We recognize depression within us as an intense sadness that we cannot seem to shake. Feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and worthlessness can begin to undermine our ability to feel whole.
More Than Just Sadness
Sadness is a part of our lives. You can’t help but feel sad when we experience the unpleasant aspects of life. However, depression goes beyond that—it is a chronic and intense feeling of discontent, rendering you unable to access the mental and physical wellbeing you seek.
What Causes Depression
Depression is more complicated than most people think. It can be caused by many different situations, some based on physiology and some based on lived experiences. An important aspect to realize is: you can’t control whether or not you get depression, however there are steps you can take to help manage it.
How Depression Affects You
If left untreated, depression can begin to affect many aspects of your life, including your mood, work performance, and the quality of sleep you get each night. Although at first it may only cause irritability, in a short period of time you may encounter more serious mental and physical symptoms.
Below you’ll find a list of symptoms associated with depression. You may experience a few or several, but always remember that only a trained professional can correctly diagnose depression.
Cognitive Symptoms Include:
Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering details
Feelings of despair and hopelessness
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness
Loss of interest in things and loss of libido
Persistent sad, anxious or empty feelings
Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Physical Symptoms Include:
Fatigue or consistent lack of energy
Sleeping too little (insomnia) or sleeping too much
Changes in eating habits, like overeating or loss of appetite
Persistent pains, aches or cramps
Gastrointestinal issues or irregular bowel schedules
Depression & Sleep
Depression and sleep problems are so common that it’s often tough to determine which came first. Depression causes sleep problems like insomnia or hypersomnia, but for other people, sleep problems may be the root of their feelings of sadness and despair.
Living with chronic sadness and not being able to get quality sleep while maintaining a busy schedule is not sustainable. Through meeting with me and strategizing about your options, we can help you return to the path of wellness.
Types of Depression
When depression starts to affect your daily life and frequently prevents you from enjoying yourself, you may have a depressive disorder. Below are some of the most common mood disorders associated with depression.
This is the most widely-known form of depression, often described as a widespread sadness or darkness, loss of energy or sense of hopelessness. People with major depression lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed, and they experience physical symptoms such as changes in sleep patterns or weight and appetite.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Also called dysthymia, Persistent Depressive Disorder represents a depression that a person has lived with for over two years. Even though this is a long-form version of the disease, the symptoms are often not as strong as they are with major depression. If you feel somewhat sad on a regular basis, you may have PDD.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by manic or hypomanic episodes interspersed between depressive ones. Those with Bipolar depression operate on both extremes in terms of energy level, and feel as if they are not in control of their mood or personality throughout the day, which may create feelings of guilt or self-loathing.
Depression and Work Performance
If you’re a busy executive, depression can prevent you from thriving in your career.
How Depression Affects You at Work
Depression can cause several symptoms that affect your work performance. For instance, depression often decreases your energy level and productivity, and increases the temptation to withdraw from others. At the workplace, especially if you are working remotely, constant communication is key to collaborative work and to demonstrate you are on top of your tasks. Depression might also make you sleep in, miss meetings, and turn in work later than usual.
How Therapy Can Help Elevate Performance
Holistic treatment can help you achieve a sense of wholeness that you will bring into your work environment. With the right tools and support, you will be able to conquer depression without letting it affect your work. Once you take control of depression, you’ll enjoy a better sleep schedule, better physical health, and a heightened ability to focus, all of which will translate well into your work environment.
Alternative treatments for depression are becoming more widely accepted, and they often work best in conjunction with more traditional forms of therapy.
Light therapy is just what it’s name suggests: exposure to bright light to stimulate brain chemicals associated with mood and sleep. The beauty of light therapy is how easy it is to perform—you can sit in front of the light box and still be productive. Light therapy has demonstrated effectiveness especially for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The microbiome we house in our gut is vastly complex, and scientists are now realizing it can affect our brain function and even our central nervous system. Treating your gut microbiome with care by eating healthy and nutritious foods, along with natural supplements, can help you organically achieve a more manageable state of mind.
Supplements and Herbs
There are many different types of supplements that have effects on depression, including vitamins, minerals, and different types of herbal products like St. John’s wort, SAMe, or fish oil. Several clinical trials demonstrate their effectiveness to equal or greater success in overcoming depression symptoms than those who were prescribed psychotropic medications.
Our diet and what we put in our bodies end up having immense effects on our mental and physical well-being. Reduce sugar, caffeine and alcohol and make sure you’re eating nutritious meals, with fiber and “psychobiotics”, which will help to detoxify your gut, and in turn, make your symptoms decrease in intensity.
The physical and mental benefits of yoga have long been understood and widely promoted. For those dealing with depression, yoga can be like a mental workout and incredibly helpful exercise in proving your own capability. Through yoga, you are able to connect to the physical body, and access healing on a deeper level.
Meditation, much like yoga, promotes you to breathe healthfully and to notice parts of your body you may not otherwise pay attention to. It brings you a sense of how to manage your impulses, and gives you the strength to manage your thoughts. Meditation is an incredibly powerful practice to achieve wholeness.
Here at IntraBalance, we treat depression through a holistic lens. If you experience depression and want to reduce your use of psychotropic medications and instead employ the non-medication remedies described above, call us to set up a consultation where we can talk about your needs in specific detail and create a path to overcome the depression.