MILD DEPRESSION: HOW TO COPE
It’s normal to be down or depressed at times. But clinical depression is a medical condition. How do you know if your depression is mild or seasonal, as opposed to moderate or severe?
There are multiple types of depression. Clinical depression can be diagnosed after noting multiple symptoms over 2 weeks. Here’s a general test. Grab a pen and paper and write down any symptoms you are experiencing every day, or most of the day, or for at least 2 weeks.
- Sudden change in mood or behavior. Do you find yourself being suddenly confrontational or rebellious? Are you thinking about or planning to running away from home? This is very common among depressed individuals.
- Social isolation. Are you withdrawing from friends? Or perhaps are friends withdrawing from you, due to your change in behavior or attitude?
- Diminished interest in most activities. Are you unusually passive? Do you perceive hobbies you once enjoyed as uninteresting now?
- Change in eating habits. Have you noticed a change in your eating habits? Many experts believe that anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating often coexist with and/or are caused by depression.
- Sleep problems. Are you sleeping too little or too much? Some depressed individuals develop varied sleeping habits, like being up all night and sleeping during the day.
- Decrease in academic performance. Do you have trouble getting along with teachers and peers? Or are you maybe reluctant to go to school at all?
- Risky or self-destructive acts. Do you engage in activities that “cheat death” that show little interest in living? Self-mutilation (such as cutting the skin) may also be a symptom.
- Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt. Are you highly self-critical, feeling worthless, like a total failure, even though you’re not?
- Psychosomatic problems. When no physical cause can be found, headaches, back pain, stomachaches, and physical ailments may indicate underlying depression.
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
How many of these apply to you? If you have multiple symptoms, then you may want to seek help from a qualified professional. Moderate to severe depression is usually managed with medication and counseling.
If you don’t have clinical depression but you’re suffering from mild depression that everyone gets from time to time, then how can you cope? Several things can help you control your thoughts and feelings and improve your emotional outlook. Here are some practical tips:
- Eat healthy meals
- Get sufficient sleep
- Exercise regularly. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain. They can uplift your mood, increase your energy, and improve your sleep.
- If possible, try to recognize triggers and early warning signs of a depressive mood and prepare an achievable plan of action in advance.
- Confide in someone you trust. Have a contact list of people you can call when you’re feeling down.
- Listen to positive and uplifting songs
- Read inspirational sayings and encouraging articles or movies
- Look at photos or mementos that remind you of people who love you
- Read a journal containing your positive thoughts and positive experiences you enjoyed
Non-clinical depression is not uncommon. Many experience it from time to time. You can overcome it. We hope these tips will help.