Every year, 300 million people are forced to cope with depression. They may experience symptoms of: insomnia, chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, incomparable sadness, and even suicide. This illness kills — currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34. Yet despite the horrifying statistics, societal shame prevents us from talking openly about mental health. Without awareness, people are unable to get the help they need to recover.
When somebody breaks their arm, they are immediately hospitalized. The patient is flooded with “get well soon” cards, flowers and chocolate bars. Yet, when somebody seeks treatment for depression, the diagnosis is regarded much differently. False perceptions of depression often circulate, often stripping the disease of its credibility. Due to the illness’ nature, symptoms are rarely visible. Our culture ignores the warning signs, deciding to instead blame the victim. The disease itself can be fatal, destroying the everyday life of millions. But the stigmas are what make it deadly.
Due to our society’s ignorance, the future of mental health awareness may seem hopeless. But a revolution is brewing. Thanks to the humility of prominent figures, dedication of mental health organizations, and commitment of researchers, our society has begun to combat the negative stereotypes surrounding the disease. Healing, however, is a process that starts from the inside out. People with depression must take it one day at a time. Even when the war against depression seems endless, daily battles result in smaller victories. Self care is the most vital defense against the illness. That’s why we’re counting down five ways to cope with depression.
It’s impossible to mend yourself when you don’t know what’s hurting. Depression can often appear out of the blue. Oftentimes, people neglect to pinpoint a cause. In most cases, there are triggers that spark the resurgence of the disease. Self-reflection is a healthy way to process what’s plaguing your mind. Contemplating your existence may seem scary, but it’s even scarier to ignore your inner thoughts until they bubble up and explode.
Self-reflection can be achieved through a number of means. Some people prefer meditation. This method allows people to take a step back from their downward spiral, observe their actions, and simply become conscious of their faults. Although meditation seems daunting — an image of a Buddha often follows the thought — it isn’t what most people think it is. Meditating can be as effortless as taking a brisk stroll. It’s crucial to slow down amidst the perpetual rush of life, and acknowledge what your deeper thoughts are whispering.
People underestimate the healing power of creativity. Finding an outlet allows people to express their pain, as well as connect to something meaningful. Inspiration may emerge when painting, singing, dancing, drawing, and more. Art acts as a release — finally freeing those caged emotions. Even jotting down a few feelings will help relieve the burden on your shoulders. Even though depression feels like an engulfing darkness, self-reflection helps to eradicate the shadows and replace them with light.
Schedule Your Day
It may seem silly, but scheduling a day truly helps to stay on track. People with depression often feel as though life is too overwhelming. The stressful weight of responsibility seems to be crushing, and you’d rather procrastinate. Obviously, mental health days are necessary when the world seems a little too much. Eventually, however, you’ll be forced back into the real world. Curling up on your bed seems so tempting, but it won’t help you in the long run. That’s why compartmentalizing alleviates stress.
Planning your day is all about balance. Set aside certain hours for your passions. Devoting time to what you love will give you peace in the middle of a storm. However, you must also allocate time for facing responsibilities. Work, school, or chores often build up until their weight is crushing. Rather than frantically facing the mounting load all at once, just do as much as you can. The key to tackling these obligations is patience. Some days, you’ll only be able to accomplish one thing. That one thing might range from finishing a term paper or just taking a shower. Nevertheless, that achievement should be commended.
Interact with Others
Too many people cope with depression by isolating themselves. Retreating from society may seem like a good idea in theory, but it alienates you from human connection. Bonding with others allows you to share your story. Those that truly love you will be an ear to listen, and their understanding will soothe the heaviness in your chest. Perhaps they’ve experienced similar trauma, and you may form a deeper attachment than you ever thought was possible. Empathy is an overlooked medicine. But even if they cannot relate to your pain, their presence still means something. Just knowing that there’s a constant, steady figure in your life provides the ultimate reassurance. Although they might not endure the same struggles, they’ll be there holding your hand throughout your darkest times.
Believe it or not, mental health is directly correlated with physical health. Although depression is a disease that plagues your mind, maintaining fitness influences your well-being. No aspect of your body should be disregarded — from the quiet corners of your mind to your thumping heart. Continuous respect for yourself gives you the strength you need to combat depression.
Personal health doesn’t mean lifting weights every day and running a marathon. In reality, it’s much more straightforward. Exercise stimulates endorphins, giving your body a psychological boost of energy. Once your body feels fully functional, your mind follows. Even stretching can release the tension in your muscles and make you feel fresh and lively.
Omitting things from your diet also helps your energy levels. It may seem silly and childish to remind yourself to eat veggies, but it’s equally as important as other treatment. Furthermore, drinking water and getting enough sleep is fundamental progress towards improvement.
The Best Way to Cope with Depression
When all is said and done, there’s only so much you can do to overcome a disease. Like any other illness, depression can only be properly treated by a mental health professional. Talking to a therapist or psychologist gives you the tools you need to protect yourself.
Frustrations and sadness consistently occur throughout the adoption process. Adopting a child is never easy, and all members of the family will have to confront their own struggles. Yet despite depression’s looming darkness, don’t buy into the common misconceptions. Depression is treatable, and there is always hope for the future. The light at the end of the tunnel may seem like a minuscule pinprick, but there’s a light nonetheless. Winning the fight is possible. Finding tools to cope with the disease is the very first step.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Kenneal Patterson is a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. She is currently studying Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in Global Health. She is honored to work with Adoption Choices, and hopes that her journalism will inspire others to be more empathetic and kind. She thinks that writing can convey important messages of hope and love, and wants to share these messages with others.
Kenneal spends her summers at home in Golden, Colorado, with her many cats and dogs. She is eternally grateful to those who read her work!
“Coping with Depression.” Erika’s Lighthouse, www.erikaslighthouse.org/the-toolbox/coping-with-depression/
“Depression: What You Need To Know.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-what-you-need-to-know/index.shtml
“Photo Gallery: 10 Ways to Cope With Depression.” EverydayHealth.com, www.everydayhealth.com/depression-photos/ways-to-cope-with-depression.aspx
Schimelpfening, Nancy. “8 Ways to Improve Your Mood When Living With Depression.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 3 July 2019, www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-living-with-depression-1066834.