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Driving Away The Depression ‘Lows’

Friday, January 30, 2009
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...Vasuda better known to her classmates as Bubbly had always been the life of a party. Vivacious and witty, she had a laughter that warmed the belly of her friends. She had lived each moment of her 23 years with positive abandon. She was a friend to turn to in times of need, a pillar of strength for her close circle of friends and engaged to Karan, a hunk of a guy who had charmed each and every one of her friends and family members.

Lately, her friends had noticed a clear shift in her demeanor and way of dressing; they had both taken on an uncomfortable tone. She had stopped wearing makeup, didn't return their calls or text messages. Her eyes had bags under them, and she admitted to Chitra, her best friend that she wasn't sleeping well at night. Chitra also smelled smoke on her breath and upon questioning Bubbly admitted she had started smoking 10-12 cigarettes daily.

Upon further probing, Chitra found out that Bubbly's fiancé Karan had been verbally abusive. Chitra also found out that Bubbly's company was relocating to Pune, a move Bubbly wouldn't be able to make due to her fiancé, and Bubbly was feeling she had no where to turn -

She felt so alone! Who could she confide in about Karan? All of her family loved him. Her job was on the line, she was in an abusive relationship with a man soon to become her husband. Bubbly felt ominous clouds hovering over her and trying to engulf her in their darkness. She was petrified, desperate and lonely.

Was Bubbly depressed? Yes, life can be tough at times, and it's perfectly normal to feel sad or irritable every now and then. If you have similar feelings and are mortified of everyone around you finding out your fears, you may be suffering from `depression'.  You are not alone!

Depression is a common ailment shared by many. The good news is that it is neither unusual nor permanent and can be treated completely. The key to feeling good lies in the patient's hands.
Symptoms of depression:
  • Sadness, feeling blue.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, feeling alone.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Stress
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Energy loss
  • Change in weight
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression has a genetic foundation and so can run in families. It may suddenly appear between the ages of 15 and 30, and is most common in women.

Before we begin with how to tackle the `feelings of low', understand that depression is nothing but a warning signal from your mind telling you that something is amiss, out of balance in your life. There may be several reasons for this imbalance.
Some most common ones include:
  • Loss of a loved one or some other form of personal tragedy
  • Being abused/ insulted/ neglected during childhood/adolescence/ or in the present.
  • Witnessing an unpleasant incident
  • Unemployment
  • Staying alone, away from the family
  • Lack of close friends or someone to talk to and confide in
Now, the good part..how to feel good and drive away these blues?
Seek the help of trusted friends/ family members: You may feel embarrassed to talk to your family about your pain, or feel guilty to open up to them but by doing so, you will lift a burden off your shoulders. Your loved ones care about you and will definitely want to help.
Avoid the triggers: Depression can be the result of many things, and it is necessary that you avoid those circumstances/ activities that upset you or make you feel depressed. For example, watching/ reading stories about destruction, war, crime, doom and despair will only make you feel helpless and pull you down further. Make a conscious effort to stay clear of these.
Simplify your schedule: Do not keep too many goals and targets that may add to your stress. Try and work with one goal at a time. If you try and concentrate on too many things, you will feel overwhelmed and unable to coat.
Positive thinking: It always gets your brain going. Hang out with friends who accept you for yourself. Make the effort to be around people who are content and secure and care for you.
Move it: You don't have to run a marathon - how about a daily walk for 30 minutes to begin with? While you exercise, your body produces `feel-good' chemicals called endorphins. Once you experience the `high', you will get hooked on to working out.
Keep your brain cells active: Try to engage yourself in as many physical activities as possible. A healthy routine must be followed to keep your body and mind healthy. Better yet, do something new! Join a dance class or learn to play a new instrument or develop a new hobby. Your brain needs exercise, too
You are the boss of your mind: If you are young, bright and capable, then you have the ability to convince yourself that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and resolve the stressful problems facing you. To begin with, how about removing the words `depression' and `feeling low' from your dictionary?
As Little Annie said in the musical, "The sun will come out tomorrow."

By, The Dietetic Team @ NutritionVista.com

Related Topics:
Foods That Can Uplift A Down Mood
Insomnia - Should I Lose Sleep Worrying About It?

Disclaimer: If your depression is life threatening, or lasts a couple of weeks, have a thorough physical check up by a psychiatrist who knows what to look for. Never self-prescribe antidepressant drugs for yourself, or recommend them to anyone else. Depression is a serious condition, and must be treated by a trained physician.


 

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User Comments

14 January, 2011 | Eating Right to Fight Depression Symptoms | Reply

Eating Right to Fight Depression Symptoms Hi Mishi.
This is for you, bcoz you want to know "Are there any foods that can help keep depression at bay?"
There is research that shows eating the proper diet can help fight the symptoms of depression. These foods include vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fiber and low fat dairy products, which are also good for the body. When processed in the body these foods are able to help stabilize moods. These compared to foods filled with sugar or processed foods that are known to create highs and lows when eaten are much safer for the person suffering from depression. There are also some foods that contain chemicals that cause highs and lows in mood, which can mean the depression can deepen. These are foods that are high in fats and sugars that will affect the mood adversely and raise the level of depression symptoms.
Diet is one of the most important factors according to researchers in treating depression and one of the factors can also be deficiency in certain vitamins and when eating properly this can decrease the lacking vitamins. In effect this can help to fight the symptoms of depression as the missing vitamins are replaced, which help to stabilize the mood and reduce anxiety. This is a diet that will also help prevent other medical problems like heart disease and high blood pressure that can contribute to anxiety and depression. The studies that have been done using diet as a way to help control depression symptoms provided medical experts with several types of foods and vitamins that can help the person suffering from depression
Research done on England has found a link between bad moods and diet, along with fried or fatty foods that deprive the brain of essential nutrients. Decreasing the amount of sugars and simple carbohydrates in the diet helps to stabilize the blood sugar, which directly affects mood swings and irritability. Scientific studies have shown that an increase in folate or vitamin B levels, high flavoniod and antioxidant levels help decrease the symptoms of depression.
These studies have shown a marked improvement in depression symptoms in people that follow good eating habits, compared to those that do not. This healthy way of eating also decreases other health conditions, like high blood pressure and anxiety that can complicate depression symptoms. It can also lower the amount of medications taken for these medical conditions that might be compounding the depression symptoms.
The interesting part of these studies is that patients following a strict diet of healthy foods have less depression symptoms and are able to take smaller dosages of antidepressants. Though they still take a daily dosage of a prescribed antidepressant the dosage amount is lower. In order for the healthy diet to work properly at decreasing depression symptoms it must be followed at every meal each day. In this diet it is also important to get the daily amount of vitamin D the body requires. Some medical experts and dieticians believe that low levels of vitamin D contribute to depression and its symptoms.
Scientists believe the best way to treat the brain and the body, while lowering the symptoms of depression is to have a diet that is high in whole grains, vegetables, nuts and vitamin D.

21 June, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Disha, Menopause is a time when a body has hormone swings, one of the factors for mood swings. So we suggest you eat a diet having a wide range of nutrients without lacking in any of the essentials that can help to combat depression. Foods rich in antioxidants, phytoestrogens, folate, tryptophan, Omega 3, Vitamin B1, zinc and of course plenty of water.
Read our article on foods that help you fight depression by clicking on this link
http://www.nutritionvista.com/News-Articles/foods-that-can-uplift-a-down-mood,153.aspx
Thank you
Vijayalakshmi Iyengar
Sr Dietitian NutritionVista.com

21 June, 2010 | Disha | Reply

Disha Can you suggest ways/foods to beat depression associated with menopause?

12 April, 2010 | Deepika Kohli | Reply

Deepika Kohli Hello Ms.Mishi, foods that act as mood boosters can help you elevate your mood and
combat depression, anxiety and irritability. Some of these foods include Chocolates, foods rich in omega-3-fatty acids like salmon and tuna fishes, oatmeal, whole grains, poultry, bananas that are terrific food to elevate your
mood.For more details log onto www. NutritionVista.com
Thanks Deepika Kohli,Dietitian NutritionVista

12 April, 2010 | Geetanjali Kelkar | Reply

Geetanjali Kelkar Hi Mishi,

Depression can be linked with mineral and vitamin deficiencies. The common cause for depression, mood swings and anxiety is poor nutrition. Foods that contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids like fish, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, also oats lower depression
Geetanjali Kelkar,
Dietitian online

10 April, 2010 | Mishi | Reply

Mishi Hi.I liked the article,can you please also tell me, are there any foods that can help keep depression at bay?

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