According to the data available on Statista, around 3.59 percent of the population worldwide had depression in 2019. No doubt, life is full of events that unfold in sequence. And some of these events can make one happy, while others can cause pain, regret, anxiety and depression.
Depression has put many in a mental cage and has led to the death of millions. Therefore simplicity, we shall be considering the following in this post:
- The meaning of depression
- Causes of depression
- Signs of depression
- Tips on how to Overcome Depression
Meaning of Depression
Depression is a state of mind that involves a long-term feeling of sadness, distress, and hopelessness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a medical condition that is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
Depression is a killer. Yet many still do not know what causes it.
Causes of Depression
The medical community has not been able to identify any particular causes of depression. But certain life events and underlying factors can explain how depression develops in people.
Some of these events include prolonged unemployment, rapes, heartbreak from terrible relationships, loss of loved ones, among others. The underlying factors in question here include personality, heredity, and environment.
In essence, depression gets triggered by a combination of factors that may vary from person to person. That is because we are different, and our life experiences are different.
At a particular point, Mr. A may be undergoing overwhelming pressure and stress at his workplace that might usher him into a depressed state in the long run. While on the other hand, for Mr. B, it could be battling a marital issue and perhaps a terminal disease in his body.
Signs of Depression
No one can know the exact thing going on inside of someone else. But some external things or behaviors can provide hints. That is also true for depression since it is a mental state (disorder, preferably).
Hence, the following are some of the noticeable signs displayed in the behaviour of someone seriously tackled by depression:
Anxiety is another broad concept that almost would need a different blog post. Differentiating anxiety and depression is quite daunting. That is because the line between both is a thin one. Yet, in most cases, they go hand in hand.
However, Merriam Webster dictionary defined it as:
an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.
Sadly, in this present age, many people at the comfort of our homes with their gadgets in our hands rapidly slide into the claws of anxiety as social media mount pressure on them– from different quarters. The façade on social media tends to cloud their sense of reality by allowing the achievements of other persons (whether true or make-believe) to question their sense of personal growth, self-worth, creativity, amongst others.
Anxiety is usually fuelled by unhealthily comparing oneself with others. Doing that will make one suddenly begin to want and crave for what others have by all means, thereby gradually building ‘depression blocks’ within them.
2. Feeling of worthlessness
A depressed individual, already beaten by anxiety, will no doubt constantly feel an immense level of worthlessness. And usually, this can be observed in the self-care behaviors of the person: including bathing, taking care of one’s appearance, washing of clothes, and dressing, amongst others.
Also, this can be detected, basically, in how a person relates with others.
3. Withdrawal from social relationships
This is a sign to look out for in the behaviour of any person experiencing depression, whether mild, severe, or chronic depression. Such persons become excessively introverted, keeping to themselves and always on their own. They do not see the need to mingle with others as they do not consider it pleasurable.
Interestingly, this symptom will be easily noticeable with a person that is naturally or fairly an outgoing fellow, compared to a person that is an introvert by nature.
4. Excessive guilt and hopelessness
If a person is sliding into any form of depression, one can tell from observing this sign. That is because individuals experiencing depression often feel guilty about their past and the bad decisions they made in the past, which they hardly can change. Also, they show a lack of hope and optimism for the future.
5. Disinterest in pleasurable engagements
You will agree that many people lose their sense of taste and smell when they are sick or having catarrh. Similarly, people battling depression lose their sense of life. As a result, they lose the ability to feel things, including fun and enjoyment.
Depressed individuals stop doings that they once enjoyed. It could be writing, traveling, reading, swimming, spending time at the gym, spending time with loved ones, or as the case may be.
6. Changes in motivation and energy level
This point seems to explain itself. One thing to observe in depressed fellows is a downward slope in their motivation and energy level in setting and achieving goals. They lack what many call ‘drive’ to live and get the best out of life.
Depression is a mental disorder that does not allow the brain of its victims to function at its peak. Depressed individuals, whether young or old, have a high tendency to forget things now and then, even when they appear relevant.
8. Suicidal ideation
Individuals with chronic depression become very susceptible to the thought of suicide. Since they are helpless and seem to have lost the true meaning of life and what life should be. Thus many sadly resort to taking away their lives.
But before this, a lot of depressed individuals must have exhibited all other signs and probably vocalized statements like this:
“I am tired of life. “
“I suck. Everything about me sucks.“
“Nobody seems to love me”
Treatment for Depression
Many people think depression can be cured in a day by reading tons of motivational quotes online or on social media. And others assume that watching a motivational video or listening to a 20minute motivational audio or podcast can address the mental condition called depression.
But it requires more than that. And that’s what we shall consider in this section.
Before moving on to the list of the practical ways to treat or handle depression, it is pertinent to know that making changes in one’s lifestyle is the primary treatment to managing or overcoming it.
Now let’s look at the…
7 Tips on how to Overcome Depression
#1. Make time for relaxation
A lot of us are hard on ourselves. We give more time to working and worrying than we create for resting or relaxing. We were not gifted our brains to work it out along the clock. Not having quality rest can lead to burnout and anxiety, which in the long run lead to depression.
Therefore, to achieve the reverse, one needs to be deliberate about resting time and mapping out occasions for relaxation.
Anyways, a depressed fellow will need one or two pushes and help to achieve this.
#2. Reach out to loved ones
There’s a saying that one can’t give what he doesn’t have. Someone struggling with depression might not have all the love or good vibes to dish out, but he does need the love of people close to him. And this can come as attention-giving and other things that create a sense of belonging in the person(s) in question.
Individuals challenged by depression need not isolate themselves. They need the company of people that will show them love in different ways and support them to rise above the ordeal of depression. Isolation, on the other hand, worsens the situation.
#3. Seek professional help
Reaching out to loved ones for support and strength is important, but patients with depression are encouraged to seek professional help from experts. Professionals in this area can provide medical assistance to depressed fellows through helpful psychotherapeutic procedures, even as they may assist in getting medications for the patients.
#4. Disconnect from social media
This point may sound very awkward to many. And you might want to ask, why should someone disconnect from social media that is supposed to be a place for fun and connecting with others?
Hold on! for a while before crucifying me.
No doubt, social media is of immense advantage to the globe. It helps ease the flow of information; while enhancing quick and open access to opportunities.
Regardless, social media has caused thousands of people harm and pain more than it has done them good.
At this point, I advise the application of your discretion.
Staying off social media: A Tip for depression or Not?
A fellow whose depression was contributed to by social media should do him or herself good by disconnecting from it. Maybe for a while. It could be a week, two weeks, or a month, or as the case may be.
Social media as a powerful information tool gives many a false definition of success, and therefore, it makes them crave for some experiences of others. A typical example is a buzz that emanates from celebrity lives on Instagram and the likes. Many, especially the younger generation, want to have the life of celebrities they see on social media having paparazzo flaunting all over them.
Let’s consider a practical case:
Imagine a 25years old lady called Betty, who has narrowly survived a terrible phase of adolescence.
Each time she goes online on social media, she’s tempted to get into her past and often reminded of her family background.
That is because she sees pictures and videos (the apparent proofs) of young ladies of her age with their family members at events, celebrating their successes. It could be how they just bagged an MSc degree or other valued professional certifications.
Whereas as a young lady, after the death of her parents in a fatal accident fifteen years ago when she was only 10, she’s still struggling to earn herself admission into a university.
And to make matters worse. Each time Betty surfs through her Facebook newsfeed, she sees proofs upon proofs of the wedding ceremonies of other young ladies, who are far younger than her.
And there is Betty, not sure if she’ll ever get married. In the last six months, she has been kicked out of two relationships, leaving her broken and shattered.
Just last week, she signed into her Facebook account and stumbled on a video on her newsfeed. In the video was one of her secondary schoolmates enjoying a picnic somewhere in the Bahamas with her husband and two-year-old son.
What do you think Betty should do who’s anxious about life and yet depressed? (You might want to drop your thought in the comment section)
#5. Learn new things
While setting goals is one of the ways to stay motivated, as outlined in the previous post, learning new things is a sure way to push oneself beyond one’s present predicament.
It has a way of boosting a person’s self-worth. Naturally, as humans, we like challenges. And when we overcome these challenges, the resultant effect is an improved self-image and concept.
Therefore, a person experiencing depression at any stage should be encouraged and motivated to learn new things.
The decision to do that will not only boost their motivation and energy level positively; but also make them redirect the energy they would have utilized in fueling thoughts that make them stay down or negative into learning whatever they want to.
You’ll agree that to learn anything, be it cooking a new delicacy, driving a car, or speaking a foreign language, requires time, attention, focus, and energy.
#6. Volunteer in service to humanity
Many of us get boxed up in ourselves. And usually, all we think about centers on us. We barely go beyond ourselves by asking questions like this:
What can I give out to the benefits of someone close?
How can I put a smile on someone’s face today?
Now ask yourself, could this be the reason why many of us are not living a fulfilling life, instead a life filled with distress and pain?
What is your answer? I’m sure it’s what I’m thinking.
Many great men and women who engage in humanitarian service do so because of the sense of fulfillment that comes with it. How would you feel that your life is blessing someone else– making them better in ways that you can barely imagine?
On this note, you might want to encourage yourself or those who are somewhat going through a depression phase to join an Non-govermental organisation (NGO) with a formidable team and excellent mission and vision. The outcome of this decision will be a beautiful story to be told in no time.
#7. Learn to take charge of your thoughts
Taking charge of one’s thoughts is what a lot of people find hard to do. As the saying goes, it is easier said than done. Anyways, in this part, I’ll sieve out a few expressions from a book that has helped millions of people globally to guide their hearts– the Bible.
In the book of proverbs, in the fourth chapter, the 23rd verse says:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Truly, our thoughts determine the outcome of our lives. Little wonder, Brain Tracy wrote a book titled it Change your thinking, change your life.
Another excerpt from the Bible:
…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 New International Version)
Without the ability to take charge of one’s thoughts, thousands of antidepressants may not able save anyone from depression.
We have looked at what depression means, some common signs of depression and tips on how to overcome depression. However, it is worthy to note that young and old adults, the rich and people in poverty can experience depression. But the ability to manage your emotions can make all the difference.