Simply put, depression is a group of conditions associated with the elevation or lowering of a person’s mood.
There are different types; clinical depression, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, bipolar II disorder, postnatal depression.
I think I have experienced all except postnatal depression especially ‘persistent depressive disorder’ – a mild but long-term form of depression.
Though it’s been difficult talking about depression in this part of the world but I’m glad some people are listening and being aware of it.
With everything happening in the world right now, even before this pandemic, social media is among the top five reasons for depression. According to WHO, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression – I have suffered (still managing it) it and if you have not or don’t experience it, you won’t understand.
Therefore I will try my best to make you understand how I feel when I’m depressed and things that trigger it.
Why you feel depressed
Depression has to do with ones mood and as human beings we have all kinds of feelings ;sometimes we fell happy ,some other times we feel sad, sometimes we want to be around people ,other times we just want to be alone.
I started feeling depressed ten years ago and that was right after I graduated university, went for my NYSC and spent a year at home. You know, I put a lot of pressure on myself and when I saw how my peers were either getting a job immediately or scholarship, it kind of made me feel sad and lost since nothing was really going on for me.
Also living with my elder sister that believes in working and earning salary but not in creativity and talent was tough because I wanted to join the movie industry – and as you know, it takes time to have a breakthrough where you can actually start living off that career.
My elder sister did her part to shelter and feed me but I you know as an adult there are some things you wish you could buy for yourself without asking someone else for the money –you know, paying your bills.
So I was getting really tired of staying home, applying for jobs and not getting any positive feedback, gaining weight and just sad most of the time – That was the first time I started experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts came on.
The second time was after I lost my second job due to economic reasons ; growing up I have never really had a room to myself ,my other sister and I always share a room . Just imagine two female adults sharing a room with one of them being premature OCD (I call it premature OCD cause she it’s only clean to herself and not her environment –if that make sense).
The third time was when I lost my job for the third time because I refused to be sexually harassed by the general manager. Yeah he was the very shameful general manager of the company and according to what I heard that’s how he gave some ladies and women jobs in the company.
I wasn’t depressed because I lost that job –it was a marketing job with no company vehicle amongst other things… I was depressed because I was tired of men sexually harassing me everywhere I work and I was also not happy that I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself.
During that time I had to leave my family house to get an apartment but could not pay the next rent because I lost my job – that made me really sad that I just wanted to end it all. I just felt like I couldn’t catch a break.
Since I was 3-years-old, I have never really had it easy, so when horrible things happen to me I just wonder why this stuff keeps happening. “What is my purpose”, “why I’m I here”? “Why do I have to keep going through all these stuff”? “What is the point of living”?
Things that trigger depression
Some foods and drinks; white bread, pastries and cakes, sugary drinks, coke, Pepsi, caffeine ,processed meat ,ice cream, fried foods ;junk food and sugary drinks mostly which causes hormonal imbalance that affects the way we think, process information and react to stress.
Toxic parents and siblings especially if you are living with them; if you don’t have money to get your own place, just ensure that you are not always with them. Do things to keep you busy and away from them; if you are in school don’t get home too early, if you work that’s even better cause then you don’t have to see them every hour of the day.
Friends and colleagues
Basically friends that don’t make you feel good about yourself. Friends that intimidate you, judge you and make you feel less (some families do this too) – you should avoid them.
Yeah this one is the worst. Before social media, we got pressure from friends when they give us a call of their big news or their parents inform your parent on their progress. But now, it’s everywhere; whether you want to see it or not, as long as you are friends with that person on your social media account… It started with Facebook now Instagram; especially when you see your peers “living their best life” and you are just managing to get by.
How to manage depression
– Cut off junk foods /drinks and eat healthy foods
Though most of our foods here are simple carbohydrates, we just have to try to reduce them and eat more of complex carbohydrate, eat more fruits, vegetables, protein, and fiber and drink lots of water (8litres everyday). This can help our hormone levels and prevent triggers.
– Supportive Family /siblings
Avoid toxic family/siblings; in every family there are siblings that are close to each other and others that are not so close to each other. Surround yourself with a positive sibling that encourages you and make you feel comfortable with no judgment. Same goes for friends and colleagues.
–Stay away from social media
If you are experiencing some form of moodiness or feeling depressed and the lifestyle of some people you follow is messing with your mental health, then either you uninstall the app for a while or you stop following them so you don’t have to keep seeing updates from them.
Anxiety and fear are some of the symptoms of depression, that’s why it is advised that we practice meditation at all time. It could either be just a breathing exercise or a yoga form of meditation. But practicing this at all times can really help manage depression.
-Exercise – yoga, Pilates, cardio, even boxing
I cannot overemphasize the habit of exercise. Exercise is very good for our physical and mental well-being – when we exercise we release endorphins which triggers a positive feeling. It could be yoga, Pilates, any form of cardio, boxing…anything to just get you sweating and your blood flowing.
-Surround yourself with positivity
Either reading books, watching motivational videos, listening to inspirational music…anything that gives you peace, inspire you and makes you smile.
– Talk to a shrink, pastor or an understanding friend
Sometimes what most of us need is to talk to someone. We barely have accessible therapist on this part of the world but thankfully they are online now but be careful of scammers.
If your church offers that or you can confide in your pastor, priest or member, then you can talk to them when you are feeling down or having suicidal thoughts.
Also an understanding friend or someone that is going through what you are going through, that helps too.
Depression is a sickness (mental health) and just as we treat flu, autoimmune diseases, cancer etc, it should be taken seriously. Even more seriously because we are dealing with the brain which connects to the mind and is very sensitive – we should be mindful of what we say and do to anyone (especially those suffering from depression) cause you never know what could trigger them.
If you feel depressed, what triggers them and how do you manage it? Share in the comment section.