Depression is slowly becoming the mainstay of life in the 21st century. It is estimated that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And more women are likely to be in the clutches of this psychological illness than men are.
Depression is not easy to live with. Every aspect of your life seems like an uphill task and you simply want to retreat into a shell and stay there. Hope, optimism, enthusiasm, and passion for life simply fizzle out.
But what is truly tricky about this condition is that sometimes people themselves don’t know that they are witnessing the classic symptoms of depression and attribute them to feelings of sadness and hopelessness that we all experience from time to time. Most often, family members too have no inkling about the distress that people in depression are in.
So, let us take a look at some of the textbook signs of depression so that you can take the right actions at the right time-
- You are unable to concentrate
- You have a tough time recalling details
- It is not easy for you to make decisions
- You feel constantly fatigued
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness overwhelm you
- You feel pessimistic about everything
- You stop caring about everything around you
- Digestive problems become frequent
- You have trouble falling asleep
- You may even feel restless or irritable
- You have been gaining weight because you have lost control over what you eat
- You may even lose weight rapidly because you are too upset to eat and are skipping meals
- You feel like ending your life
Most doctors diagnose depression after at least two weeks of reporting some of all of the above symptoms. Depending on the severity of your case, you may be put on medication such as antidepressants, medicines that control the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) or medicines that target insomnia.
When Depression combines with PTSD
Certain incidents can aggravate your depression. And the commonest reason is a personal injury.
When you sustain an injury, the trauma is more than physical. The horror of what you had to experience creates an intense psychological impact. And it runs deeper than you realize. After the initial shock of the accident and the physical injuries has died down, post-traumatic stress disorder may begin to surface. PTSD can both cause depression and exacerbate pre-existing depression and triggers some symptoms like-
- Frequent flashbacks of the horrific incident
- Panic attacks
- Being perpetually vigilant even when there is no threat of danger
- Losing interest in eating
- Slowing down of cognitive abilities and impairment in the thinking process
- Inability to communicate
- Difficulty in communicating verbally
- Lapses in memory
- Displaying hostility, even towards well-meaning people
- Recurrent bad dreams
- Some people may try to find solace in drugs
But the good news is, there is help for people whose depression is compounded by PTSD. Here are a few strategies that can help you deal with it-
1. Socialize more often
If you recognize that you are depressed and need help, congratulations -you have overcome the biggest hurdle in your self-care journey! The one thing that can really help is communication. Depression and PTSD tend to make people withdraw from their loved ones and carry the cross of despondency all by themselves. To overcome these feelings you will need a fresh perspective, a new outlook, which is tough to acquire if you are trapped within yourself and shunning others.
You may feel too exhausted but nevertheless, you must reach out to well-meaning people (your family and friends). Talking can ease the burden off your shoulders.
Talking to someone does not have to be an elaborate affair – pick up the phone and call or facetime someone. Go out for a coffee or lunch date with your best friend. Go to the movies or the theatre with your beloved family members. Force yourself to participate in social events where you will have to interact with people. Even if it seems like a pointless endeavor, it will draw you out of yourself.
You may not feel better immediately because it takes time for the benefits to set in. But you have to be patient. Small acts of communication and socialization may work slowly but can go a long way in alleviating your mood.
2. Take a walk and don’t forget to exercise
Most people with PTSD and depression hardly ever go out. Watching Netflix may seem more appealing. But science has proved that a walk amid nature can boost the production of endorphins– the happiness hormone. It enhances your self-perception. Regular walking will teach you to esteem yourself more. It also promotes quality sleep- one of the best medicines for grief and psychological pain. You need at least 8 hours of undisturbed sleep to be able to combat PTSD and a long walk can exhaust you so much, that your body will crave the comfort that comes with sleep.
Better still, take your loved one and your dog with you when you go out for a walk.
If you are incapacitated, request a loved one to wheel you to your nearest park since the view of greenery itself acts as an antidepressant.
Your personal injury may have placed limitations on your range of motion. But you still need exercise. Talk to your doctor and physiotherapist and plan out a course of action (exercise). They would be able to advise you on which forms of the workout will help you gain back the use of the affected body part as well as exercises that will keep the whole body fit.
3. Puppy therapy
Adopt a puppy. It has been clinically proven that caring for a dog can do miracles for the state of your mind. Your dog will keep you on your toes and will demand lots of love and affection. You will hardly have time for yourself and that is the goal of puppy therapy. The joys of sharing your time and life with a dog and the unconditional love he/she offers can ease stress, anxiety, and depression.
4. Keep yourself occupied
A puppy can be a handful. But even so, you have to look for more ways to keep yourself busy. So why not take up a new skill? Always wanted to learn how to play the cello? Why not enroll now? Engage yourself in an activity that you’ve always been drawn to. It need not be a musical instrument. It could be martial arts, baking, pottery, woodworking, anything really! You will be required to focus and exert yourself when you learn this new skill. And that too will take your mind off the accident that has triggered this psychological crisis.
Don’t forget to keep yourself busy with things you love. Read, play some calming music, doodle, play board games whatever puts a smile on your face.
5. Professional therapy
If your depression and PTSD become too severe, you will require professional help. Do not let stigma get in the way of seeking therapy because it can change your life for the better. Mental health professionals have a deep understanding of trauma and its repercussions. A therapist will help you get to the root of your anguish and despair. With gentle persuasion, s/he will guide you towards finding a solution.
A personal injury can cause untold misery in your life. While the pain and trauma you suffered are unquantifiable, compensation from your insurance policy can at least ease the financial burden of treatment and subsequent therapy. But insurers often do not always pay the full quantum of the claim.
But personal injury lawyers from our experienced network can help. At Claim Settlement, our network of lawyers have 20 years of experience in handling personal injury and accident cases and has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Our initial consultations are absolutely free and you don’t pay until our network of lawyers has procured you the compensation you deserve.
If you have suffered an injury or been in an accident call us at 1-833-892-5246 for a free consultation or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org