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How to Spot the Warning Signs of Depression

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By Jane Moore
January 24, 2017

Depression is a tricky thing; it can creep up when we least expect it and make us feel completely out of sorts, to the point that we don’t even recognize ourselves. Sometimes, it comes after a big life event. Other times, it pops up because of a genetic blip we didn’t even know we had. Whatever the reason, it’s important to try to understand the nature of depression, recognize the warning signs, and find healthy ways to cope with it.

Because depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, knowing how to recognize the onset of it is imperative. It’s different than having a bad week or being sad because of a breakup or a fight with a friend. Clinical depression is a very serious thing, and it can take a toll on emotions, physical health, and the way we perform at work or school. It can also affect relationships, in part because sometimes significant others don’t understand how to help.

If you have been feeling a sudden lack of energy, have isolated yourself from friends and family, can’t find joy in things that once brought you pleasure, have had a decreased sex drive or sudden mood swings, or sleep too much or too little, you might have depression. The first step is to ask yourself hard questions and answer them honestly.

Here are some of the best ways to deal with the onset of depression.

Consult a doctor

Before you do anything, call a doctor. It’s up to you whether you want to pursue medication as a line of treatment, but a medical professional can certainly guide you in that process. If medication isn’t right for you, consider therapy or counseling.

Get in a workout

Taking in some fresh air and getting in daily exercise might be the last thing you want to do, especially when depression makes you lethargic, but push yourself to get up and get moving. Exercise can release hormones in the brain that make you feel happy and energetic, even when your body disagrees, and it can also give you a sense of accomplishment.

Spend time with an animal

Animals–especially dogs and horses– can be enormously therapeutic for individuals with mood disorders. If you can’t have a pet, consider working with animals by volunteering at a shelter or local farm.

Create a circle of support

For many, depression creates a feeling of self-loathing or shame, and it may make you want to disassociate yourself from friends and family. However, it’s better for you in the long run to have a strong circle of support. The people who love you are the ones who will be there when you need to talk, when you’re feeling low, when nothing makes sense and you feel you can’t go on. Don’t be afraid to open up to them. You might be surprised at how many people you know who can relate to what you’re going through.

Do things that make you happy

It’s easy for us to lose interest in things we once enjoyed once depression takes over, but there may be hobbies you enjoyed years ago and haven’t attempted in a while that will make you feel at peace now. Get creative and try drawing, singing, or writing. Pick a new recipe on Pinterest and cook a meal just for yourself.

About the Author: Jane Moore
Jane lives in Texas and believes in the healing power of travel. She loves exploring unfamiliar places and writing about her experiences. She found Parenting Journey so helpful that she thought of contributing to the great content of the site and sharing her thoughts on coping with mental health disorders and supporting loved ones with mental health disorders.