You vs. Depression: The Showdown

Depression is a word used often when someone has a bad break-up or feels stressed about a bad day at work. Feeling grief, lonely or sad when going through trying times is all part of being human. Everyone gets the blues but knowing if what you’re going through is serious is important. Here are some signs and symptoms, from websites Forbes and Healthline, to see if you’re going through a moment of depression and solutions to help you get better.

Hopeless Outlook:Having a helpless view on life is the most common symptom. Perhaps you might feel worthless or wondering “why me” a lot. 

What to do:Doubt yourself if you’re feeling hopeless. You’ve been wrong before; you could be wrong right now. Try experimenting with your optimism: go exercise, see friends, do things you don’t want to do but you know will be good for you in the end. 

Lost Interest:A withdrawal from activities you were looking forward to, concerts, hanging out with friends or social get-togethers, is another sign. Even losing interest in sex is common. 

What to do:Go with the flow. If you lose interest in something and then days later start to desire it again, go with the flow. Try to focus on things that actually interest you and go step by step. 

Increased Fatigue:Sleeping a lot or not sleeping at all is a sign of depression. Being tired from overworking or a lack of sleep is not beneficial in any way. 

What to do:Yoga is a great way to boost your energy, according to WebMD. Drink plenty of water as well and limit your caffeine intake. Focus on eating more carbs and protein in your diet. 

Anxiety:Feeling nervous, panicky or tense is a symptom of depression. Depression doesn’t cause anxiety, but they do occur together frequently, according to Healthline. 

What to do:First, you need to take a deep breath and accept the fact you’re anxious. It is a feeling like any other feeling. Visualize a calm place and focus on right now. 

Changes in Weight or Appetite:This symptom varies with each person. Overeating and gaining weight or skipping meals and drastically losing weight are major signs of depression, according to Healthline. 

What to do:If you’re overeating, make small changes. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Start by eliminating some bad food from your diet: fatty foods, sugary sweets, sodas. Cool off your cravings and find a healthier snack. If you’re not eating, start small. Rice is filling and cheap to make as well. Go out and get some fast food, but don’t make it a habit. It’ll also help if you’re feeling introverted. 

Looking at Death:Suicide is commonly associated with depression. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 47,173 Americans died by suicide in 2017, making it 10th leading cause of death. 

What to do:Death is never the answer. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You are not alone. You may feel like the world is on your shoulders and one more ounce of pressure will push you off the edge, but you are valid and loved. 

Anger:Anger is a hard one to decipher, but if you get angry over the simplest of things, such as your favorite soda running out at the vending machine or the batteries in your remote dying, that’s a sign of depression. 

What to do:Redirect that anger to productivity. Take some deep breaths and give yourself a timeout to gather your feelings. Perhaps even consider taking anger management classes. 

Substance Abuse:Drinking alcohol excessively or using hard drugs is a sign of depression. You might be abusing the substances and not even know it. 

What to do:Admit to yourself you have a problem. Talk to someone close to you and find the closest Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It is never wrong to ask for help. 

Excessive Shopping:Compulsive buying to make yourself feel better is a sign of depression. “Retail therapy” only solves the problem for a small matter of time. 

What to do:Ask yourself if you want or need the potential items before making a purchase. Make a budget as well: Divide your money into bills, savings, groceries and spending. 

Trouble Concentrating and Remembering:If you’re having a hard time remembering things at school or work, this might be a symptom of depression. Driving can definitely become dangerous if you’re having problems focusing. 

What to do:Unplug yourself from any electronic devices for half an hour and take a relaxing break. Take a nap and work on some brain exercises such as word-searches. 

By all means, if you feel like any of these describe you and your current situation, ask for help. Call the hotline or find a doctor to help you medically.

Del Mar College counselors offer free services as well to students if you’re feeling any of these symptoms. They are located on the East Campus in the Harvin Center on the second floor. To schedule an appointment, call 361-698-1586 or email dmccounseling@delmar.edu.

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