Depression is THE big D word that people nowadays use all the time. But did you know? Being depressed is much more than being sad all the time or thinking that your life is worthless. Depression may have gotten easier to state to medical professionals, but it is still harder to deal with for the patient and difficult to treat for the doctor. This is because depressed people feel helpless, hopeless and feel that their lives are out of control most of the time.
We’ll see what it means to have depression and how we can manage it in the following sections.
ARE DEPRESSIVE PEOPLE MORE REALISTIC?
According to numerous studies done, people who are depressed tend to have a more realistic and nuanced assessment of their abilities and skills and of how well they have performed on a task. People who are not depressed often see the world through optimistic eyes and think they have more abilities than they actually possess. Depressed people are more critical of their work and self-appraises more accurately.
People who suffer from depression tend not to have any specific goals in life. They see everything in life through the same lens and treat everything with apathy or in an abstract nature.
When you interact with people who are depressed, you will notice in the way they describe their future goals. It will never be anything specific. It will always be something generic like – I want to be happy, I want peace in my life, etc. They never say and they never have any concrete plans to achieve their goals.
Helpful Tip – Remember – specific goals are more likely to be achieved than generalized goals. Example : I’ll greet my parents every morning Vs I want to improve my relationship with my parents.
EFFECT ON MEMORY
Not many people know this but depression can actually have an adverse effect on your memory. This is especially so in the case of remembering specific facts like names and places.
It has been said that this could be because depressed people tend to lose the ability to differentiate between similar experiences. Depression also affects your spacial awareness and your ability to give meaning to various life events.
What this means is that depressed people will find it difficult to remember the happy moments and events from their lives.
One way to overcome this is by creating a memory bank wherein you purposely store all your good and happy memories and access it every time life seems too bleak and sad for you.
THOUGHTS ON A ROLL
One of the most important symptoms seen in depressed minds is that of a single or at times multiple sad and fearful thoughts circulating on a loop. This is known as thought rumination. This is when certain depressing thoughts keep going over and over in your mind.
The solution to this isn’t to tell the person to stop doing it. This method is as effective as telling a person to stop thinking about oranges. He won’t be able to do it. Never mind the fact that he wasn’t even thinking about an orange in the first place!
Instead, we should get the person to engage in – Mindfulness. It is nothing but learning to live in the present. When you focus on the now, this moment that you are alive, then you will be able to stop thinking about your past regrets and future worries.
CATCH ‘EM YOUNG
Since we have started accepting that mindfulness is useful in treating depressive episodes, here’s a revolutionary thought – why not teach it to children! Everyone knows that children often have a hard time focussing on any one thing at a time and are often skipping along from one activity to the other.
If we were to teach mindfulness to children, then it will teach them to focus on one activity at a time from a young age and this will certainly aid in reducing chances of future episodes of depression.
1… 2… 3… EXERCISE!
Endorphins and oxytocin are hormones in our body that help in making us feel good about ourselves. These hormone levels increase and get released into our body when we exercise. Any form of exercise not only makes you feel good in the short run but they are also great at stopping future episodes of depression.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK
People often mistakenly think that depression is caused by some major traumatic event. While such events can contribute to it, this isn’t always the case.
Most often, depression is nothing but our reaction to every day events and people that causes high level of stress in us.
So even if we have no control over the events and people affecting us, we can at least control our thinking and our way of reacting to these developments.
Helpful Tip – It is entirely possible to help a person change the way they think, and teach them positive coping strategies that can mitigate and reduce their stress levels.
* If you or any one you know may be suffering from depression, then don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional today.