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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 October 16, 2018

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

          If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

          One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

          Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

          In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

          Why you can’t sleep through the night

          The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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          Stress

          If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

          Exposure to blue light before sleep time

          We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

          While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

          Eating close to bedtime

          Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

          Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

          Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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          Medical conditions

          In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

          The vicious sleep cycle

          The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

          Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

          You get a bad night’s sleep
          –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
          –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
          –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

            You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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            How to sleep better (throughout the night)

            To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

            1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

            What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

            Here are a few suggestions:

            • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
            • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
            • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
            • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
            • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

            2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

            What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

            • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
            • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
            • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
            • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

            3. Adjust your sleep temperature

            Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

            Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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            Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

            Sleep better form now on

            Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

            I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

            As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

            Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

            Reference

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