For people who are depressed it often takes a lot of time (months to years) to feel better. That means, for your depressed loved one they’ll be living with painful symptoms and need to learn what to do about them.
Here’s a list of some of the challenges your loved one could be dealing with right now and ways to help them deal with them powerfully. This article was written for them so feel free to share it after you read it.
Depressed and waiting to get professional help: Common challenges
CHALLENGE: You don’t want to socialize with anyone
Right now, for you, talking could take too much of effort. It can be extremely stressful when you have to explain what you’re dealing with. Or, defend yourself for not wanting to be social. You could also be suffering from feelings of guilt. You might be thinking you’re a burden to others and you don’t want to put them out by letting them know how bad you feel.
Words from someone who’s been there: Don’t put yourself down for not wanting to be social at this point of your life. It’s okay. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself to be alone if you need to.
What is important though, is that you are as honest as possible (as you feel comfortable being) with people who are closest to you. Be straight with them. Teach them how to communicate with you. Tell them how much time you need to be alone. If you tell them what you are going through when you feel better you won’t have to deal with a trail of broken relationships.
CHALLENGE: Your body aches
Physically your body might be in breakdown. If you feel like you are 100 years old it’s because biologically there could be things happening to you that are causing your body to go into slow motion.
The cause could be stress, which leads to inflammation in the body and tension in the muscles. Or, it could be a neurological issue causing you to have difficulties processing information in the brain. You may also have fibromyalgia.
Words from someone who’s been there: Treat your sore body with physical therapies. Take hot baths. Sit in a sauna or hot a tub. Get a massage. Do whatever exercises you can do to loosen up. This could be anything from stretching, walking, or yoga to running. Find what works for you.
CHALLENGE: You can’t stop yourself from eating
If you’ve developed binge eating disorder it’s quite normal during severe depression. When the body is experiencing pain the brain goes into a survival mode seeking pleasure to help it cope and to keep you alive. When you can’t get happy sometimes food is the only thing that provides you with the pleasure you are craving.
At the neurological level, the brain acts before you take action. So, if you feel powerless with your urges, that is because you kind of are. When the brain is starved of the nutrients it needs to create serotonin, your body craves sugar and carbohydrates.
Words from someone who’s been there: Try to control your eating by staying away from food when it’s not meal time. When you do eat, eat in the company of others. Even though it might be embarrassing, ask others for support to keep food away from you by locking cupboards.
Do your best not to blame yourself if you can’t stop eating. It’s a phase that will pass. If you are gaining weight rapidly you can lose it when you are healthy. Weight comes and goes and it’s under your control. I personally gained 30lbs during my depression and lost it within 2 months during my recovery.
During this time, it’s important to eat a well balanced diet as best you can – carbs, protein, vegetables, fruits and dairy. Avoid eating processed foods. They will make the issue worse.
CHALLENGE: You don’t want to eat
If you have no appetite you may not be eating properly. That’s a major issue if you are trying to get healthy. It’s essential that you eat a well balanced healthy, process-free diet.
Words from someone who’s been there: Ask for support from someone close to you to help you eat. Eat with others if you can. If you really can’t bring yourself to eat, get a shake from a health store. It will help you get the nutrients you need to get better and it takes no effort to make or ingest.
CHALLENGE: Your body is weak but your mind is jumpy
You know what I mean if this is happening to you. You feel like a senior citizen but your brain is skipping from one thing to another. Or, you just find it impossible to concentrate on anything.
Words from someone who’s been there: Busying yourself with a basic task like cleaning a room, playing a simple game, or painting a picture can help. Sometimes talking to someone can help stop the mental chatter. Music is another great thing to put in your ear. You may need to walk around with an ipod and a set of ear phones.
Sometimes nothing helps. The important thing to know is that it will get better. It’s just a phase. If it’s really bad, go to the emergency room. Sometimes physicians will prescribe a temporary sedative medicine to get you through a rough time.
CHALLENGE: Your thinking about killing yourself but you don’t want to have to
When the pain of life is unbearable and you can’t see an end, it’s easy to get hopeless. If can’t stop thinking about suicide you are in an emergency situation. If the thoughts are going as far as to how you would take your life, you are not in a state to even trust yourself.
Words from someone who’s been there: If you are having suicidal thoughts that are persistent and constant the best thing to do is to let someone know. Choose someone you can feel comfortable talking to and who will be able to deal with what you say to them.
Call a crisis line for support. Call 911 for immediate assistance. Don’t think you can wait it out.