Am I depressed or just feeling down? And what to do! by Sharon Cady

This week I have asked our counselor on staff to be a guest blogger. Sharon Cady is an outstanding team member and brilliant in the counseling room.

Am I depressed or just feeling down?

What’s the difference?  We all experience normal ups and downs based on circumstances.  Feeling down needs attention and qualifies as depression when one experiences more than 4 of these symptoms most every day for longer than 2 weeks straight:

-Depressed mood (sad, empty) most of day, every day.

-Noticeably disinterest in things that are usually enjoyed.

-Significant weight loss, significant appetite loss or increased appetite.

-Disturbed sleep almost every night.

-Fatigue, loss of energy.

-Feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt.

-Attempts to isolate from other people.

-Difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness.

-Noticeably lethargy or increased agitation.

-Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide thoughts (even brief thoughts).

**So if you find you are experiencing more than 4 of these symptoms, or are experiencing the last symptom noted, I encourage you to contact a professional counselor and your medical doctor.

Are there some things I can do?

If one is feeling down and can’t seem to shake it, there are some things that can be done that are likely to help.  It is helpful to know that regardless of why one is depressed (circumstances, grief, chronic pain, PMS, genetics), it always involves chemicals.  So we are attempting to use things that impact and change those chemicals.

  1. Physical- MOVEMENT. Increased movement is continually linked to improving mood.  Walking is one the easiest ways to improve mood.  If needed, begin slowly with 5 minutes several times a day.  It is recommended that one have 30 minutes of movement per day for 4-5 days per week.  Most people who feel down, do not FEEL like moving but it is imperative to include it in one’s schedule.
  2. Limit caffeine and sugar.  Both have the potential to increase irritability. Increase fruits, vegetables and protein.
  3. Emotional: Begin a list of things that you are grateful for.  Begin with very specific things: hot cup of coffee in the morning, sunshine on the leaves, and smile from a stranger.
  4. Listen to self-talk and correct the judgments you make about yourself.  Negative judgments are more common with depression and they have a cyclical effect causing more depression.  Replace with comments like:
    1. I am going to be okay
    2. This will pass and I will feel better
  5. Spiritual: Spend time meditating on scripture that is encouraging. Suggestions include: Phil. 4: 6-9, Psalms 91, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalms 23
  6. Ask others to pray for you.
  7. Social:  Push yourself to be with other people in spite of not feeling social. Look for places to laugh.  Intentionally smile often.
  8. Avoid lying in bed during the day.  Limit lying down to nighttime.  Avoid hours of TV.

Interested in counseling? Contact Sharon here.

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