Life Tips by Mehreen: How to Combat Depression?

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Feeling sad or low at certain points in time may be a reaction to life’s struggles however, when intense sadness (including feelings of being helpless, hopeless, and worthless but not limited to) lasts from days to weeks and keeps you from living your life, it may be something more than just, sadness. You might be a victim of clinical depression which is a treatable medical condition.

The name depression gives quite a scare to us but, here at Baaghi TV, we aim to fight such hurdles and build a stronger society where people look after themselves and the people around them. We need to support each other in a positive manner so that such illnesses can be controlled and reduced. A person who is depressed needs help in any form from his loved ones and the community in general.

REMEMBER: Rather than letting each other down we need to construct a community of people with positive minds and emotions.

 

Statistical Analysis of Depression: 

Around 1 in 7 people, which is globally more than 1 billion people, of all age groups suffer from depression, according to statistics presented in 2017 by World Health Organization. While, lifetime prevalence estimates vary widely, from 3% in Japan to 17% in the US, epidemiological data shows higher rates of depression in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and America compared with other countries.

[bs-quote quote=”The most depressed country is Afghanistan, where more than one in five people suffer from the disorder. The least depressed is Japan, with a diagnosed rate of less than 2.5 percent, according to the study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.” style=”style-17″ align=”center” color=”#dd0000″ author_name=”PLOS Medicine Journal”][/bs-quote]

 

The above statistics is adapted from an article in The Washington Post, giving the most and the least depressed country.

Pakistan is one of those vulnerable countries where stress, anxiety and depression are at extremely high levels. Having an approximately, 200 million population, one out of three people in Pakistan are suffering from these diseases, according to Dr Iqbal Afridi, the President of Pakistan Psychiatric Society and the Head of Department of Psychiatry at Jinnah Post Medical Complex. Its prevalence is higher in women at 57.5% and 25% in men, as confirmed by statistics.

Above is a pie chart that highlights the statistics of depression across the globe. Image taken from AHA CEO Roundtable – American Heart Association.

 

Symptoms of Depression:

According to DSM-5 – a manual used by mental health facilitators and doctors to diagnose mental disorders – you are more likely to be suffering from depression if you have 5 or more of the symptoms given below, for a period of 2 or more weeks:

  • A depressed mood during most of the day, especially in the morning.
  • You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
  • You feel worthless or guilty most of the time.
  • You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and/or making decisions in your everyday life.
  • You can’t sleep or you sleep too much as part of your daily routine.
  • You lack interest or pleasure in most everyday activities.
  • You feel restless and slowed down.

 

Common Causes of Depression: 

There is not a ‘singular’ cause behind depression rather, it depends on a unique combination of an individual’s genetic makeup and environmental conditions. There are many factors to take into account:

  • The physical structure or chemistry of the brain.
  • Family history of battling with depression or other disorders including but, not limited to: anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Stressful and/or traumatic events including abuse, financial issues, or even death of a loved one.
  • Hormonal changes such as: PMS, pregnancy and menopause in females.
  • Side-effects of medication for instance: sleeping aids and blood pressure medication.

 

Treatment for Depression: 

It is, without a doubt, very difficult to snap out of depressive emotions but only an individual, with some help and a great will power can come out of such a downing feeling. This illness cannot be entirely eliminated, with gradual yet continuous efforts, one can fight his/her way out of this disorder.

To rid yourself of it as soon as you begin noticing the signs and symptoms is of utmost necessity, as any delay puts your body in a depressive mood for a longer period and then your mind starts becoming numb, further leading to sadness and hopelessness and prolonged feelings of worthlessness and/or anxiety and related conditions.

A. Snap Out of it Quickly:

So the first point, as aforementioned, would be to fight out of your depressive feelings as fast as you can. Every person faces many ups and downs in life, certain setbacks that are quite difficult to handle, or maybe some small situations when you feel helpless and disheartened, the key here lies to quickly pull yourself together and with courage deal with your shortcomings. Then try to stop yourself from feeling depressed and start keeping your mind occupied with keener conviction.

Whenever, I have experienced acute depression, my mind would contract and the more it would do so, the more my soul would enjoy doing nothing, rather just sitting or lying down and feeling sad. I would have to make an extra effort to revert back to life in order to continue with my routine thus, giving me strength and diversion from the sad feelings.

B. Keep Yourself Busy:

One should try and keep oneself busy, either a job, a hobby, any activity or it could be small tasks around.

Doing your work yourself keeps you occupied and active. Start from making your own bed, to preparing your breakfast, doing your laundry or gardening, preparing small meals and laying out your table or cleaning up your kitchen, there could be so much around you that you can do or involve yourself with. If you stop taking interest in such tasks then you start becoming lazy and this tends to makes matters worse when it comes to a depressed individual.

One who is going through a depressive phase does not have a will and/or motivation to do anything. However, to fight this feeling, one has to push themselves to find something that they could find contentment in. It could be a hobby that you wanted to indulge in as a youth and now that you are a retired person, can probably pursue.

I am most of the time inspired by landscape or nature photography as it takes you out into the nature, and aids you in feeling connected to God more, it also allows to the opportunity to explore. Similarly, painting and music give real pleasure and satisfaction to the human soul. Music has a soothing effect on our minds, and helps to practice some much needed distance from our worries. Do keep your thoughts busy by listening to music or you can learn so at any age.

REMEMBER: The best part of acquiring a hobby is that you are never too late to pick it up.

I have seen many middle aged women going through a bad patch in life where their kids are grown ups, they feel as if they have nothing better to do in life. It should not be the case because life has to go on and tasks have to be done regularly nonetheless. You should not feel deprived rather be confident and must adopt healthy activities to perform better in the next phase of your life.

C. Getting rid of loneliness:

Being lonely acts as one of the root causes of this illness. A person with a sensitive nature falls prey to depression and being lonely adds to it.

Learn to absorb backlash and critique from others and make yourself stronger for whatever life has in store for you. Fight out that feeling of loneliness, because it’s only you who can fill that void. Go out to meet people and no, it is not necessary to meet several people, you can just keep one or two close friends with whom you meet up either once or twice a month. This will make you think about others besides yourself.

I feel that depressive feelings make you a hermit and you avoid going out and meeting people, but a conscious effort has to be made by you to overcome this illness.

This can be done by staying connected to your family, let them know your feelings and situation, they are the best people who can help and listen to you. Crying your heart out to your parents, siblings or your children gives you a relief and you share your burden. If not this, then you can invite some of your close ones over or can dine out with them.

D. To Maintain Strong Will Power:

To fight depression one must practice having a strong will power. Depression leaves you feeling like a weak and a coward person. Such a state leaves no will power in an individual, so you have to rebuild that courage to face the hardships.

You have to be strong for your own betterment because no one can fight your wars for you.

Would you be okay if someone else were to take over your life? Twist it and sabotage it? Then why would you allow the monster of depression to do that to you? Hence, I can only advice you to take control of yourself with a strong determination to face this challenge called life.

Image above is Late Indian Politician who believed in the strength of will power. Photo credits: Pinterest.

One should never lose hope because life is an ongoing roller-coaster with its ups and downs. Face them courageously and have faith in God because He has created you and He has the power to take away your worries as it has been stated in the Quran [the Holy book of the Muslims]:

[bs-quote quote=”God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear.” style=”style-17″ align=”center” color=”#dd0000″ author_name=”Qur’an ” author_job=”(2:286)”][/bs-quote]

E. Timely Medical Assistance:

In case of an acute depression, do seek medical assistance and consult an accredited psychiatrist. He will rightly guide you with some therapy sessions and slight medication to relax your nerves. I would suggest not to depend too much on these medications as they usually lead to other medical problems ranging from stomach ulcers to memory damage and beyond. Therapy sessions are always helpful be it your physician or people in a group.

Image taken from: VAGABOMB.

As rightly said by the late, Lady Diana (the Princess of Wales), being unloved is indeed a very terrifying feeling which leads to loneliness, despair, hopelessness and ultimately depression.

Therefore, be loving and kind towards others so that you also get their love and kindness in return.

REMEMBER: Love begets love!

Three minutes is all it would take to watch my video and perhaps save your life or the life of a loved one going through depression, so do watch, share and subscribe to Mehreen’s Corner and Baaghi TV. Do share your thoughts and remedies for depression in the comments section below.

 

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