“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
We understand, dealing with depression can be a lonesome activity. You’re not alone in this. Depression affects millions of people at some stage of life or the other. The good news is just like any other health condition, depression can be cured with the right therapy and medication. In this article, we will explore different factors that can lead to depression and how to get help in coping with depression.
Risk Factors for Depression
The onset of depression in one’s life can rarely be traced down to one isolated factor conclusively. However, the following elements definitely play a role and can trigger depression:
A family history of heart disease or diabetes, for example, leaves the next generation a lot more susceptible to the disease. Similarly, if you have a history of depression in your previous generations, you might be at a predisposed risk of experiencing a depressive episode at some stage in your life.
Death or Grief
The passing away of a loved one is a huge pain to be dealt with in life. Losing a parent, spouse or child can trigger serious stress, feelings of guilt and loss of interest in daily activities.
Personal, professional or political conflict
Long-term estrangement or a complete breakdown in close-knit relationships is also considered a big risk factor for depression. Similarly, political upheaval in the form of riots or loss of life and security due to natural calamities can lead to depression.
Our experiences as children shape our adult personalities. Kids who face bullying at school or neglect and physical abuse may be at a higher risk of depression than those who don’t. Experimentation with alcohol and substance abuse also plays a role.
Change in social structure also contributes to bouts of depression. A change in a certain work environment or relocation to a new city may induce feelings of isolation and loneliness arising from the change in the social support structure.
One or more of these factors put together can contribute to depressive episodes of varying severity, however, that might not always be the case. It’s normal to want to know what you or someone you know is experiencing, but different people react to and overcome depression differently.
Depression in Men
Although the risk factors for both genders remain the same, if you’re a man, you’re likely to experience depression differently from your female peers. Traditional upbringing and focus on what is perceived to be acceptable male behavior can put pressure on men to suppress their feelings. Men feel surmounting pressure to conform to gender norms and be the bread-winners for their families without exception. Will I be able to get a good job after graduation? Will I be able to provide a good life for my family? Will I be able to plan for my child’s education? All these questions form the root cause of mental strain that can lead to depression. Men are more likely to deal with depression at work, due to these pressures. Unlike women and children, men rarely open up to even their closest friends about these fears and insecurities.
Symptoms of depression in men
Symptoms of depression in men range from mild irritability to rage, loss of appetite and interest in work and family activities, insomnia and failure to concentrate on routine activities.
Depression in Women
If you’re a woman battling depression, chances are you’ll experience forms of the ailment that are unique to your gender. Statistics suggest that women are twice as likely as men to experience one depressive episode in their lifetime. The most commonly occurring depression in women is postpartum depression which occurs during the last trimester of childbirth and may last up to a year after. Menopausal depression is also unique to women; this condition gives rise to a sense of a loss of femininity and womanhood, thereby triggering depression. Major life changes such as marriage and childbirth can cause a change in identity and perception for women individually and those around them. Clinical depression is also a leading health risk for women, although women express it differently.
Symptoms of depression in Women
Symptoms of depression in Women range from irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, an increase in menstrual cramps, headaches, and greater fatigue as a result of depression.
Depression in Teens
Teens suffering from depression display a marked change in behavior. They tend to oversleep, exhibit extreme deviation in eating habits, propensity to indulge in irresponsible behavior such as breaking the law or experimenting with substance abuse and many similar outrageous acts. In their attempt to express their internal angst they usually opt to act out and partake in rebellious outbursts; in case of extreme situations, some even taking to violence.
Symptoms of depression in Teens
Depressed youngsters might experience periods of sadness and hopelessness; you can sense their discomfort when they express a loss of desire in socializing and interacting with friends and family.
Self Help Tips for Dealing with Depression
Dealing with depression alone can be hard for anyone. But the best and most effective way to overcome depression is to come out of isolation and seek help. If you or someone you know is trying to overcome depression, it’s natural to think of the ways in which you can get help or reach a professional. Here are some useful self-help tips for dealing with depression:
The first step to solving a problem is first accepting that there is one in the first place. If your loved one is depressed, take the necessary steps to reassure them of how they feel. Make them feel included in daily activities and talk them through their episode. Enable them to be vocal about how they feel. An expression is a key to overcoming depression.
This is the first step to loving yourself; we cannot change the situation we are in but we can own the responsibility of taking care of ourselves.
Look for trends and triggers
Most depressive episodes follow a certain pattern. If you’re wondering how to help someone with depression, the best thing to do is to help them identify their triggers. If you spend enough time with the person, you’ll recognize certain instances or memories of certain people that incite anxiety and discomfort. Make a note of these and then address these pain points.
Find something to look forward to
The happiest people in the world feel positive because they have something to look forward to and be excited about. A good technique for tackling depression is to make plans and schedule things that can break the depressive cycle and bring a burst of positive reinforcement even if it’s temporary. Repeating this exercise often can yield lasting results.
As human beings, we are inherently social animals. We need to surround ourselves with people who love us, care for us and inspire us. In order to overcome depression, you should try to gather the most fun – Replace negative thoughts with positive feelings, change your “I can’t” to “I can”. You can practice reframing thoughts on Wysa.
Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. Exercising in the gym or playing a sport you love can release endorphins in your body that will refresh your mood. Most research on the subject suggests that just a little physical activity can greatly reduce the severity of depression in people in the long run.
Maintaining a routine
Setting a routine will help you feel like you are in control of yourself and the way your day is structured. For example, you can have your morning routine that includes deep breathing exercises, a good shower, and a healthy breakfast.
Try the deep breathing exercises, and energy-boosting exercises with Wysa and make a noticeable progress every day with us.
Maintaining a proper diet
Never underestimate the power of a good and well-balanced diet. Depression can cause you to eat more than usual or eating too little. Monitoring and keeping an eye on your nutrition helps maintain your internal biological parameters.
Depression can cause sleep disturbances such as insomnia or oversleeping. It’s good to set up a fixed time for bed and follow it every day.
If you are finding it hard to sleep, you can find a gallery of sleep stories on the Wysa app that are sure to relax your mind and help you sleep better.
Taking on more responsibilities
It is quite common to involve yourself in tasks that are larger than yourself or require you to contribute to something meaningful. This will help with your feelings of low self-worth and give you validation for the work you’ve done. For example, you can take up volunteering.
Talk to a CBT trained AI Bot
With the advancement in technologies, it is possible to get help in dealing with depression through an artificial intelligence bot. These bots are trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and help reframe your thoughts towards a positive mindset.
Wysa is NHS certified and is considered among the best digital mental health app. We have an empathetic AI bot trained in CBT who help you and are available for a chat 24/7 and is completely anonymous. Start talking today.
Dealing with depression alone or dealing with someone with depression is no mean feat. But it’s completely achievable. Try to think of depression as a temporary wound on your body that you can’t see. Eventually, every wound will pale and heal; the scabs and scars will fall off and you will be new! Just remember, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. We promise. Try these self-help tips for dealing with depression and keep us posted on your progress, we’re listening.
If you are looking for more answers about understanding depression, read our blog on the most asked questions here.
Physical exercise is not a cure for depression. But maintaining a healthy physique and exercising often to maintain fitness can ease anxiety and depression.
While you’re playing outdoor sports and exercising in the gym, the body releases endorphins that make us feel happy and enhance the sense of general well-being. In addition, they often distract us momentarily from our emotional problems which breaks the cycle of negative thoughts and painful emotions.
Exercising is also a good way to socialize, make new friends and build community around you.