NYIAH MOORE/ Staff Writer
What does it mean to be depressed? It can make you feel weak, lonely, worthless, hopeless, miserable, and hollow; and that is just to name a few symptoms. Depression is something that takes over the body and makes one feel mentally broken.
Depression is a common type of suffering that most people have struggled with. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America statistics, depression is actually most common in teenage girls or young adult women. Women tend to be captured and chained down by depression because we are ruminative creatures that get lost in thought, we are more affected by failed relationships, and we stress a lot over standards that society has made.
I know firsthand that depression can make you lose confidence in everything you do, yourself, and your future. It has snapped my spirit many times, and I find that getting lost in comforting music helps me escape reality. I also find that I want to literally escape, and daydream about running away from my problems.
That is what depression does to a person–it makes them lose sight of what is really important, and it is hard for them to recognize their potential, self-worth, and overall purpose. A Poway sophomore named Zoe, (who asked to remain anonymous and keep her real identity hidden) has dealt with depression before. She felt the same way in her experience, as she said, “I didn’t care about anything and I felt worthless.”
A way to effectively escape depression’s grip is to talk to someone that will understand and help in any way they can. It is nice to have a friend that constantly reminds you how important you are, listens to you, and consoles you. Zoe agreed and said that “talking to people is what mainly helped.”
It is hard to accept that some things you just cannot do on your own, but it is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with needing help, and you will be amazed just how relieving it is to spill everything out to someone for their advice. That being said, it is comforting to be able to relate to someone; but you cannot do that if you do not speak up.
Student Services Counselor Traci Barker-Ball explains that depression “is different for everybody, as some may need counseling while others may need medication.” Barker-Ball suggests that people should have “a good support system, a balanced diet, exercise, sunshine, and sleep–people who are depressed usually sleep too much or not enough.” The average happy person would have all these aspects.
- Morgan Griffin, a full-time freelance writer and editor who wrote 10 Natural Depression Treatments, states that women must “give [themselves] a sense of accomplishment” to be strong and confident in themselves; she too needs to remind herself how important she is. For if she does not believe in herself then how could she possibly move on and free herself from depression?
It cannot be expected to get over the issues and tough it out right away, because it takes time to let go of what is dragging you down. It is hard to accept things and move on when you are not ready to. However, there are a couple of techniques that Griffin gives for a good start.
For instance, besides confiding in your loved ones, Griffin said to start “setting daily goals for yourself”, because when you are depressed you usually feel like you cannot accomplish anything and feel worse about yourself. To avoid this, tell yourself “I can do this,” to get out of bed, or go to work and/or school. Give yourself the strength and faith to succeed, even at the little things. As Zoe said, most times she felt “very heavy, and just can’t get out bed with such low energy.”
This is the hardest part, but Griffin explains that since depression is a mental struggle, you need to “change how you think” to escape that miserable state. You might feel like you are worthless and no one likes you and that you are not important, but ask yourself, is there actually evidence for that? It takes practice, but in time you can block out those negative thoughts before they become a burden.
Authors of Coping with Depression for the Help Guide Organization also give helpful suggestions for overcoming depression. For example, a great way to rise up over the wall of sorrow you have built is to simply do things that make you feel happy, the authors stated that “you have to do things that relax and energize you… [like] scheduling fun activities into your day.” Enjoying life is really the best plan because it is the direction you want to go to leave your misery far behind. While you cannot force yourself to have fun when you are feeling so low, you can still push yourself to do things and try, even when you do not feel like it. You will be surprised at how much better you feel once you forget about you troubles for at least little while. The point of trying to have fun is that you will gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities. Those fun activities could be expressing yourself through writing in a journal, or going out with friends, and going on a trip as a get-away.
Depression is the decline of spirits, but it can also be a good learning experience. It can teach us how to be strong and how to be stronger when the next disaster strikes, it can teach how to be independent, and it teaches how to improve and strengthen our mentality. “It gives a sense of empowerment [to believe] you can do anything,” Barker-Ball added.
Overcoming depression can teach us that there is always hope, and that we can overcome anything.