You are Not Alone: Understanding and De-stigmatizing Depression

 

August 16 2016

Jacqueline Rosenhek

 

Sometimes you can be surrounded by a large group of happy people having fun who want to hang out with you yet, you still feel alone. Sometimes something as simple as getting out of bed feels so overwhelming and exhausting it is enough to make you just want to crawl back into bed and stay there all day, maybe even all week. Sometimes you really don’t want to get ready for school or work or anything at all because that would mean having to go out of your room and deal with life which to some seems like just another part of a daily routine, but for you it means having to get out of bed, and getting ready for the weight of the world to crush you into oblivion. While the world will not actually crush you into oblivion, when you have depression, it can certainly feel like it.

Depression is categorized as a mental disorder that is caused by a combination of genetics, chemical imbalance, environment and psychological factors. It is important to also include any potential major life changes (relationship ending, death of a loved one, loss of job), medication, drug abuse, other health problems, even the changing of seasons as factors for depression as well. We at Naturiste are not professionals at diagnosing depression; however it is known that if you can identify with a few if not all of the following symptoms and this seems to just not go away, you may possibly suffer from depression:

  • Frequent feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Loss of interest in friends and activities you typically enjoy
  • Feeling drained of energy all the time
  • Notable change in sleeping and eating habits (sleeping much more or less, eating much more or less)
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Consistent negative thoughts and difficulty getting rid of them
  • Increased irritability and restlessness
  • Engaging in reckless behaviour such as reckless driving, excessive drug and alcohol consumption, getting into fights etc.
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies*

 

 

* If you feel you may be a potential danger to yourself please try to call a suicide prevention line like 1-866-277-3553. You have so much more to live for than you think you do, you do not need to hurt or kill yourself to escape the negativity that you feel.

One of the many reasons why people suffer from depression is a chemical imbalance, to be more specific, someone who is suffering from depression will likely have lower than average serotonin and dopamine levels in their brain. Serotonin helps to regulate appetite, sleep and mood and it also inhibits pain, low levels of serotonin have been linked to those who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. Dopamine plays a role in how someone perceives reality; lack of dopamine has been linked to psychosis. It is also the brain chemical that gives the brain and body gratification, the same feeling when people abuse drugs which is why those who suffer from clinical depression are more likely to abuse substances than those who do not suffer from it.

Antidepressants can be very useful, sometimes even crucial to help with someone’s depression and no one should be ashamed for needing them; unfortunately it can be difficult sometimes to find the right one that works for you without any unwanted side effects. Many people have been trying to find natural alternatives or complimentary natural supplements that help with depression along with finding healthy lifestyle choices. Finding a good therapist is a very worthwhile option, it is good to have an unbiased person who has no former opinion of you try to help. Having a professional to talk to can help you get to some of the underlying reasons of finding out why certain things may trigger your depression. Bottling up your emotions is a sure way to make you feel far more depressed and very lonely. Foods rich in iron, vitamin B6, natural fats, protein and riboflavin will help boost serotonin and dopamine in your brain, combined with physical activity such as hiking, yoga, swimming, biking, basically anything that can be both meditative and physically exerting will help to regulate dopamine and serotonin levels. As for natural supplements to take, 5-htp, rhodiola, omega-3’s and Saint John’s wort are all very good options as either natural compliments or alternatives to pharmaceutical antidepressants. One thing, however, that is really important, even if it seems impossible, try to love yourself. You are loved, you are not a burden to anybody, you matter and you can pull through this.

 

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