You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that January is the busiest month of the year for us. Studies have shown that January 21st (this Monday) is the most depressing day of the year. People are found to be struggling with debt and disappointment and the weather doesn’t help.
We don’t like that this is the busiest time of the year – because while we enjoy seeing you, we don’t want to see you suffer.
Taking care of your mental health means understanding what depression looks like, how to take preventative measures, and how to respond when you notice it starting to creep in.
Types of Depression:
There are many different types of “depressive” states:
- Major Depression
- Bipoal Depression
- Premenstrual Dysphoria
- Dysthymia (Persistent Depression)
There is also something called “Adjustment Disorder”. This is when someone is struggling to an adjusment in their lives. It can be accompanied with tearfulness, hopelessness, overwhelm, etc.
Each type of depression is different and has a spectrum of severity. The common symptoms of each include:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest
- Difficulty concerntrating
- Low energy and fatigue
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Possibility of suicidal thoughts
According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. You are not alone.
Depression looks different for everyone:
You cannot always tell that someone is depressed by looking at them. It really does look different for everyone.
People that are depressed can have
- good grades
- a smiling face
- a good laugh with their friends
People with depressed might also:
- Struggle to get out of bed
- Lay on the couch all day
- Sleep too much
- Toss and Turn
- Be agitated
- Act out
Depression might feel like:
- Being in darkness
- Sinking beneath the surface
- Pressure on your chest
- Moments of happiness
- Caring about nothing
Depression is different for everyone. Not everyone outwardly shows signs of depression. Not everyone tries to hide their depression. Now matter how you are expressing it, if you are feeling it then it is real.
Try not to minimize your experience just because it looks different for you than it looks for someone else. And, don’t allow others to minimize it either. You know if you are struggling – you are the expert of your own mind and body.
Coping Skills for Depression
- Pay attention to negative thought cycles. Catch yourself have negative thoughts and try to challenge these thoughts with more realistic and neutral thought patterns.
- Use affirmations. Leave yourself notes that say: “You are worthy”, “You are loved”, “You are wanted”.
- Take care of your body – eat healthy foods, go for walks and get fresh air, go to the gym, stretch your body, avoid sugars and greasy foods, drink a lot of water.
- Cut back on alcohol intake – we cannot say this strongly enough. Alcohol IS a depressant. So, if you are feeling depressed it will only make the feeling worse if you are drinking – even in small doses.
- Use mindfulness techniques. Visualize your depression as a color, object, or being something outside of yourself. When it hits hard, remember that this is a wave taking you under but that you will find air again.
- Reach out to your friends and family for help. Ask people to come over or go somewhere to have company. Open up to your partner. Talk to a therapist
- Practice other forms of self care like bubble baths, drinking a nice cup of tea, buying plants and flowers. Let natural light in. Keep your space tidy.
- Be around animals.
If even these things are hard to do on your own, you might need a professional to guide and support you. You CAN do these things – it just takes a second person to support you in navigating it in a way that is less overwhelming.
As always, we are here for you. If you are in the Philadelphia area, we can schedule an appointment or even give you a referral to another office, if you prefer. If you are outside of Philadelphia, we are happy to support you in finding a therapist in your area. Please reach out, we want to help.
If your depression is making you feel suicidal or homicidal you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline or The Crisis Textline. They want to help you as well. You can also go to your local ER, they will keep you safe and support you in finding resources.
16 Day Mental Health Wellness Challenge
We have put together this calendar to support you in gaining insight and developing habits that improve mental health.
Article by Emma Carpenter, MS
Emma is a therapist intern at our office under supervision with Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT.
Emma supports her clients in healing from the difficult and often painful symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as issues with major life transitions.
Emma supports the people she works with in her cozy office in downtown Philadelphia, PA