Depression is the most common mental health illness during this pandemic because of loss of job, loss of a loved one and limited source of leisure and entertainment, etc. Before the Quarantine was announced by the Government, I recalled I was in a get together with friends where I was introduced by a friend to her friend who suffered from a depression believing that I can help her friend because of the course I finished, BS Psychology. Her friend asked ways to overcome depression, a state where she finds herself trapped. I requested her to tell me about the situation that could have triggered it and she told her story. I felt the pressure to heal her friend at that very moment, but I realized that instead of focusing on myself, I should be focusing on her to help her alleviate her condition. All I did was listen to her and showed my sincere empathy and suggested ways to overcome it. Depressed people need someone to talk to and they just need someone who can listen to them. The act of listening already helps a depressed person overcome sadness. Feeling sad is an integral part of depression but they are not the same.
What is the Difference of Sadness from Depression?
According to Wikipedia, sadness is an emotional pain associated with, or characterized by, feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow. All of us may experience this emotional state. It is normal because we are human. Sadness is a normal human emotion that every single person may experience at stressful or somber times which is usually often caused by the feeling of loss of a thing, person, opportunity, etc. Sadness usually passes with time. If it does not pass, or if the person is unable to function well, meaning sadness affects his/ her work or relationship with others, this could be a sign of depression. If such low mood gets worse like thinking of committing suicide, the person should seek professional help or talk to the Doctor. Possible treatments include medication, counseling and psychotherapy.
Ways to Overcome Depression:
1. Self-awareness, Mindfulness and Meditation – Mindfulness means an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and surrounding environment through a gentle and nurturing lens. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what is present rather than thinking the past and future which normally cause stress. To achieve this, breathing or meditation exercises are recommended to promote positive while reducing negative thoughts. When we focus at the present, we become more altruistic and forget being self-centered.
2. Music Therapy – Listening to your favorite music (not connected with stressor) can be an effective intervention to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. Music helps you more engaged and provides an outlet for expression of feelings.
3. Dance or Exercise -Getting physically active improves the way we feel and think. Dancing improves mental, physical well-being, mood and self-image.
4. Faith or Belief in God – Healing is achieved through your belief or faith in the Divine God. Prayers and having a close relationship with God save lives.
5. Pursuit of new interest and dreams – Try to learn a new skill. It will make you achieve growth and self-fulfillment.
6. Keep yourself Busy – Divert your attention to a more culturally higher or socially more acceptable activity like community work. It keeps you away from rumination and lingering negative thoughts.
7. Sense of Purpose – Make meaningful contributions to your community and connect with others. Helping others shift your attention from yourself to others. This motivates you to live and achieve the plans you have.
8. Gratefulness and Optimism – Take few minutes each day to think about what makes you thankful. It improves your outlook in life. Think of the positive experiences you have which can also raise your optimism. There is an alternative way to think or reconstruct negative thoughts to make it positive. Imagine yourself in a future in which you have achieved all your life goals and all your problems have been resolved.
I want to congratulate my friend who sought our help to overcome depression because this is the first step to healing when you recognize that you are in an unhealthy state and you find ways to overcome it like opening up to others. Now, she has moved on and is back to her happy, lively and successful state. All of us can be a mother to others by extending our help to those in need. Let your light shine and be a blessing to others. There is a lot of benefits in looking at the bright side. Life is beautiful. Keep smiling!
Written by Mary Grace Sequera