Depression is a mental health disorder that affects many people. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020, 14.8 million U.S. adults aged 18 or older were estimated to have had at least one major depressive episode. The causes can range from stress, trauma, chemical imbalance, or even a head injury. There are numerous causes, and managing symptoms can be hard. How do people with depression manage to take care of their needs?
It is easy to forget to do something in a fog of depression. You could forget to eat, shower, or take medication. In the age of cell phones, it has become much easier to set a reminder to take care of your needs. Setting alarms for regular meal times will remind you what you need to do. Alarms are also beneficial because they are hard to ignore, so once you turn off the alarm, you will see why it was set. If you take medications, they make caps for pill bottles that include a timer you can set. This will tell you when you last opened the bottle, eliminating the fear of missing a dose or potentially taking an extra one.
Sometimes just having someone there to remind you to do something can be helpful. If you have a support network of friends and family, they can remind you what you need to focus on. They can also help with mentally taxing chores such as driving you to appointments or going grocery shopping. Every little bit helps and lets you see that people care about you. If you have difficulty building a support network, you might consider residential or outpatient treatment.
Residential treatment includes living in a treatment center, allowing the network of doctors and therapists there to help you manage symptoms. Outpatient treatment is a treatment option that will provide the professional support you need while allowing you to maintain your everyday schedule of work and home responsibilities.
A Reason to Care
Sometimes, on the worst days, you can feel especially low. You might think, “What is the point of all this?” or “Why should I focus on getting treatment if I feel so awful?” The best way to combat this is to give yourself something to care about or care for. It can be as simple as having a houseplant. Despite how you feel, you will need to get up and water the plant and make sure it gets enough sunlight to grow.
Consider a Pet
You could also consider a pet. Caring for a pet instills a great deal of responsibility and accountability. They also provide motivation. A pet such as a dog will get you up and moving and participate in both exercise and community activities. If you are uncertain about taking on the responsibility of having a pet, you could look into volunteer options such as walking dogs or tending to animals in a shelter.
Caring for Yourself
You may have heard the term ”self-care” before and may not understand what it means. Self-care is preventative care you do for yourself to maintain your health and happiness. What does this mean for your depression? It means recognizing symptoms and using self-care practices to manage them. For example, you might use self-care practices to reduce stress, including:
- Taking a warm bath
- Drinking tea
- Listening to music
Making sure you take time for yourself is important for bringing balance to your everyday schedule. A good self-care plan will also help you associate health habits when symptoms of depression occur.
You Are Not Your Depression
Struggling with depression might be a major part of your life, but that doesn’t define who you are. You are a unique individual capable and worthy of living the life you want to live. While, at times, it might be hard to do so, remember it takes using the techniques listed above and learning new ones to keep a handle on the worst of symptoms. Keeping this in mind is one of the ways to remind yourself that you are more than a diagnosis and are worthy of comfort and care.
Remember, every person is unique, and what tools they use to manage symptoms are just as unique. It requires an appropriate diagnosis by a health professional, and diagnosis is the first step to understanding your symptoms. When you seek a proper diagnosis, you can work with professionals and family to develop a plan to meet your needs. Such a plan will help you establish the foundation for building a life of recovery that you envision.
Many people in the world deal with depression every day of their lives. It can range from periods of sadness to days when it’s hard to find the energy to get out of bed. Depression can happen to anyone. Depression is hard to live with, but living with depression and managing symptoms can become a lot easier with help. At Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, professionals are available to help you. The staff is full of people who understand what you are struggling with and have many treatment options tailored to give you the tools you need for recovery. When living with depression, things can make you feel like you are small and insignificant. At Acera Health, we recognize the value in yourself and are ready to help you through this journey. For more information, reach out to us today and call (949) 649-2339.