Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Depression Bites!  It is an invisible issue so people have a tendency to think its just people who are lazy.  Depression is debilitating to many people.  I am currently struggling to get through seasonal depression.  Part of me wants to go in and get more medication.  The other part of me (the one who hates taking all the meds due to my other medical issues) wants to figure out how to beat it on my own.  It’s an uphill battle and everyday I start back at the beginning.  All progress (if any) from the day before is lost.

I know I need to get up and get something, anything done but you just don’t have the will to get started.  You just want to sleep and lay there.  You don’t want to get up and go see your friends and there are days you barely make it into the shower.  In my head I make grand plans, but they never happen.  They fall to the wayside because the ugly depression beastie is not letting go.  For me, my seasonal depression is at its worst on grey and rainy days.  Grey days are when I struggle to just take a shower.  On days that its sunny I may only take a short nap and actually get up and do my hair and go to the store.

Last year I started a weight loss program in the spring when my seasonal depression was lightening up. It helped that my bff also started at the same time.  I had monthly appointments and I very rarely miss an appointment even with my depression.  I don’t want to pay a fee if I miss it.  Well, I managed to lose 35 lbs.  I was thrilled!  I felt better and my general depression seemed to be better.  I was interested in more things and actually got up to do them.  Everything was great until December.

December is a time when it’s just too cold to do much outside and with shorter days there is less time for sun shine.  I have gained back 10 lbs in 2 months.  I’m not even hungry but I eat. Yes, I am an emotional eater.  The only way to stop it is to not have the comfort foods I like around the house.  I always choose the no candy aisle at the grocery store so I don’t get tempted to have some chocolate (ok, more than one chocolate).

Want to know more about depression?

Emotional Symptoms

The primary symptoms of depression are a sad mood and/or loss of interest in life. Activities that were once pleasurable lose their appeal. Patients may also be haunted by a sense of guilt or worthlessness, lack of hope, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression Symptoms: Physical

Depression is sometimes linked to physical symptoms. These include:

  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia, especially early morning waking
  • Excessive sleep

Depression Symptom: Appetite

Changes in appetite or weight are another hallmark of depression. Some patients develop increased appetite, while others lose their appetite altogether. Depressed people may experience serious weight loss or weight gain.

Impact on Daily Life

Without treatment, the physical and emotional turmoil brought on by depression can derail careers, hobbies, and relationships. Depressed people often find it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. They turn away from previously enjoyable activities

Depression: Who’s at Risk?

Anyone can become depressed, but many experts believe genetics play a role. Having a parent or sibling with depression increases your risk of developing the disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to become depressed.

Seasonal Depression

If your mood matches the season – sunny in the summer, gloomy in the winter – you may have a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The onset of SAD usually occurs in the late fall and early winter, as the daylight hours grow shorter. Experts say SAD affects up to 3% of the U.S. population, or about 9 million people, mainly in the northern part of the country.

Postpartum Depression

The “baby blues” strikes as many as three out of four new mothers. But nearly 12% develop a more intense dark mood that lingers even as their baby thrives. This is known as postpartum depression, and the symptoms are very similar to those of major depression. An important difference is that the baby’s well-being is also at stake. A depressed mother may have trouble enjoying and bonding with her infant.

Depression in Children

Depression clouds the days of one in every 40 American kids. It interferes with the ability to play, make friends, and complete schoolwork. Symptoms are similar to depression in adults, but some children may appear angry or engage in risky behavior, called “acting out.” Depression can be difficult to diagnose in children.

Exercise for Depression

Research suggests exercise is a potent weapon against mild to moderate depression. Physical activity releases endorphins that can help boost mood. Regular exercise is also linked to higher self-esteem, better sleep, less stress, and more energy. Any type of moderate activity, from swimming to housework, can help. Choose something you enjoy and aim for 20 to 30 minutes four or five times a week.

Pets for Depression

A playful puppy or wise-mouthed parrot is no substitute for medication or talk therapy. But researchers say pets can ease the symptoms of mild to moderate depression in many people. Pets provide unconditional love, relieve loneliness, and give patients a sense of purpose. Studies have found pet owners to have less trouble sleeping and better overall health.

If you think you or someone you love has depression, get to a doctor!  Get some help!   Take care and I hope to chat again when I’m not so blue.

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