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People Who Suffer From Depression Tell Us How It’s Really Like

People Who Suffer From Depression Tell Us How It’s Really Like

Unless you have suffered from depression, it is impossible to know what it’s really like. Even if you grew up with someone who suffered from it, you don’t know what it’s like to be depressed. You just know what it’s like to live with someone who is depressed.

From the outside looking in, depression looks simple. It looks like a prolonged period of sadness and negativity caused by something obvious or tangible. For happy people, it seems like their friend or family member is choosing to let themselves be dragged down by something rather than fighting for their own happiness.

The truth is that depression is so many things and because of this no one understands it. The best neuroscientists in the world still don’t know for sure what causes depression. They don’t know how it works, why it is so different for everyone or how to cure it.

Thus, the only thing you can rely on is how people experience it. Here is what depression is really like according to those who live with it:

Depression Is Not a Choice

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    If you’re not depressed, you might think that depressed people have a choice in the matter. It seems like you can choose whether you want to get over it or fight it. But the truth is that depression is not something you choose. It doesn’t matter if you’re strong or privileged, depression can hit you whether it makes sense or not.

    In an interview with Elle, Miley Cyrus opened up about how people reacted to her depression: “I’m the most antimedication person, but some people need medicine, and there was a time where I needed some too. So many people look at [my depression] as me being ungrateful, but that is not it—I can’t help it.”

    Depression Is Not Sadness

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      Feeling down or sad is not the same as being depressed. Depression affects your whole body. It’s not just your mind that is difficult but your whole body reacts.

      In a tweet, @suxicidal says, “#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs when simple tasks like getting out of bed, going out, eating, sleeping or showering become a mission.”

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      Life with depression feels less like a gloomy day and more like a Sisyphean effort. Some people struggle to find the mental and physical will to get up and go to the bathroom and perform other necessary functions. That is more than being upset.

      When your whole body is telling you “no” almost every single day, you’re not just sad. You’re depressed. You are not trying to overcome obstacles. You are trying to free climb Everest.

      Depression Is a Daily Challenge

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        Depression is something you wake up with every day.

        Certainly, some days are better than others. Not everyone who is depressed feel that every single day drags them down further. Similarly, a single good day won’t turn their depression around either. In fact, @roxiqt tweeted that “#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs when you have one good day, people assume you are cured and should be better now. But that’s not how it works.”

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        This sentiment begs the question: does depression ever get easier?  The answer is no.

        Sofia Hansen, a Quora user, said “I feel like people often fail to mention the guilt, shame and how doing “simple” tasks as talking to a friend is exhausting, and that not everyone has the energy to wear a mask.”

        Depression Is Different for Everyone

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          Scientists don’t know what causes depression in different people. Some reports suggest our increasing use of electronics, such as smartphones, which have already been linked to infertility, are the cause of the disorder. Part of this confusion is because people describe their depression so differently. People experience different symptoms depending on their brains, their personal lives and the kind of depression their facing. However, there is one thing that most people can agree on and J.K. Rowling says it perfectly:

          “Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced… It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.”

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          Depression is not about being sad or having a series of bad days. Rather, depression is something that hits you like a truck, sometimes without warning. It is not a mix of sadness or happiness. In fact, for some people, it is the negation of all feeling. Depression is not a choice because if given the option, no one would willingly choose depression.

          Next time you think you know what it is like to be depressed, take a step back. Because until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you have no idea how hard it is struggle everyday against something as crippling as depression.

          Featured photo credit: ryan melaugh via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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