Life in the 21st century – anything but boring, and honestly pretty challenging and stressful all the time! We all have real life pressures, struggles, and difficulties to face every day!
Everything from academic/achievement pressures to family friction/conflict, from social struggles to navigating complicated friendships, real world battles to personal/internal problems.
Sometimes when life is tough it can be hard to bounce back internally, mentally, emotionally. Sometimes even after life gets a little better or when life is not rough, the internal and emotional struggle still battles on.
If you are struggling with depression – it is ok! You are not alone!
Everyone gets sad from time to time which is perfectly normal.
However, depression is more serious and often has the following signs.
Possible Signs Of Depression:
- Feeling significantly sad, helpless, and/or hopeless all the time
- Newer feelings of anger, feeling out-of-control, and/or friction with authority
- Low self-esteem and low self-confidence
- No longer having the same level of fun, interest, or pleasure in your hobbies, activities, experiences
- Running away from life or withdrawing from relationships
- Recently struggling at school – academically or socially
- Withdrawing from friendships and spending too much time in the digital world (phone or video game addiction)
- Recently started trying new substances to cope (or escalated previous substance use to substance abuse)
- Sudden changes in your everyday energy, fatigue, sleep, and/or eating habits
- Newer reckless, dangerous, or violent behavior (sometimes in response to bullying, social/relational struggles, or homelife conflict, or even abuse)
- Suicidal Thoughts: Wishing you’d never been born, wondering if anyone would notice if you were gone, believing loved ones would be better off if you left their life, imagining possible ways to die, thinking about committing suicide, and taking physical self-harm actions
If you are struggling with suicide or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 now. International Suicide Support Numbers.
Here are some things that can help you move through depression:
1.) ASK FOR HELP
The first big step in facing depression is to ask for help. You do not have to walk this path alone! Find a safe adult to help you get help – this may be a parent/guardian, but it can also be a teacher, a coach, a pastor, an adult mentor, or even your friend’s parent. This adult needs to be someone you really trust and know will do the right thing. They need to be focused on YOU and want only the best for YOU.
You may be able to find a safe person/adult to talk to through a school counselor or therapist. The key is finding someone who is safe – safe being someone who is physically safe and emotionally safe to share hard and deep things with you. Talking with a friend can be a huge first step, but you also need to talk to an adult who can walk alongside you, support you, and help you through depression.
2.) SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS
Spend time with friends! With depression, a huge temptation is to withdraw, hide, and leave relationships. But we NEED friends and we NEED social support. Please go to your friends, not only for honest help with your life and struggles, but to hang out with them, do stuff with them, and have fun with them!
3.) MAKE LIFE CHANGES
It is important to get help from mentors, counselors, and therapists. They can give you a big picture, outside perspective about the struggles related to depression. Some changes to help you combat depression might be include:
- Starting Counseling/Therapy
- Possible Medical changes
- New Activities
- Healthy Habits
- Safe Relationships
4.) BE YOURSELF AND GRATEFUL
Social media has created unrealistic expectations. We are bombarded daily with pictures and videos of perfect people that all seem to have a life better than ours. This can cause depression, especially during the holidays. However, these images are very often highly edited and not realistic. You only see the edited highlights of what happened and never the true struggles.
You need to be grateful for what you have and not compare yourself to others.
- Try keeping a notebook and write things you are grateful for each day.
- Take some time to meditate on all the good things you still have in your life.
- Try to see the good in any situation, like seeing the flowers when it is raining.
5.) MAKE SMALL CHANGES
When you are depressed, even getting out of bed can seem like a chore. However, you only need to take that first step do anything. Here are some small changes that can help you with your depression.
- Help others. They often say giving a gift brings greater joy than receiving one. Doing good things for other people is a great way to help with depression and make the world a better place. It can be as simple as holding the door open for someone, or asking a stressed cashier how their day is going. Help others to help yourself. When you focus more on others, you will focus less on your problems.
- Get more active and eat better. Exercise can improve your mood and health. It may seem very difficult at first, but it all starts with one step. A healthier diet can also improve your life. When you feel better physically, your mental outlook also changes. Even simple things like adding fruits to your diet, cutting back on snacks, and drinking water instead of soda can make a big difference.
- Focus on positive things that bring you joy and really savor those moments. For example, the simple act of eating a cookie you like can be very profound if you take the time to fully enjoy it, such as focusing on the smell, how it looks, texture, taste, etc. Doing things in a mindful way will bring you a lot of happiness each day that does not depend on anything but yourself.
- Set goals for yourself and try to achieve them each day. Studies show that it is the process of achieving goals and not the goal itself that often brings the most happiness. The goal could be as simple as learning about something new, or completing parts of a bigger project.
- Keep busy. When your are busy doing things, you will not focus as much on your depression.