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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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