Depression

We will all experience low mood, and struggle with certain difficult aspects of our life. Depression is not a mood that will just “go away,” and if you begin to feel as if you are having a hard time coping or experience some of the symptoms below, you may be struggling with depression*:

Depression symptoms 

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as spending time with friends
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Depression is treatable

Don’t feel discouraged, depression is very treatable. Talking with a counselor and developing new coping skills and working towards understanding your body can reduce the impact that symptoms have. Try some of these coping skills to get started*:

  • Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Give yourself permission to do less when you feel down.
  • Write in a journal. Journaling, as part of your treatment, may improve mood by allowing you to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
  • Don't become isolated. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, be physically active and get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn ways to relax and manage your stress. Examples include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and tai chi.
  • Structure your time. Plan your day. You may find it helps to make a list of daily tasks, use sticky notes as reminders or use a planner to stay organized.
  • Don't make important decisions when you're down. Avoid decision-making when you're feeling depressed, since you may not be thinking clearly.

*Taken from Mayo Clinic