The first criteria that everyone must know about depression is that is is NOT as simple as either "you have it or you don't." Everybody experiences depression to some degree. You can experience it in a single day or you could suffer from seasonal or long-term depression. In addition to the length of depression, the depth likewise varies on a spectrum. Some people experience mild depression while others have a severe, chronic case.
The second criteria that everyone must know about depression is that coping is NOT as simple as taking a pill or toughening up. Depression can be understood as a physiological phenomenon in which there is a lack (or excess) of various neurons that regulate mood in the brain. It can also be understood as a cognitive phenomenon in which unhealthy thinking patterns exist or the person holds perceptions about the world or themselves often at an unconscious level that cause them to feel overwhelmed, hold back their emotion, etc. Finally, depression can be understood as a spiritual phenomenon, where there is conflict between the head and the heart of an individual.
As you can see, depression is a deeply complex issue. Now that I've demonstrated this fact, I will discuss some of the ways to alleviate depression. Keep in mind that if you are severely depressed, than doing just one of these things is not going to help - I recommend doing all of them every single day. But if you're just feeling a little sad, doing one of these can help you too!
- Communicate. You have to talk to people about your feelings. If you hold them inside you are crippling yourself. Let go of your fear of being judged - it is so worth it to tell anyone you feel a connection with, even if you are not perfectly comfortable telling them.
- Get out of your head and into your body. Go for a walk. Blast music and dance your heart out. You've got to get out of your head and engage your senses.
- Take medication. You may have to experiment with different kinds, but once you find the right one it can help tremendously. Medication coupled with professional assistance (ie. counsellor) is an even better idea.
- Do what you don't feel like doing. No matter how much you don't want to go out and socialize or be in public, if you force yourself chances are very good that you will feel better. This applies to exercising, eating healthy foods, etc.
- Laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Find a friend or a funny movie and let the pleasure of a good laugh set you free.
To your happiness,