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What You Need to Remember if Someone You Love Has Depression

What You Need to Remember if Someone You Love Has Depression

Depression is often misunderstood. Most doctors refer to depression as a disease, or as a disorder. When symptoms of depressions present in a patient, such as loss of appetite, sleeplessness, general sadness, or a desire to withdraw from social situations, doctors rush to prescribe medication to alleviate these symptoms. What many doctors miss is the chance to delve deeper into the underlying conditions that are causing these feeling to exist in the lives of their patients.

Some cases of depression are caused by chemical imbalances and can be treated like a disease. But for many individuals suffering from depression, the form of depression they are experiencing is not best addressed through the use of medication as the primary/sole treatment option.

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The True Causes of Depression

Human beings often become depressed because depression is the logical reaction to the challenges in their lives. Some feel isolated because they have no one to talk to, or hang out with. Others work tirelessly to succeed but receive little or no reward for their efforts. Still, others feel depressed because they see so much suffering in the world, but feel powerless to change anything. It is only logical that such feelings of isolation, failure and helplessness might lead to depression.

Aside from the logical, psychological causes of depression, several environmental factors also cause people to become depressed. Some people who suffer from depression are simply reacting to an imbalance in their lives. Perhaps they are working too much and sleeping too little. Perhaps they are stressed out from too many obligations. Perhaps they are failing to get the right type, or the right amount, of nutrition. Perhaps they are getting old and facing the fact that they are not living the life they truly desire to live. Bodily changes, aging, malnutrition, social pressure, and even nostalgia can all cause people to experience depression. In such cases, using medication alone as a treatment option does not eliminate the root causes of the depression.

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Compassion is Key

Compassion means, “to suffer with.” Every human being needs to feel understood. Take the example of a person who has turned to substance abuse as a method of coping with depression. Over time, the substance abuse turned to addiction, and now the person is in an addiction recovery program. Though this person is going through the process of overcome the addiction, the root causes of the depression that led to the substance abuse still exist. What this person needs is other human beings who can say, “I’ve been there. I know how hard it is. You’re not alone.”

What medication can cure the depression of a young woman who is not being rewarded for her efforts at work? What drug can heal an elderly widower’s sense of social isolation? What prescription will heal the depression of a single father caused by lack of sleep from working three part time jobs? What drug will ease the depression of a hospice worker who sits all day with the dying?

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Depression can be normal, logical, and perhaps even inevitable in certain circumstances. It’s a part of life. What depressed individuals need is compassion from someone who understands, who has been there, who has felt the same feelings, and who can help put things into perspective.

It Can Happen to Anyone

When the famous celebrity Robin Williams ended his own life, many people were surprised that someone so funny could have been depressed. Some people were shocked that someone so famous, with so much money, couldn’t get proper treatment for his depression. Those reactions reveal society’s basic misunderstanding about depression.

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Humor can be an effective coping mechanism, but not all pain can be laughed away. Money is an excellent tool, but it can’t fix an existential crises. Fame is no comfort in the darkest, most lonely moments of the night.

What Can You Do?

If someone you love is suffering from depression, don’t look at them as being solely defined by this, as sadness is a part of the human experience. Few people make it through life without suffering from some form of depression. The best thing you can do to help those who are depressed is to suffer with them; be by their side; let them know that you feel their pain, and that you will stick by them no matter what.

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Paisley Hansen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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