Fighting Depression: You Are Not Alone

That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key. ~Elizabeth Wurtzel

Depression is a quiet thief. It steals into one’s life and takes away so much: energy, joy, productivity, relationships, even lives.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression.

Of those affected, only 20% will seek treatment.

This statistic is heartbreaking because, for most people, depression is treatable.

If you are experiencing depression, please know that you are not alone.

Depression is especially challenging because it can sap your motivation to get better. Reaching out for help can feel almost impossible. But I encourage you to do just that. Talk with someone, tell them you are struggling. Ask for help. Ask a loved one to help you find the right resource for you. It may take a couple of tries to find a good fit, but once you do, you will begin to take back your life.

Common symptoms of depression can include

  • change in eating patterns, weight gain or weight loss

  • loss of pleasure in formerly enjoyable activities

  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

  • fatigue and decreased energy

  • sleeplessness or sleeping too much

  • irritability

  • feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or guilt

  • persistent anxious, sad or empty feelings

The most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy and medication. We are beginning to understand the link between nutrition, exercise and depression as well. Following a whole foods eating plan and including 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days each week has been found to be as effective as an antidepressant in treating moderate level depression

Psychotherapy is often the first recommended method of treatment. Therapy can help treat depression by addressing the root of the problem and by providing

  • a supportive, encouraging and accepting environment

  • help sorting through the life events and problems that have contributed to the depression and how to heal or change some of these for the better

  • coping skills

  • restructuring of negative or critical thoughts that increase symptoms of depression

  • increased self-esteem and self acceptance

  • a feeling of control over one’s life

Medication has it’s place and can often provide enough of a boost in mood to allow one to work through the issues or problems that triggered the depression. For people who’ve experienced two or more episodes of major depression, staying on medication for the long term may be recommended.

You don’t have to fight depression alone. Help is available. If you or someone you love is suffering with depression take a look at the resources listed below. If you have questions about finding the right help for you, email me, thlaxson@gmail.com. You are not alone.

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