This week the World Health Organization issued a release on the fact that more people feel depressed and that it’s somewhat of a taboo subject. So let’s talk about it 🙂
Why a taboo subject?
There should be nothing to be embarrassed about being human. We have emotions, and sometimes everyone has a low day. I do, my friends do, I don’t think anyone can claim they’ve never had a bad day. Sometimes it’s a short period of time and sometimes it lasts longer. What qualifies someone as clinically depressed can be debated: the Mayo Clinic has a long list of criteria and tests that are done by doctors to get closer to a Yes or No. But if we take the simpler definition that we all have a bad day sometimes, we could see the rate of depression at 100%. In other words, you are not alone.
Another thing to consider is that people don’t talk about depression because they find it depressing. It should be the contrary. If we can discuss how we feel sometimes it gives a foundation to find why we feel that way and what we can do about it.
Underlying reasons of depression
There are probably some cases where people feel depressed without any reason. My personal experience, when friends came to talk with me about it, is that there are underlying reasons and there are physiological factors that can make us feel better or worse, no matter what reality is like. Sometimes we fall in love and our relationships comes to an end. Sometimes it’s the professional situation, if someone loses their job for example, that can make that person go through a tough time. In both examples we’ve committed all of ourselves into a relationship with a loved one, or into a career and these are changing. Change is hard and going through a tough time naturally affects us.
Time does a wonderful thing: it erases. It doesn’t need to erase a memory, what time erases is the obsession. We can focus so much on the past, on one event, one person, that it can become an obsession. Without the obsession the memory remains, but we’re back to being ourselves. Of course the ideal solution is to fix the underlying cause that makes us feel low.
Physiological factors and how physics influence metaphysics
Other than the underlying reason, we can feel low just as a result of physiological factors. Let’s consider a few:
- Nutrition: eating whole foods, cooking at home can not only be soothing for you to focus on something new, it’s also a great way to know that what you’re eating is what you want to eat. When you eat outside the menu in the restaurant can tempt you with junk food options. If you only buy the ingredients you want to eat, you’ll have these in your home as the only source of food to cook with. Drinking less coffee, more water, and avoiding fast sugars like sodas and other junk food will help.
- Sleep: lack of sleep is linked to many disorders on its own. It can be tempting to stay up late at night, if we had too much caffeine during the day, or if we’re stressed and just can’t take ourselves to bed. The problem is that the more we stay up too late, the less we sleep, and the harder it will be for us to be productive the following day. Keep in mind that with good sleep and nutrition you get your body and mind in a good condition to face the challenges of society, be it work, projects, people, and to remove the underlying reason for the excess stress in your life.
- Outside exercise: being close to Mother Nature is essential to our existence. Exercise can be beneficial when practiced indoors, but consider finding an activity you enjoy that takes you on a trail, to a park, to a walk in the city, anything that makes you move outside and change perspective. There are many additional benefits to exercising outdoors, one of them being that with natural sunlight your skin will produce vitamin D. We need vitamin D to feel good.
Having someone to talk to
It’s important to have someone to talk to. A family member, a friend. We all go through tough times sometimes. That person will understand.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about depression in both your video and your blog. You’re exactly correct. Depression is a taboo topic, but the more we shine a light on it, the less darkness it creates.
Connection is a powerful antidote to depression; however, when we are depressed, we often self-isolate. If we have people in our lives who know us (sometimes better than we know ourselves), and we trust these people, they can help us: 1) appreciate we’re depressed, and; 2) understand we are not alone.
Time does attenuate the obsessions; it softens the intensity of the emotion.
Then, we can take steps to change our own brain chemistry. As you mentioned, exercise and nature helps. Cold water helps. Having creative endeavors helps.
If we all understand that depression and periodic depressive states are more normal than not, we can talk about depression and how to work through it without it being taboo and shameful.
Thank you again for this, Nico!