Depression is many things to different people, but it can be loosely described as a low mood that can last for weeks, months or even years and has a significant impact on your daily life.

Signs and symptoms of depression include finding no pleasure in things that you normally enjoy in life, suffering with low self-esteem and feeling hopeless or unhappy.


What is depression caused by?

A great many things can trigger depression, but common examples are family history of depression, stressful and major life events, giving birth and your personality. There is no set kind of person who suffers with depression, it can happen to anyone from all walks of life.


The Difficulty of Dealing with Depression

Living with depression is extremely difficult. Depression is extremely draining and takes away your hope, energy and drive. It can feel exhausting to so much as think about the things you want to do in order to try and feel better, and everyday tasks such as spending time with friends seems impossible to even contemplate.

Recovering from depression is uniquely difficult as the things that can help the most are probably the things that are the hardest to do. It is difficult to compartmentalise between what is difficult and what is impossible.

Recovery isn’t quick, nor is it easy but you have more control than you realise, even when your depression is persistent and extreme. By making small changes you can slowly rebuild yourself, for example by taking a short walk around the block or calling a friend or loved one.

Of course, the first step is always the hardest to take. But by trying to do something like go for a walk, you can take immediate action to try and feel as though you have accomplished something. An activity like this can provide you with an energy and mood boost for the rest of the day.

This allows you to take another step, such as eating a favourite food or making plans to meet a friend. Small steps are the best way to take positive steps but lifting the fog of depression is hard.

Of course, there is no magic cure to depression. Managing your mental health is extremely important but is very much easier said than done and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder for people suffering with depression. If you feel you are struggling with your mental health, why not reach out to Addiction Advocates today for a no obligation conversation?


Tips for coping with Depression

Whilst depression is difficult to cope with, getting support will play an essential role if you are to overcome this condition. It is very difficult to do it by yourself as it is hard to keep up the effort and hold a healthy perspective during a period of depression.

Conversely, depression in itself makes it hard to ask for help in the first place. It is common for those who are depressed to isolate themselves and withdraw – to the extent that even speaking to close friends and loved ones is difficult.

You may feel as though you are so exhausted that you can’t talk about your situation or feel ashamed or guilty about neglecting close relationships. However, that is likely just your depression doing the talking for you.

By staying connected with people you know and by maintaining aspects of your social life that you feel comfortable with, you can make a big difference to your mood and outlook on life. Asking for help or to talk should not be considered to be a sign of weakness and does not mean you are inconveniencing someone else.

You are loved by the people you know about and they want to help you. If you don’t feel as though you have anyone who you can talk to, you can always build a support network and new friendships.


Eat a Healthy Diet

How you feel can be heavily determined by what you eat. By reducing your intake of foods that affect your mood, for example alcohol, caffeine and foods with high levels of hormones or chemical preservatives, you can have a positive effect on your feelings.

By minimising refined carbs and sugar, you can avoid the crash that “feel good” foods cause to both your mood and energy. Comfort foods, baked items and sugary snacks often cause this to happen.

The same can be said of not skipping meals – by going too long between your meals, you can feel irritated and tired which obviously will negatively affect your mood. You should aim to eat between every three or four hours.

You should also each foods that are rich in omega-3. These fatty acids play an important role in stabilising your mood can be found in fatty fish (such as tuna, herring and salmon) or you can take supplements. The same is true of Vitamin B, as deficiencies in folic acids and B-12 can cause the onset of depression. You can get more Vitamin B by eating more eggs, citrus fruit and chicken.

You should also ensure you spend 15 minutes a day outside and expose yourself to sunlight when possible. This will help to boost serotonin levels and elevate your mood.


When should I seek professional help?

Spotting the early signs of depression may help you to manage your condition, but that isn’t possible for everyone.

If you have been searching for phrases such as “how to manage depression” and “managing anger and depression” it could be that you have tried tips for coping with depression but have found your depression getting worse.

At this point you may require professional help. This does not make you weak or a lost cause – depression is a very complicated condition and if left unchecked it can cost lives.

Addiction Advocates are here to help you to manage your condition.

If you would like assistance with how to manage stress and depression and further information about signs and symptoms, please call us today on 0800 012 6088 or text HELP to 83222.

You are not a lost cause, depression can be treated and we are here to help you 24 hours a day.