Depression. A word which means something different to everyone who experiences it; a word which holds a unique story for each sufferer; a word which defines the feeling that millions of people around the world (approximately 264 million to be precise) feel at some point in their lives – yet, a word which many people are still apprehensive and ashamed to admit to having.
Whilst regular people may see the world for all its vibrance and happiness, depression can distort that view and present you with a negative version of the world which strips any pleasure out of life. Depression can make you feel helpless, irritable, lethargic and can take a brutal beating to your self-esteem, ultimately affecting all aspects of your life. It can make you want to shut off from your family and friends, cause difficulties in your work and personal life and disrupt your sleep.
One of the most important things to remember is that depression can affect anyone and there’s not always a clear cause or trigger. Despite this, admitting you’re feeling depressed is not something you should feel ashamed of. In fact, admitting and coming to terms with your depression is the first step to dealing with your feelings and improving your situation - and we have a few other tips to help you along the way.
Journaling is a fantastic way to identify thinking patterns in your mood change. You can write these thoughts down in a notebook (or why not use Feelmo?!). Begin by writing down how you’re feeling and ask yourself: What were you doing around the time you were feeling this? Who were you with? What were you thinking about? How can you begin to make changes to improve this area of your life? You can refer back to your journal on a regular basis, reflect on what aspects of your life were making you feel positive on a particular day, and use this information to try to turn any negative thoughts you may be having into positive ones.
“The mind is everything – what you think, you become” -Buddah
Sticking to a daily routine is important when you’re suffering from depression as it can lead you to develop bad habits such as poor sleeping patterns (staying up late and sleeping too much), not eating enough and spending hours in bed during the day. Getting yourself in a positive daily routine may help to improve your mood and your lifestyle. Incorporating the above suggestions into your daily routine may help you to take control of your life, and you never know, you might find a new hobby along the way!
It's important to remember that although living with depression is extremely tough, things will get better with time. You may suffer setbacks and feel like things aren't improving, but continuing to make small changes in your life will lead to greater results in the future and you will overcome this.
*Writer's note: Starting from the 1st March, I will be taking part in Mind Charity's 27 27 campaign. 27% of students in the last year have reported a mental health problem while studying at university. Mind Charity is fundraising to help provide better mental health services in universities for students, by holding a 27 miles in 27 days challenge - and I'm taking part!
If you'd like to sponsor me in this challenge, click here and it'll take you to my fundraising page. Any donations are more than appreciated and go towards an amazing charity.
Thank you Yuris Alhumaydy for the brilliant photograph!