormonal mood swings.
5. Include some regular exercise in your daily schedules. This releases endorphins, the feel good hormones. It also helps with insomnia.
6. Try and identify coping mechanisms that can ward off or soothe fluctuations in mood. Also, keeping a journal of negative triggers can help you interrupt a pattern early on, and work on strategies for coping with these triggers.
i should rename my tumblr, reblogs of occ and pictures of cats…
maybe i’m just having feelings or emotions or some shit, maybe it’s the depression, maybe some sort of existential crisis. either way it sucks. maybe more than feeling numbed. life’s just been so predictable and boring and maybe i’ve been afraid to make changes. sometimes i think it’d be nice to believe in something. that i might drown in the meaninglessness of it all. to indulge in hedonism and fuck whatever prisons i might cage myself in. that that hedonistic urge is mere primal, corporeal, biological bullshit. that maybe i’m lonely sometimes. maybe it’s a social hangover from overextending my interpersonal credit. maybe i became the sort of asshole i hated. guilt about my father. not answering his calls. not visiting. playing his game with my rules. nature, nurture, neurosis, the contradictions we’ll embrace and ignore the internal inconsistency. causality. creating our reality. what’s real and what did i dream up? thinking about going back to see rosie, my counsellor from last year. i don’t like feeling that these are problems i made up. i don’t even know right now. just feeling trapped and i need space to breathe.
1. I don’t deserve to be happy.
2. It’s selfish to want to be happy, or to prioritise your own happiness.
3. Others will find me irritating, and won’t want to be around me.
4. If I’m happy something bad will happen.
5. People will think I am superficial or not very smart. They won’t take me seriously.
6. I’d be happy if only I could have ….
7. Other people, or external circumstances, determine my level of happiness.
8. Misery’s more comfortable than happiness.
don’t fall into these traps. always question yourself. and if number 8 strikes home, get out of your miserable comfort zone…
Give us your best tip for overcoming depression.
To regard it as being like the weather. It's not your responsibility that it's raining, but it is real when it rains, and the fact that it's raining does not mean that the rain is never going to stop. The only thing to do is to believe that, one day, it won't be raining and accept it so you can find a mental umbrella to shield yourself from the worst. The sun will eventually come up.
Are there things that you feel you cannot say to your mental health provider? (doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, counsellor etc).
If you don’t have a mental health provider, why not? What would you say to them if you did?
Get it off your chest by submitting a short (500 word max) account at mindovermatterzine.tumblr.com/submit
This can be done completely anonymously, or with your name and age to identify you.
DEADLINE END OF APRIL.
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signal boost - might be a useful confessional for someone?