If you are thinking about harming yourself or have tried to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-(800)-273-8255 to speak with someone. No matter how bad you are feeling right now, remember that it gets better.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder is a mental illness that affects almost 7% of the United States population. It is estimated, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, that over 16 million adults suffer from the condition. Women (8.5%) are almost twice as likely as men (4.8%) to have symptoms of depression, with the demographic aged 18-25 (11%) being the most prevalent age affected. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), a major depressive episode and depression is characterized by:
“A period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, self-image or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.”
Depression can be hard to diagnose and even trickier to treat, as many of the symptoms of depression are self-reported and cannot be seen on the surface. Things like sadness, anhedonia, insomnia or hypersomnia, recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts/actions, fatigue, a diminished ability to concentrate, and feelings of worthlessness are all symptoms of depression. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms.
There is substantial scientific evidence to support the great outdoors. Going outside has been proven to lower stress hormone levels, control heart rate, pulse rate, blood pressure, and boost levels of feel-good hormones in the brain. Humans were not meant to spend their entire lives indoors like many of us do now. Sunlight also promotes relaxation by triggering the release of endorphins, hormones that support mood regulation, cancer growth inhibition, and pain reduction. Sunlight also increases dopamine release in the body.
Inflammation of the body has been theorized to cause depression; a healthy, nutrient-dense diet can help mitigate the effects of depression. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats, dark, leafy green vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and proteins can help you feel like yourself again. Processed foods and sugar are the enemy here, so limit your intake immediately.
Exercise – including high-intensity and moderate-intensity workouts – have been shown to ramp up BDNF, which is responsible for neuronal activity and the production of new neurons in the brain. There is a host of scientific literature to back up the theory that exercise like weightlifting, running, swimming, cycling, and team sports can help fight depression.
Inspiring Quotes to Fight Depression
Exercise, nutrition, going outside, working with mental health professionals, and developing relationships are all key aspects of fighting depression. Sometimes a little inspiration can help, too:
- “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trail and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
- “A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” –Joyce Meyer
- “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Fred Rogers
- “Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.” – Fyodor Dostoesvsky
Prescription Assistance for Depression
Many of these natural alternatives to Western medicine are effective to mild-to-moderate depression. For more severe cases, chronic depression, or treatment-resistance depression, we recommend speaking to a medical professional about professional therapy and medication. Advocate My Meds is a national leader in the enrollment and facilitation of Prescription Assistance programs, programs that help uninsured and under-insured Americans pay for medications they would otherwise not be able to afford. We offer prescription assistance for meds that fight depression such as Prozac and Effexor XR. If you would like to learn more about our program, please give us a call at (877) 596-1604 or visit our contact page today.