what you THINK, SAY and DO makes your life a reality. so what do you do when you don’t think very highly of yourself?
anxiety, depression and a host of mental illnesses can lead to an unhappy existence when left untreated. the challenge with mental health is that so many suffer in silence, unaware that there is help for what ails them. my own battle with depression lasted 3.5 years and i chalked it up to something everyone goes through.
a the doctors office for a strep throat, i read an article that provided a lengthy checklist to see if you were depressed. i marked every box and told my doctor right away. its safe to say, i would have hurt myself or worse had i not gotten help then and there. sadly, 5 people have left my life due to suicide and depression. that pain doesn’t go away, its just passed on to others.
be it mental or physical health or heartbreak, financial struggles or just feeling like its too much, part of your SELF love and SELF care is asking for help. even before that, its knowing you are worthy of it. there is strength in vulnerability and saying “i can’t do this on my own right now.”
an incredible initiative called “Let’s Talk” by BELL (Canada’s main phone provider) was launched recently and the shared stories and experiences are helping so many. the shame of mental illness is a thing of the past as more and more people speak out.
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada put together a list of 8 ways to recognize depression. Take a look, think about it and if you or someone you love needs help, please, talk to them.
Depression can result in a total lack of interest in food, so somebody may begin to lose weight without even realizing it. But the opposite can happen, too: to fill the emotional void, some of us turn to food and will gain weight in turn.
Just like with appetite, the physical changes can swing to either extreme. You may suddenly find that you’re tired and sleeping all day, or that you can’t get a wink’s shuteye at all. A particularly common form of sleep deprivation is to find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, night after night.
Aches and pains
“A lot of people don’t realize that depression comes with bona fide physical symptoms,” says Gallson. Feeling sick to your stomach, knots in the gut, a weak immune system and constant colds and flu, whole body aches and pains, and exacerbated chronic conditions (such as arthritis) can all come with a depressive episode.
Anger and irritability
”If you are continually depressed, you can become extremely frustrated, and this can manifest as anger,” says Kaey. Anger is depression turned inward, as the expression goes. Having a short fuse, and finding that little things that would normally not bother you suddenly have the power to completely ruin your day could be a sign of buried depression.
About 40 percent of people who suffer from depression struggle with alcohol, according to the MDSC. Drug use—illicit and prescription—are also common ways that many of us try to escape our emotions. It doesn’t just mask the problem, it can also make things worse; liver damage and poor health only worsen depressive episodes.
Finding yourself unable to focus, taking three hours to do something that ought to take half an hour, struggling to formulate your thoughts coherently—these are also factors that come with depression. If you constantly feel that you have no mental energy, and feel like your mind is muffled and numb, it may be time to seek help.
Problems with work
Depression can severely interfere with your ability to work—waking up in the morning and not feeling capable of getting out of bed can lead people to long bouts of absenteeism. But even just missing a day or two every week—or just constantly coming in late and leaving early—is a common sign. “Presenteeism,” meaning regular attendance but failure to get anything done, is also a sign.
Lack of sex drive
A complete and total lack of interest in sex can be (but is not always) a feature of depression. If you are in a relationship, a total lack of desire for your loving partner can make you feel even more guilty, self-loathing and insecure—sometimes forcing you even deeper into depression.
According to the specialists, the most important thing to remember is that there are effective treatments out there, from medication to talking therapies. And up to 80 percent of people who suffer from depression respond well to treatment, according to the MDSC.
What is crucial, says Keay, is to be aware of these signs and to seek treatment and help as soon as possible—otherwise, you risk heading into “a spiral, where you don’t want to talk to anyone about it. And that just makes things worse,” she says. “Just small incremental things like exercise, going out during the day in the winter [when a lack of sunlight and seasonal affective disorder can kick in for a lot of us], picking up the phone and talking to somebody, even just going to a coffee shop to vent with a friend, all thoselittle things can help get you out of that spiral.”