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How to Find Help with Depression

There is good news and bad news when it comes to depression. The bad news is that depression is real and negatively impacting millions of Americans. However, the good news is that there are many treatment options available for depression, so no one needs to stay stuck in the symptoms that it causes. Depression help is available.

Depression is a mental health disorder that can range in the level of severity that people experience in their lives. For some, depression symptoms are mild, and they can manage them through strategies they implement independently. However, others experience more severe symptoms that are best treated by mental health professionals.

Depression symptoms & what it looks like in real life

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020 alone, an estimated 14.8 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment. While many people think of feeling "sad" when they think of depression, there is much more to what depression feels like and how it can impact your life.

Other common signs of depression include:

  • Feelings of emptiness and worthlessness

  • Losing interest in your work, hobbies, and things you previously enjoyed doing

  • Unexplainable fatigue

  • Loss of concentration in what you do

  • Abrupt changes in your appetite and weight

  • Insomnia

  • Thoughts of self-harm

It can be tricky to view a list of symptoms and identify if they apply to you entirely or not. So, here are examples of what depression looks like in daily life:

  • Not returning calls or texts

  • Decline in work performance or calling in sick

  • Canceling plans with friends or family

  • Feeling numb inside

  • Putting on a "happy face" so no one notices

These signs could indicate you are dealing with depression. If you or someone you know has these signs, it is time to seek help.

The importance of finding help with depression

Depression can impact many areas of your life if left untreated. It's tempting to avoid getting help because it may feel intimidating. You may not want others to know what's happening but resist that temptation. Depression can impact many parts of your life if you ignore it.

Depression affects your physical health

Depression doesn't only impact your mental health; it affects your physical health as well. For example, it's common to lose your appetite when depressed. You may also experience changes in your sleeping habits. For example, you may struggle to fall asleep or feel tired all day long, no matter how much sleep you get.

Depression can also lead to a weakened immune system leaving you vulnerable to anything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. It's also been found that people with depression have an increased sensitivity to pain.

Depression affects relationships

Depression affects how you relate to people around you. It can cause you to be moody, and you may find yourself having angry outbursts at other people without good reason. This can create a gap between you and your loved ones. If they don't understand what you're going through, they may start to distance themselves to avoid your irritability.

Depression can also negatively affect your relationships if you withdraw from others. This could be as simple as declining to go out with friends and avoiding family get-togethers. When you do this enough, people may stop inviting you, which can cause you to feel even more isolated and lonely.

Depression can stop you from living the life you want

We all desire to live a happy life, full of contentment with what we do. But, depression can rob you of the joy of life. You may feel numb even when you're doing things you used to enjoy. This can make it easier for you not to want to make an effort to do anything, which can cause you to continue to withdraw. Seeking help with depression can help you overcome it and maximize your potential to live the life you desire when you're feeling your best.

Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts

When depression is left untreated, it can lead to suicidal thoughts. Major depression also increases the risk of death by suicide, with men having a higher increased rate than women. But depression doesn't have to lead to suicide because help is available.

So, what can you do for yourself, your friend, or your relative if you believe symptoms may be related to depression? First, you need to be proactive in seeking help. There are many effective treatment options available to help you get back to feeling your best.

Help for depression

The first step in the right direction is acknowledging the problem at hand – depression. Once you do that, you can start taking measures to manage and overcome your depression symptoms. Eventual recovery from depression is a victory worth celebrating. Here are some strategies that can help you take steps in the right direction.

Spend time with your loved ones.

Connecting with a strong support system is important when getting help with depression. Take time to connect with family and friends even if you don't want to at the moment. You will likely find that you enjoy yourself more in the moment once you are together with others who you enjoy.

Talk to the people in your life that you trust about what you're experiencing and let them know how they can help. For example, let them know you may be struggling with responding to text messages at the moment, but you enjoy receiving them. This will help them know they're not bothering you with messages, so they will continue to send them.

If you don't have people in your life that you trust in this way, consider joining a peer support group for people with depression. You can even join online groups that make it easier to connect from the comfort of your home.

Practice self-care

One of the easiest things to give up when you are feeling depressed is self-care, but it's also one of the things that can help you continue to manage your depression symptoms.

If your energy level declines and you stop going out, it's easy to skip showers, stay in your comfy sweats, skip meals, or eat things that aren't healthy for you. These behaviors can spiral further down. So, look for little self-care habits you can implement daily. Start with what feels manageable to you, such as making sure you get dressed for the day even if you don't have anywhere to go. Then, work on stacking good self-care habits together. For example, after you get dressed for the day, you eat a healthy breakfast.

Eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and doing things you enjoy are important factors in your physical and mental health.

Get enough sleep

Lack of proper sleep can contribute to depression. For example, you may not want to try sleeping at night because you don't feel tired, but then you feel fatigued throughout the day and don't make an effort to do other things you enjoy. Or, because you have low energy, you may be tempted to sleep the day away. You may need to be intentional about getting up in the morning and taking action for the day even if you don't feel like it.

Give therapy a try

While there are many strategies you can use at home to manage depression symptoms, many times, the best option is to work with a therapist, even if it's only for a short time.

Experienced mental health professionals are trained to help you get the best treatment for your situation. The NEST provides depression therapy in Stillwater, MN, with a range of treatment options, including therapy, medication management, and mindfulness techniques. In addition, our therapists provide a safe space for you to take steps to get back to feeling your best.

So, if you're ready to get started, you can call to be matched with the right therapist for you.

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