Navigating the fog of Depression

Are you tired of being miserable all the time? Do you want to overcome your depression and live a happier life finally? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that it’s not going to be easy. The good news is that it’s possible – if you’re willing to do the work. Here are some ways to get started on overcoming your depression.

Get out of bed and shower daily, even if you don’t feel like it.

Let’s be honest for a minute; getting out of bed and showering daily can feel almost impossible. Even if you know it’s good for your body, mind, and overall productivity, who wants to make the extra effort to start the day right? Our natural reaction is often to stay entrapped in the warmth and comfort of our cozy beds. But trust me – scraping yourself out of bed each day isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Once you start making small changes in your morning routine, like setting the alarm, getting dressed, and taking a shower, you’ll soon realize that your body and mind are craving that drastic change. So go ahead and take the risk — this might motivate you to get up early each day!

Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise.

Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly may sound like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Regular, consistent practice can lead to a healthier mental and physical lifestyle. And remember that a sense of accomplishment comes with every victory – big or small. Eating nutritious food and exercising regularly can become more than just steps to stay healthy – it could be part of your everyday life! So don’t think of it as dull or unenjoyable; think of it as an opportunity to show yourself some love.

Spend time with friends and family members who make you feel good about yourself.

Spending time with your loved ones can often be a breath of fresh air after navigating your hectic life, so choosing the right ones to spend more time with is essential. Remember, when choosing friends and family members, go for those who make you feel good about yourself. They should bring out the best in you, not the worst. Being surrounded by positivity should be high on your list of priorities – it often makes tasks seem easier and more manageable. It will likely propel you forward in all aspects of life!

Do something that makes you happy every day, even if it’s just reading a book or taking a walk.

We have all heard that every day should bring something to be thankful for, but what is the point if we don’t take the time to enjoy ourselves and do things that make us happy? We shouldn’t just settle for seeing the good side of a bad day – why not turn it into an opportunity to do something for ourselves? After all, even taking some time out of our day to sit down and read a book or go for a short walk can make all the difference in making us feel content. So let’s ditch the idea of merely surviving another 24 hours, and instead, let’s focus on doing something that makes us smile; our outlook on life will benefit from it!

Seek professional help if your depression is severe or doesn’t seem to be improving with self-care

Depression is an incredibly draining feeling to experience, and if it isn’t improving with self-care, then that’s a sign that you need even more help than you can give yourself. Seeking professional help may seem daunting and silly since you know yourself better than anyone else. But the feelings associated with depression are real, and so is the fact that they can be eased through specialized help. Whether talking to a therapist or physician and exploring different medication options, don’t be afraid to get the assistance you deserve. Life is too short to be weighed down by depression; let a professional help lighten the load emotionally so you can take back your life and finally break away from its grasp!

Don’t let depression win. Get out of bed, shower, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. Spend time with friends and family members who make you feel good about yourself. Do something that makes you happy every day, even if it’s just reading a book or taking a walk. Seek professional help if your depression is severe or doesn’t seem to improve with self-care.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What is GAD?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events for no obvious reason. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school.

Mental Symptoms of GAD

  • Persistent worrying about things that are out of your control
  • Believing an unproportionally negative outcome of events (worst case scenario)
  • Catastrophizing 
  • Inability to relax
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Fear of making the wrong decision
  • Indecisiveness
  • Fear of failure, can cause excessive procrastination

Physical Symptoms GAD

  • Exhaustion and/or trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Chronic nervousness (easily startled)
  • Irritability
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Panic attacks

Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to cope with GAD

GAD programs your brain to think in a certain way, and deeply affects your thought processes. CBT is a method of challenging those thought processes, until they are no longer influenced by GAD. A method that many find to be very useful is challenging your inner critic. Your inner critic referring to the voice in your head that tells you things like everyone is judging you, you’ll never be good enough, etc. Instead of accepting these thoughts and allowing them to affect your mental health, contradict them. (1) Identify the anxious thought. (2) Break it down into its core components. (3) Truly consider the reasoning behind this thought. (4) Come up with a list of facts that disprove the thought. The more you use this method the easier it becomes, until it is second nature; rendering these negative thoughts powerless.

When to seek medical help

  • When your worrying (anxiety) interferes with your social life, work, mental health, relationships.
  • If you feel chronically depressed or anxious
  • If you are struggling with substance use as a method of coping
  • History of other mental health concerns
  • Have suicidal thoughts or behaviours- seek help immediately (833-456-4566)

GAD Related Shame
Diagnosed or undiagnosed, having GAD can feel debilitating. It can cause you to feel like there is something innately wrong with you, and you are less than capable. This is not the case. It is estimated that over 700,000 adults in Canada struggle with GAD, it is one of the most common mental illnesses. Its effects are also as real as any other illness. For example If you had a heart condition that affected your daily life, you wouldn’t blame yourself. Do the same for GAD, it is a physical chemical imbalance in your brain, you cannot control it, you can only control how you deal with it.

Accepting GAD
It is easier said than done but the first step is accepting that you have an illness that can affect your ability to function. Then decide: what are you going to do with that information? Are you going to spiral into the negative thoughts? Or identify what parts of the illness you can control? Seek out resources. And continue being a functional happy person; because it is what you deserve. If you just went through the above thought process and chose the second option, congratulations you just practiced CBT successfully. Keep at it! Your mental health will thank you.

Meet and Defeat Anxiety

It’s completely okay to feel anxious from time-to-time. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and often a healthy reaction to emotion. It can happen in children and adults.

In most cases, feelings of anxiety come and go, only lasting a short time. Feelings of anxiety can last from a few minutes to a couple of days. Unfortunately, in other cases, the anxiety can last much longer. It can go on for weeks, months, or even years.

What is anxiety?
Impending dread senses that your brain tries to rationalize by coming up with plausible-sounding excuses as to why you need to worry (when you don’t). It can also be described as a feeling that causes your body to go on high alert and to be hypersensitive to possible dangers and in turn, it activates your fight or flight response.

Recognize anxiety
Anxiety symptoms manifest themselves differently from individual to individual. A good rule of thumb is to keep in mind of how your body reacts to anxiety. If you have experienced anxiety previously, it is important to take note of the clues that your body is giving you about your anxiety levels to help be in control of what you are feeling.

This is a list including the most common anxiety symptoms:

  • nervousness, restlessness, or being tense
  • feeling in danger
  • experiencing dread or panic
  • rapid heart rate and/or rapid breathing, or hyperventilation
  • increased sweating
  • weakness
  • difficulty concentrating or obsessive patterns
  • digestive problems
  • insomnia

Can anxiety become a disorder?
The short answer is yes. If your anxiety lingers and persists to stay in your life until it begins to interfere with your daily activities such as family life, work, school. Thankfully, anxiety is a common, treatable, and most importantly manageable condition.

How to cope with anxiety with the help of strategies and tools
If you are feeling overwhelmed, try these tricks:

  • Get enough sleep each night.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, especially before sleep.
  • Take deep breaths and slowly count to ten. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for activities that occur when our body is at rest. 
  • Talk to someone that can and wants to listen, such as a friend or close family member.
  • See a therapist who is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Understand the difference between hypothetical worry vs practical worry

How to react during a panic attack
A panic attack is the result of an overload of anxiety, it is a sudden onset of fear or distress that peaks in within a handful of minutes. There are five steps that you can take to try to manage a panic attack “AWARE”.

Acknowledge & Accept:
Take a moment to acknowledge and accept: that you are not in real danger and accept your feelings as you would a minor headache. It’s a passing feeling and you will feel better.

If you have the urge to leave the situation, give yourself a moment to process what you are feeling. Do not rob yourself of the option to leave but do try to keep yourself in control. Remember to count to ten before taking any decision as panic attacks often rob us of our ability to think rationally.

Actions (to make myself more comfortable):
Every panic attack ends no matter what you do. Even when you have the thoughts that it will last forever, it still ends because everything ends. Your job is to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.

Sometimes as soon as you end a panic attack, you can enter another one. In the case of a relapse, go through the steps again as often as necessary. Just take it from the top of the list again. You can make it through a second panic attack, just like you have through your first one.

This step simply is here to remind you that the panic attack does eventually end, even if it comes in cycles or if you relapse at a later date. Do not pressure yourself to accelerate the panic attack or to suppress it, your only concern should be to feel comfortable and to “wait it out”.