Depression is perhaps the most common form of mental disorder worldwide. An ongoing problem, not a passing one—the feeling is different from mood fluctuations that people regularly experience. This illness consists of episodes during which symptoms last for at least two weeks and can go up to several weeks, months, or even years.
Depression has also been linked to a variety of physical health issues, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic disorders. It also has a high risk of recurrence—at least 50% of individuals who’ve experienced one episode of depression will go on to have more depressive episodes.
But, is it curable?
As with any chronic condition, even though it may recur, treatments are available to reduce the severity of your symptoms, manage your condition, and thus provide the required support.
While there is no complete cure for depression, there are effective treatments that help with recovery. The earlier you start the treatment, the better are your chances of recovery.
We need to keep the conversation around depression going
It’s hard to talk about it because it’s so much more than not feeling well. The initial fear comes from the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness. Talking about a past or present experience with depression can be overwhelming and people decide not to share their struggles to avoid burdening others, being judged or treated differently.
However, talking about depression is the most crucial step in the entire process of recovery. It is generally thought that depression is a sort of weakness and a person can regulate his/her mood, whereas, the truth holds that clinical depression is an illness like any other medical illness that needs to be treated.
Having depression does not mean that a person is incapable or is not making efforts to cope up, instead it means they are in a dire need of help. Depression affects people differently and when at its worst, the symptoms can be crippling. A person can feel completely exhausted and be indifferent about everything.
People dealing with depression choose to bottle it up inside rather than seeking any form of treatment, as it may feel impossible to explain to others the feelings of helplessness inside. The importance of talking about such mental illness is immense.
There are many ways to recovery and each person’s journey is different. Whether you attend self-help groups, speak to a mental health expert, seek medication, or simply speak to your loved ones, the key is to share your feelings. It can help you and people around you to understand what you are going through.
But how can you open up about depression?
It is true that it is never easy to start openly discussing your feelings. You have to make a conscious decision to actively speak about your emotions. This happens when at first you recognize that you have a real concern. Secondly, you should find someone with whom you feel comfortable talking to. Whether it is a psychotherapist or a doctor, it is important to feel comfortable sharing your most intimate feelings with that person, so settle only when it feels right.
The next step is to set realistic goals and expectations. Patience is the key here as treatment takes time and effort. You must allow yourself to find the path that will work best for you without comparing to others.
Find the right treatment and stick to it
In case you are diagnosed with depression, a proper treatment is required in order to get better. Treatment usually includes medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.
Certain forms of depression call for psychotherapy as the first-line treatment, while some people respond better to a combination of psychotherapy and medications.
Psychotherapy involves discussing your problems and feelings with a trained therapist. Your therapist can help detect behaviours and thought patterns by assessing your moods. They can teach you certain exercises to reduce stress and anxiety, and help you develop coping mechanisms to use when you experience the triggers of depression.
Sticking to your treatment plan is of the utmost importance as it can help reduce the risk of recurrence. Though, it is quite easy to get discouraged in the first few weeks of the treatment, persistence helps in overcoming it completely.
Self-care can also be of great help with preventing depression symptoms and recurrences. Furthermore, adequate rest and sleep impacts the health of the body and mind. Following a healthy diet and including regular exercise can increase feel-good chemicals in the brain and are thus important for overall health.
In the end, remember…
Depression is surely challenging, but it can be made easier with the correct treatment from a mental health professional and by following proper coping mechanisms. Most people who engage in the regular treatment definitely get better. Let us together share and spread this message to the millions of people affected by this condition. Let’s talk about depression!