Life can feel like a roller coaster, taking us on steep highs and deep lows. It’s not unusual to feel pain from the loss of a relationship you had great hopes for, or the passing of a loved one, or struggles with unemployment and finances. But if the sadness continues to persist and does not go away over extended periods of time, it could be more than just the “blues”. More than 19 million Americans suffer from a depressive illness yearly. In the United States mental health still remains to be a subject that’s misunderstood and stigmatized by negative labels, stereotypes and preconceived notions. Contributing to the reasons why many choose not to seek professional help, but instead suffer in silence.
Clinical depression can affect anyone, regardless of race, gender or class. Depression is a serious illness that affects your thoughts, mood, behavior and body. Mayo Clinic defines depression as the following, “The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression as a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.”
We often overlook our mental health because it’s not something we can physically see, like a cut or wound one would receive from falling off a bike, causing us to give it immediate medical attention. Just as we give attention to our physical health we must do the same with our mental health. There are different ways one can cope with depression through some self-help techniques, including the following but are not limited to:
Reaching out and staying connected with positive, supportive people
Getting involved in different community activities
Picking up a hobby you find interest in
Exercising on a regular basis
Taking vitamins (vitamin d and or or fish oil)
Writing and or repeating positive affirmations
Although I have listed some ways to cope with depression through self-help, that does not mean one should use them alone with treating depression. Getting the proper treatment from a mental health professional is extremely important. The sooner treatment begins the more effective it can be to a person. Seeking professional help from a health care provider is not a sign of weakness it’s actually a sign of strength. By reaching out for help you are taking the steps needed to begin the process of healing.
By Sydney Ann Johnson
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"Coping with Depression." Coping with Depression: Self-Help Tips to Deal with and Overcome Depression. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.
"Depression (major Depressive Disorder)." Depression (major Depression) - Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.