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Depression: Symptoms & Coping Strategies

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Depression (part of the major depressive disorders), defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) is a “negative affective state, ranging from unhappiness and discontent to an extreme feeling of sadness, pessimism and despondency, that interferes with daily life.”

Depression, like any other mental health challenge, is characterized by a list of symptoms but may look different from one person to another. One individual who experiences depression might be the life of the party everywhere they go, while another individual who experiences depression might seem tired and sad to others. Depressive symptoms vary and individuals deal with symptoms differently as well.

Depression symptoms may include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain unrelated to diet)
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

 
Depression is amongst one of the most common mental health challenges in our world today. Life has its obstacles and as humans, we can only do so much to keep up. Many life transitions, changes and traumas may contribute to the onset and ongoing experience of depression. It is also important to note that symptoms of depression does not necessarily mean a diagnosis of depression and that depression can be situational to what might be occurring within our life.

There is a bright side! Depression is also among the most manageable mental health challenges. Supports vary depending on how severe/intense the depression is.

Common Depression Treatments Include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – (type of psychotherapy)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – (type of psychotherapy)
  • Antidepressants (medication)
  • Neurofeedback/Biofeedback

Some natural remedies:

  • Exercise: exercise can increase the body’s production of endorphins, hormones that improve mood.
  • Set limits for yourself: this will help you in keeping track of your tasks without feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Practice positive affirmations: this will help your brain begin to think positively rather than negatively, eventually leading to you believing your affirmations. 
  • Spend time in nature: can help with boosting your moods and feelings of self-worth.
  • Eating Healthy Foodsresearch has shown correlation between moods and the foods we eat. Some food groups help in the production and increase of serotonin levels (which helps you feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer).

Before you go, here is a poem called Sadness by Eric Hanson:

They say happiness will find you,

But I think sadness will find you too,

It sneaks up on you in darkness,

Just when you think you’ve made it through,

It opens holes in what was solid ground,

The kind you never know are there,

Until you go to take another step,

And find you’re standing over the air,

The world around you passes by,

In blurs of colour and sound,

Nothing around you making sense,

As you continue your plummet down,

You can’t remember how it started,

And you don’t know when it will end,

But you know that you’d give anything,

To stand up on your feet again,

Sadness is that feeling,

When the falling doesn’t stop,

And it saps your life of meaning,

And of the good things that you’ve got,

So when you finally hit rock bottom,

And you look back up at the sky,

What you once had seems so far away,

The only thing left to do is cry,

People all yell out “save yourself”,

Calling things about “happiness” and “hope”

But they’re too busy with their lives to realise,

It’d be a lot quicker if they let down a rope.

If you’re ready to get started with therapy, you can book an appointment or free consultation with a therapist using the buttons below!

References:

Written by: Liza AL-Nakash, HBSC, Neuroscience Specialist

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