Columnists

How to deal with depression

SHIKANDA Kawanga.

Analysis: SHIKANDA KAWANGA
THE bravest thing anyone can do is move on at a time when giving up seems to be the only option.
Sadly, others think that being drunk drowns pain but sooner than later realise that the pain can actually swim because immediately after getting sober the problem resurfaces.
The process of concealing pain can cause depression, which is dangerous.
This shows how most people, if not everyone, has wounds that are not visible because they reside on the inside.
Depression drains energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that help to feel better.
It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family.
There are a number of factors that may increase the chances of depression such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Certain medications, personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends, sadness or grief due to death or loss of a loved one among many others can also lead to depression.
Considering the fact that there are various causes of depression, everyone should be alert and worry when they face a decrease in sleep, or suddenly have difficulties in continuing with ordinary work and social activities.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected.
The WHO report states that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide and women are more affected than men.
The good part is there are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression.
But in countries of low income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed.
It is worth noting that people who have gone through adverse life events such as unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma are more likely to develop depression. Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and dysfunction and worsen the affected person’s life situation.
There are interrelationships between depression and physical health. For example, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression and vice versa.
However, prevention programmes have shown that they can reduce depression. Effective community approaches to prevent depression include school-based programmes to enhance a pattern of positive thinking in children and adolescents.
Exercise programmes for the elderly can also be effective in depression prevention.
Dealing with depression requires action, but taking action when depressed can be hard. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do.
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to favourite music, for example, is something that can be done to help conquer depression. This helps the affected person to feel happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.
If depressed one can also look for support from people who make them feel safe and cared for. However, such support persons should be good listeners by being attentive and compassionate and non-judgmental.
However, it’s normal to feel low once in a while, but if one is sad most of the time and it affects their daily life, beware that depression is creeping in and there is need to come up with lifestyle changes.
If one has five of the symptoms listed below, it is important to know that there is need to visit a health specialist because it could be a sign of depression.
•Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
•Weight loss or gain
•Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
•Feeling restless and agitated, or else very sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally
•Being tired and without energy
•Feeling worthless or guilty
•Trouble concentrating or making decisions
•Thoughts of suicide
It is sad that when depressed, it feels like one can never get away from the dark shadow. However, even the most severe depression is treatable.
So, if your depression is keeping you from living the life you want to, don’t hesitate to seek help.
Learning about depression treatment options helps decide which approach is right for one. From therapy to medication to healthy lifestyle changes, there are many effective treatments that can help overcome depression. Feel happy and hopeful again, and reclaim your life.
The author is a photojournalist and writer.

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