What is it and what can you do about it?
36% of people living with limb loss experience depression.
It is the most diagnosed mental illness in America, and at the same time, one of the least admitted to.
What can it look like...Here are some symptoms.
Emotionally - you may feel hopeless, worthless, guilty, angry, anxious and irritable. You lose motivation.
Intellectually - You think negatively, become pessimistic, suffer memory loss, have difficulty concentrating, grow indecisive and entertain destructive thoughts.
Physically - You lack energy, feel fatigue, and tired. Socially, we withdraw and isolate or become overly dependent on others.
Spiritually - You feel estranged and cut off from God as did Moses, Job, Elijah and Jonah.
To escape depression you must take the first step and begin to ‘unlearn negative thinking patterns.’
Motivation and hope can make all the difference.
The best fight against depression is taking a stand against it.
Allow faith to operate. Faith is more than believing something; it is action on what you believe.
If your dream has been shattered, dream a new dream.
God still has a plan for your life! Stop surviving and start thriving!
Refuse to let depression diminish your life any longer.
Start a routine - If you are having symptoms of depression you need a routine. Depression takes away any structure you have in life. One day seems to just melt into the next day and so on. Develop a gentle routine; a daily schedule will help get you back on track, this maybe from doing the dishes to taking out the trash to folding clothes. Start out small and work up to larger, more responsible duties.
Setting some small goals – If you’re depressed you probably do not feel like you can accomplish much, if any thing, this in turn makes you feel less about yourself and you get into a vicious spiral heading for an even lower self esteem. This attaches itself nicely to “start a routine.” If you set some goals, such as dishes, trash, folding clothes, if you accomplish them you will feel better about your self. Even if your goal is to accomplish something every other day will be better than nothing. When you have reached these goals for a few days or so, set new more challenging goals.
Challenge your negative thoughts –obviously, a lot of the work in fighting your depression will be mental. There will be a lot of things that you will need to change in the way you think. People who are depressed tend to go to the worst possible conclusions. The next time you’re feeling bad about yourself, use logic as a natural treatment. For instance, you may feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You may feel worthless, but if you think about it for a while you will be able to make a list of whom you are important to. Even if you cannot come up with anyone at the moment you are worth something to your self. It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control.
Do something new – People who are depressed tend to get in a rut. Try each day to push your-self and do something different, something new. Go outside, go to a park, try and read a chapter in a new book. When you challenge yourself to do something different, chemicals in your brain will change. Trying something new alters the level of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.
Get enough sleep – Depression can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep and not getting enough sleep causes more depression. Here are a few things that you can do, some small changes to your lifestyle. Trying not to nap. Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom, such as no computer and no TV. Cover any clocks or DVR lights that may be distracting you when you awake.
Eat healthy – Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a magic diet to fix depression? Unfortunately, that has not happened, yet. However, watching what you eat is a good idea. For some, depression tends to make people overeat. Getting in control of your eating will help you feel better.
Try having fun – if you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy or do things that you used to enjoy before you were depressed. What if nothing seems fun anymore? That is just another symptom of depression; you have to keep trying anyway. Fake it until you make it!
Stick to your treatment plan - Don't skip sessions with your therapist or appointments, even if you don't feel like going. Even if you're feeling well, resist any temptation to skip your medications. If you stop, depression symptoms may come back, and you could also experience withdrawal-like symptoms.
Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs – Some people will argue that alcohol and drugs will lessen depressive symptoms, this is just not so. Alcohol is a depressant and generally will make symptoms worse and your depression harder to treat. Talk with your doctor or therapist if you believe you may have an alcohol or substance abuse problem.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline