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How Does It Feel To Have Depression? And How Can You Overcome It?

How Does It Feel To Have Depression? And How Can You Overcome It?

I’ve never personally suffered from depression, but my sister suffered from it for years and still today struggles with anger, frustration and lack of self-belief in anything she does. I chose to write this article to get a better understanding of this mental health issue, I guess you could call it, and to help those who have never experienced it first- or secondhand to begin to understand what it’s like and hopefully help someone some day in the future. I have also focused on the words of those who have suffered or are suffering from depression, rather than present my interpretations of their experiences.

I genuinely hope that after reading this and the other articles mentioned you will understand what it’s like to have depression, and also understand not only how difficult it is to live with, but to overcome as well.

What is it actually like to live with depression?

Here’s a list of descriptions or symptoms from those I know who have suffered from depression, from those currently suffering from it and some from my own research. A number of these quotes were taken from a Huffington Post article by Danny Baker, see the full article and more quotes here:

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1. Concentration is difficult. It’s hard to focus, remember or make decisions.
2. Change in sleep – either too much or not enough.
3. Don’t want to nor enjoy eating. A complete loss of appetite.
4. A feeling like you can’t do anything right.
5. Can’t see a future ahead and there are no solutions to any problems you have.
6. You just don’t enjoy life – it’s an effort to smile.
7. Don’t feel like you exist properly in the world. Have a feeling of separation.
8. Constantly feeling like you’re drowning.
9. Can sometimes feel like your mind is replaced by another that makes you feel numb and worthless.
10. A loss of who you are.
11. It drains all the energy from you … you feel like you can’t do anything.
12. Nothing feels, tastes or smells right.
13. Feeling and believing that you just don’t matter.
14. Loss of desire to live your life.
15. Combination of negative emotions: fear, despair, shame, numbness, worthlessness and sometimes guilt.
16. It’s like having tunnel vision. You can only see the bad, overwhelmed with negativity with no reason why.
17. “Cancer of the soul.”
18. Living in a constant fog-like state.
19. The feeling of being completely alone while surrounded by people.
20. Sleep feels like your only escape.
21. Feeling like your mind is paralyzed – numb.
22. It’s like silence – isolation in a room full of people you know.
23. Like being trapped in darkness.
24. Depression can sometimes be a voice in your head that can talk, shout, taunt and chant negative words and phrases at you, trying to convince you that you’re not good enough.
25. Like having everything that was ever good in your life stripped from you.
26. “Depression is a thief – it takes everything and leaves you to die.”
27. Feeling separated from yourself, like watching yourself from the outside.
28. Depression is genuine self-hate with no reason why.
29. Feeling like every morning you’d wished you’d died in your sleep.
30. Like treading water with no energy – a constant battle to keep afloat.

How can depression be treated or overcome?

It goes without saying that living with depression is extremely hard, but overcoming it is even more difficult. There are countless forms of drugs that can be prescribed to someone suffering from depression; even those with anxiety disorders are given forms of antidepressants. Medication is sometimes a way forward for some individuals, but many prefer to first try natural remedies. These have proven to work wonders for people and are without a doubt worth trying. Check out this article written by someone who has overcome depression using natural remedies.

Here are just a few natural remedies to give you an idea of what is available, but obviously, make any treatment decisions in consultation with a medical professional:

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1. Routine
Depression can make it hard to do anything. Days, weeks and months can roll into one another. Establishing a routine, no matter how small, can help get you back on track and build up your days again.

2. Goal setting
Being able to accomplish or even imagine accomplishing something is extremely difficult, but in order to have self-belief again you need to be able to see your progress. Start off small – and I mean small! Something like sitting down for a few minutes in your garden with a cup of tea, reading a page or two of a book, or even just setting a goal to wash the dishes twice a week.

3. Eat right
There’s a saying, “When you eat good, you feel good,” and trust me it’s 100% true. While eating a specific diet won’t fix depression completely, it can have a huge impact and is a good place to start. Treat your body right, give it the right foods and it will reward you. Again, focus on making small changes; don’t try too much too soon. Take it one step at a time.

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4. Exercise
It’s often been said that exercise is one of the best free antidepressants out there! Exercise releases endorphins (those feel-good chemicals). A 20-minute walk can have an incredible effect on brain activity and can help change the perspective you have on yourself and what’s around you. It may not be something you want to do, but it is definitely something you need to do. Force yourself to give it a try – make sure it’s something you like doing though!

5. Sleep
Getting into a routine, exercising and eating right should naturally help your quality of sleep. Try waking up and going to sleep at the same time so your body gets used to the time it’s meant to sleep. Avoid using electronics at night, like your phone, tablet, computer or TV. Try to only associate your bed with sleeping and make it a relaxing place for you to go each night.

6. Get enough vitamin D
By that I don’t mean take supplements, I mean the sun. Due to our lifestyles we don’t spend half as much time outside as we should. Simply being outdoors can help boost your overall mood. So try it! Go outside, relax, take a deep breath and just appreciate the outdoors.

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7. Try to find something you enjoy
I understand that this would require a lot of energy that you may feel you don’t have and you may feel as if there isn’t anything that you’d enjoy, but you just have to keep trying.

8. Try meditation
This practice can work wonders. It will help reduce your stress levels and help stop negative thinking. It’ll change your mind and in turn change your life.

9. Avoid alcohol
Unfortunately, this is a road many take to cope with depression. The problem is that alcohol is a depressant and it will, in time, cause more long-term harm than good. Try to avoid this as much as you can, if not completely!

10. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help in any situation. There are many people who have experienced and are currently experiencing depression that are out there to help. There are plenty of outlets you can turn to: family, friends, doctors, help lines, support groups, the list goes on.

The step that you need to take before any of these is making that decision to help yourself. It may look and feel like an impossibility, but trust me when I say you’re strong enough to beat it and you don’t have to do it alone.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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