“Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.”
– Dorothy Rowe
Depression, though massively discussed and affecting tens of millions of people worldwide, is widely misunderstood. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that depression does not come in one straight forward, easily recognisable mass-produced package. There are quite a few different forms of depression, as well as different degrees of it’s severity. Then you have the individuals with their unique personalities; not everyone handles, or expresses depression in the same way.
Often, people tend to think it’s simply a “state of feeling sad” or “feeling sorry for yourself.” A state which you could easily snap out of if you just “pulled yourself together,” or “tried thinking more positively.” The reality is, if it were that simple, if all it took were some positive thinking and stiff upper lip, then it wouldn’t be a categorised as a mental health issue.
In some cases, if left unchecked, untreated or unrealised, depression can get to such a point where suicide appears to be the only solution. For these sufferers, medication is often prescribed to break the thought pattern and relieve the person on a chemical level. Chemicals and hormones have almost everything to do with how we’re feeling. Most long-term sufferers will have a major imbalance within their bodies, which can be caused by a number of things.
The diagnosis, however, is for a qualified doctor to determine, and you should refrain from self-diagnosing or jumping to conclusions for those around you. Having said that, when you reach a certain age and you know a thing or two, it’s sort of obvious. Anxiety, depression, phobias and such can not be ignored, and when you suffer from them, you’ll know.
If you’re interested to read more on depression, what it is exactly and all the statistics visit the Healthline website.
This is where the real struggle lies. It’s a tough decision both to prescribe antidepressants, and to accept it as a patient. On one hand, as a sufferer, you want more than anything to be rid of your disease before it’s rid of you, on the other hand, antidepressants could make it all worse. You’ll find that in the medical world, the best doctors in practice will refrain from prescribing you any powerful pharmaceuticals unless you absolutely need them. Even then, they try to find alternate methods to help you cope and work towards getting you to a healthy sate.
The first concern with antidepressants, is that they become addictive. Once you’ve felt a relief of the symptoms, you don’t want to experience life without the medication again, and it becomes a cycle of dependance. Then you have the side effects. The side effects of antidepressants will vary depending on the drug, the dose, and of course, the person taking them. Some very common side effects are:
- Brain fog (feeling lazy / hazy / not totally with it)
- Difficulty focusing mentally (pulling your thoughts together), and visually (blurred vision)
- Fatigue / drowsiness
- Strange dreams
- Dry mouth
- Reduced sexual drive (reduced ability to orgasm, maintain or achieve an erection)
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Suicidal thoughts
This can often exasperate any issues which were already present before taking the meds. Throughout treatment, and privy to the bad reactions, the doctor may want to either completely change the type of antidepressants, mix them, and/or play around with the dosage. The rough journey of getting the prescription “perfect” can leave you with more issues than those you started with. However, it’s also true that patients can get worse before getting better. The scary fact is, people still kill themselves whilst in fact on these drugs. The horrible reality is that antidepressants can actually produce suicidal thoughts as a seriously ironic side effect. That’s not just antidepressants either, that’s a side effect of quite a few drugs on the market today. So is this a viable cure? It doesn’t seem like it.
Whether people going through mental health issues want to risk an even more painful journey to get better is where decision making can become trying. My personal views depend on the degree of mayhem which an individual is suffering with. I think that extreme cases call for drastic measures, and it’s not always fair, or fully understood how or why somebody can end up so messed up. We just know that it happens. When speaking strictly about depression, I’d say, from experience and research, for the majority of people, an alternative (holistic) lifestyle and a good therapist can produce a better and more sustainable outcome than the drugs can.
Taking the holistic approach to this common and unfortunate disease which is plaguing our nations is the best treatment for achieving long-term relief without the use of harsh antidepressants. If depression is something you’ve been dealing with your whole life, or even a number of years, simply learning to cope through the hard times is enough to get you through to the other end. The majority of life consists of learning how to deal with it. That goes for anybody. It’s not easy, and for those of us who are dealt mental illness as part of their cards have to work even harder to maintain that balance. It sucks, but it does make you stronger.
Holistic lifestyle tips to think on, and implement:
1.) Do some soul searching.
2.) Write down how you feel.
Writing is therapeutic and can help you identify and compartmentalise your thoughts and feelings.
3.) Take it one day at a time.
The future is subject to change, as are you.
4.) Slow progress is a whole lot better than no progress.
Don’t stress about where you are in life.
5.) Pick your battles.
Not everything is worthy of your precious energy, you only get so much of it per day.
6.) Treat yourself!!!!!!!!!
To a massage, or a damn good meal at your favourite restaurant. Why not both?
7.) Learn your triggers, and be mindful of them.
For more insight on mindfulness, take a peak at our ‘Mindfulness’ course here.
8.) Pay attention to your body.
It tells you everything you need to know.
9.) Don’t keep everything bottled up.
We are hard-wired to share. Denying yourself of that basic need will mess you up.
10.) Trust yourself.
Believe it or not, you can do it, and your instincts are there to guide you.
11.) Seek counselling.
Somebody trained to help you deal with your condition may be the best thing you ever did for yourself.
12.) Do your research.
Make sure you’re informed of your options, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. You are entitled to think for yourself.
13.) Go easy on yourself.
Life’s hard enough as it is, don’t add to your obstacles.
14.) Make decisions that your future self will thank you for.
15.) Reach out to other sufferers.
You’re not alone.
16.) Nourish your body.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food.” – Hippocrates, (Father of Modern Medicine)
18.) Exercise everyday.
Yoga is good, walking is good, dancing is happiness in movement. 🙂
Sleep is our most natural healer.
20.) Love your body.
For it’s carried you this far.
21.) Cherish your mind.
It’s where your soul lives. Fill it with good things.
22.) Heal in time.
Let time do it’s thing.
23.) Be patient with your life.
Good things can take a while to happen, great things may need longer to stew.
Sources: Web MD
“You have the power to say: This is NOT how my story will end.”
The School of Natural Health Sciences offers a variety of courses to help people with depression, such as Psychotherapy & Counselling, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Meditation and more – view our portfolio of 57 holistic health therapies.