Depression affects millions of people worldwide, and this number only seems to be growing. The World Health Organization puts the number of people who are depressed at around 350 million, but this number only represents the people actually diagnosed. Those who suffer silently and choose not to get help out of embarrassment, shame, or pride might make that number jump significantly.
Maybe the person suffering doesn’t even know that they have a problem, which makes silent depression even more dangerous. However, some people simply don’t know how to express their emotions, or don’t feel comfortable doing so. This is why we all need to look out for the people in our lives, and watch for the signs and behaviors that someone is silently depressed.
Here and 7 signs that someone might be silently depressed:
“People think depression is sadness. People think depression is crying. People think depression is dressing in black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. Being numb to emotions, being numb to life. You wake up in the morning just to go back to bed again.” – Unknown
1. WITHDRAWAL FROM ACTIVITIES, WORK, OR SCHOOL
Withdrawal from activities is one of the key signs of depression; this occurs because the disorder takes up all of the person’s time and energy. Depression makes it very difficult to carry on with daily life, aside from what is absolutely necessary, because the pain becomes too great. Those who suffer silently might start dropping one or two activities from their schedule in hopes that no one will notice. Many who suffer don’t want to admit they have a problem and don’t want others to know about it.
If you notice that a loved one is starting to miss out on life, then this is a sign of silent depression.
2. NO ENERGY
No surprise here – depression zaps a person’s energy levels to the point where even getting out of bed can seem like running a marathon. The constant, intrusive thoughts of hopelessness and despair combined with high stress, poor appetite, and sleep troubles make life a daily battle. A person that suffers silently from depression might even start withdrawing from friendships and family life because they have no energy left for them.
3. EATING TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE
Increased or decreased appetite is a common symptom of depression. Gary Kennedy, MD, director of geriatric psychiatry at
Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, says, “A sudden change in weight, either gaining or losing, can be a warning of depression, especially in someone who has other symptoms of depression or a history of depression.”
If you notice unusual eating habits in a friend or loved one, they could be suffering silently from depression.
4. TROUBLE SLEEPING
According to WebMD, 80% of adults with depression have trouble falling or staying asleep. Patients who have chronic insomnia have three times the likelihood of developing depression compared to those without insomnia. Many doctors believe that treating insomnia will help reduce depressive symptoms in people suffering. If someone you know complains of sleep problems on a regular basis, he or she might have depression.
5. SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Sadly, substance abuse is common among those with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. While it’s understandable to want to escape reality and troubled thoughts for a while, addiction can cause even more problems down the road. If you know someone abuses drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, they might be silently depressed.
6. FAKING EMOTIONS
A lot of people with depression don’t want to admit it, either to themselves or others. When in others’ company, they will appear overly happy or give vague answers when people ask about how their life is going. They only engage in shallow conversation because they want to avoid judgment cast upon them about their depression. If you notice someone has become distant or only makes small talk, this might point to hidden depression.
7. THEY HAVE BECOME A WORKAHOLIC
You might not think of overworking as a symptom of depression, but some people use work to cover up their emotions. They see work as an excuse to escape how they feel, a distraction for the torment that their mind causes them. If you notice someone staying late at work most nights of the week, they might actually be silently depressed and not just a workaholic.
Depression seems like a monster in the minds of those who suffer from it, which makes it critical for them to get the help they need. If you notice someone showing any of the abovementioned signs, don’t hesitate to offer them a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. If we all look out for one another, we might just put the stigma surrounding depression to rest and make people feel more comfortable and willing to get the treatment they need.
From the Power of Positivity.
Taking Time to Manage Your Health
Taking time to manage your mental health is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you ignore your mental health, you may become overwhelmed with stress from your work and home life. By taking time to keep your mind and emotions in a healthy place, you will feel confident when taking on new tasks. Fortunately, mental health exercises only take a few minutes, or even seconds, to help you stay balanced and focused throughout your day.
Take Deep and Conscious Breaths
Deep breathing is a simple and efficient way to reduce your stress levels and regain control in your mind. When you start feeling overwhelmed at work or in any other environment, sit down and take a few deep and conscious breaths. Breath in until you feel your diaphragm expand and then slowly let out your breath. You can focus on breathing by slowly counting to five or ten while you take a breath in and then counting to five or ten while you exhale.
Make sure you focus on breathing your with diaphragm. You should feel your stomach move rather than your shoulders to take in a deep breath. Try to take in five to ten deep breaths before you return to the task that feels overwhelming. You will find that the slight interruption and focus on breathing actually gives you the chance to step away from the project or task for a moment and regain a feeling of balance. You can then focus on the task without feeling overwhelmed.
Meditate at Your Desk
Meditation is not necessarily a time consuming exercise, but it has a wealth of benefits for your mental health. When you have limited time and you want to clear your mind, take a few minutes to meditate at your desk. Close the door and use a meditation phone app to work your way through breathing exercises that help you regain your focus.
If you cannot use an app for the meditation, then sit down and take a few calming breaths. You can focus on an object on your desk or you can close your eyes and turn your focus inward. Give yourself a few minutes to allow thoughts to move through your mind without acting on them. It is not necessary to avoid thinking; instead, you want to allow your mind to let go of the thoughts until you feel relaxed and calm.
Stand and Stretch
When you work in an office environment, you may have a limited opportunity to move and exercise through your day. That can raise concerns about your physical and mental health because it makes you feel trapped, annoyed or cuts into your focus.
A simple way to cut through the challenge of staying focused throughout your day is simply standing up and stretching on a regular basis. Ideally, you want to stand up every half hour or 15 minutes for a short time period. The stretching will keep your circulation moving and standing breaks up the monotony of your day. If you have time for a short walk, then take a short walk through your office. Get a glass of water or take a trip to the restroom before returning to your desk. The movement reduces the tension that develops when you stay in one position for an extended period.
Engage with Others
It is not always possible to socialize at work, but you do want to take a few minutes to engage with others throughout your day. Social interaction is a key part of your mental health. Since humans are naturally social, you do not want to pull away from others when focusing on a project or working on a task.
Instead, greet your co-workers in the morning and take a few minutes to talk during your breaks. Interact and engage with others when you have a few minutes. You may discover that others give you insights that you previously overlooked or simply give you a new perspective that helps you overcome challenges in your projects. Social interaction also improves your mood and helps you stay on track. Even when the interaction does not help with a specific task, it does give you a positive and optimistic outlook that helps you focus.
Listen to Music
Music is a powerful way to instantly improve your mood and mindset. Put on a favorite upbeat song or listen to relaxing classical music when you start to feel a bit overwhelmed or stressed. You can put music onto a phone for access at any time and listen to a few songs during your break.
Ideally, you want to focus on classical and soft music that gives you a relaxed feeling. If you do not enjoy the music, then try for upbeat and positive songs that have a clear structure and melody that is familiar. Avoid new songs or music without clear structure, since it may interfere with your focus. The best music to improve your mood and help with your mental health is a slow song with a familiar melody that makes you feel relaxed.
Take a Moment to Laugh
Laughter is a powerful way to instantly boost your mood. When you laugh or smile, it makes you feel happy and energetic. Even when you fake a smile or laugh, it has a positive impact on your mood and mindset.
When you feel stressed at work or overwhelmed in your life, take a moment to laugh. Put on a funny comedy or ask friends out for a night of joking and laughing. Spend time with loved ones who make you laugh with their activities, antics or behavior. When you laugh, it reduces your stress levels and makes you feel optimistic and positive.
Make Your Goals Realistic
Setting a goal gives you a focus, but it can also cause stress when it is not attainable. Focus on setting realistic goals that give you enough time to accomplish a task. Ideally, you want a clear path that has a timeline you can accomplish, but not so much time that it allows you to procrastinate. For example, if you know that a task needs at least one week, then give yourself a week and do not set a goal of finishing the task in three days. Set realistic goals you can accomplish.
Living in a modern world means taking time to address the high-stress lifestyle associated with a career, family and other activities. By taking a few minutes throughout your day to focus on your mental health, you make positive changes that keep your stress levels under control and help you accomplish your goals.
Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. Most often, this illness is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum. These traumas could include:
- Prolapsed cord
- Unplanned C-section
- Use of vacuum extractor or forceps to deliver the baby
- Baby going to NICU
- Feelings of powerlessness, poor communication and/or lack of support and reassurance during the delivery
- Women who have experienced a previous trauma, such as rape or sexual abuse, are also at a higher risk for experiencing postpartum PTSD.
- Women who have experienced a severe physical complication or injury related to pregnancy or childbirth, such as severe postpartum hemorrhage, unexpected hysterectomy, severe preeclampsia/eclampsia, perineal trauma (3rd or 4th degree tear), or cardiac disease.
Symptoms of postpartum PTSD might include:
- Intrusive re-experiencing of a past traumatic event (which in this case may have been the childbirth itself)
- Flashbacks or nightmares
- Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event, including thoughts, feelings, people, places and details of the event
- Persistent increased arousal (irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response)
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Feeling a sense of unreality and detachment
Postpartum PTSD is temporary and treatable with professional help. If you feel you may be suffering from this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. You can use our resource page to reach out now. We understand what you are going through and will connect you to people who understand and can help.
31 Tips To Boost Your Mental Health
- Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include 3 things you were grateful for and 3 things you were able to accomplish each day.
- Start your day with a cup of coffee. Coffee consumption is linked to lower rates of depression. If you can’t drink coffee because of the caffeine, try another good-for-you drink like green tea.
- Set up a getaway. It could be camping with friends or a trip to the tropics. The act of planning a vacation and having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness for up to 8 weeks!
- Work your strengths. Do something you’re good at to build self-confidence, then tackle a tougher task.
- Keep it cool for a good night’s sleep. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Think of something in your life you want to improve, and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction.
- Experiment with a new recipe, write a poem, paint or try a Pinterest project. Creative expression and overall well-being are linked.
- Show some love to someone in your life. Close, quality, relationships are key for a happy, healthy life.
- Boost brainpower by treating yourself to a couple pieces of dark chocolate every few days. The flavanoids, caffeine, and theobromine in chocolate are thought to work together to improve alertness and mental skills.
- “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
If you have personal experience with mental illness or recovery, share on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Check out what other people are saying here: https://www.mhanational.org/mentalillnessfeelslike
- Sometimes, we don’t need to add new activities to get more pleasure. We just need to soak up the joy in the ones we’ve already got. Trying to be optimistic doesn’t mean ignoring the uglier sides of life. It just means focusing on the positive as much as possible.
- Feeling anxious? Take a trip down memory lane and do some coloring for about 20 minutes to help you clear your mind. Pick a design that’s geometric and a little complicated for the best effect. Check out hundreds of free printable coloring pages here: http://www.coloring-pages-adults.com
- Take time to laugh. Hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy or check out cute videos online. Laughter helps reduce anxiety.
- Go off the grid. Leave your smart phone at home for a day and disconnect from constant emails, alerts, and other interruptions. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face.
- Dance around while you do your housework. Not only will you get chores done, but dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases endorphins (the body’s “feel-good” chemicals).
- Go ahead and yawn. Studies suggest that yawning helps cool the brain and improves alertness and mental efficiency.
- Relax in a warm bath once a week. Try adding Epsom salts to soothe aches and pains and help boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress.
- Has something been bothering you? Let it all out…on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.
- Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone – cortisol, and boosts oxytocin – which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does or volunteer at a shelter.
- “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when you bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.”
– Henry David Thoreau.
Practice mindfulness by staying “in the present.” Try these tips: http://www.mindful.org/how-to-practice-mindfulness-throughout-your-work-day
- Be a tourist in your own town. Often times people only explore attractions on trips, but you may be surprised what cool things are in your own backyard.
- Try prepping your lunches or picking out your clothes for the work week. You’ll save some time in the mornings and have a sense of control about the week ahead.
- Work some omega-3 fatty acids into your diet-they are linked to decreased rates of depression and schizophrenia among their many benefits. Fish oil supplements work, but eating your omega-3s in foods like wild salmon, flaxseeds or walnuts also helps build healthy gut bacteria.
- Practice forgiveness – even if it’s just forgiving that person who cut you off during your commute. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.
- “What appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune.”
Try to find the silver lining in something kind of cruddy that happened recently.
- Feeling stressed? Smile. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.
- Send a thank you note – not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them. Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.
- Do something with friends and family – have a cookout, go to a park, or play a game. People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days that they spend 6-7 hours with friends and family.
- Take 30 minutes to go for a walk in nature – it could be a stroll through a park, or a hike in the woods. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.
- Do your best to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.
- “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness (All things purple) and to reinforce the beautiful warm temperatures, enclosed are some quick reminders about physical and mental health partnership well-being. All of it to help You Be Your Best You!
How does physical activity affect my mental health?
Physical activity can help your mental health in several ways:
- Aerobic exercise can boost your mood. Your body makes certain chemicals, called endorphins, during and after your workout. Endorphins relieve stress and make you feel calmer.
- Getting physical activity during the day can make it easier to sleep at night.
- Creating a routine can help you stay motivated and build a habit of getting regular physical activity.
- Physical activity may help with depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Studies show that regular aerobic exercise boosts your mood and lowers anxiety and depression.
- Physical activity may help slow or stop weight gain, which is a common side effect of some medicines used to treat mental health conditions.
- Regular physical activity can benefit your health over the long term. Getting active every day (at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking) helps maintain your health. All Americans should also do strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week to build and maintain muscles. Your doctor or nurse may recommend exercise in addition to taking medicine and getting counseling for mental health conditions.