make my Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade recipe! jajajajaja But seriously…
When major life (and death) events happen, try to remain calm and rational. Be strong for your loved ones if not for your self. Of course this is all common-sense, but nothing makes “sense” when faced with a crisis. You may go into a deep depression and not even know it. Dealing with major changes (loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a relationship, etc.,) can be catastrophic and may be just too much for one to bear. You must remember that mourning, grieving, sadness, and depression are all different things though some characteristics may seem similar. Catching the signs early makes all the difference.
Here are a couple of signs that may lead to the onset of clinical depression for you to look for and a few more signs for your friends to watch out for too:
1. You become Superman/Superwoman
Many people–and especially high achievers–cope with depression by acting in ways opposite to how they feel (“escapism.”) Engaging in daredevil pursuits, be it mounting a takeover of a rival company or quitting your job to open a restaurant, makes you feel invincible, when you’re really in the dumps. There is a method to this madness: The major cause of depressions (those not born of biochemical imbalances, of which there are plenty)–is feeling out of control or helpless. Achievers loathe that feeling and fight like hell to deny it through action. But that, ultimately, won’t work.
2. You’ve gone from a casual drink with friends to 3 drinks before appetizers.
Studies show that drinking alcohol is the most common tactic people take to self-medicate emotional pain (classic escapism.) The problem with this strategy is that when you finally recognize the pain driving you to drink, you’ll have two disorders to contend with rather than one.
3. You trade a healthy sex life for serial sexing.
If going through a crises, sex may not necessarily lift your spirits (escapism again). If you find you’ve traded monogamy for seducing any partner that will have you, there is a good chance you’re trying to keep depression at bay.
4. Conflicts become disasters that you handle by violent means.
One common but exceedingly dumb way to dull the feeling of helplessness brought on by depression is to show people you’re no push-over. Get cut off on the highway? Run the bastard off the road. Have an idea shot down at a brainstorming session? Take the opinionated punk outside and pummel him. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll have enough bruises to distract you from your emotional pain.
5. You can’t concentrate or sleep.
Everyone suffers from scattered thoughts now and again. Those who are depressed but who possess too much control to act out recklessly may do so in fantasy. But how to distinguish a healthy daydream from potentially dangerous ones? Healthy dreams involve changes in your life that you can realize in a handful of steps. Unhealthy ones take you from middle-class to movie-stardom overnight. Racing thoughts may lead to lack of sleep and staying in bed passed sleep hours only “invites” sadness and eventual depression.
6. You ”forget” to bathe.
You forget to bathe? Well, not really. When clinically depressed – it is not uncommon for someone to NOT take a shower or bath to bathe themselves. Routine rituals of personal hygiene (bathing, brushing teeth, etc.,) become overwhelming chores to someone depressed.
7. You become a gym-rat.
A classic example of depression is trying to exercise your way to happiness: If you already log 5 hours a week at the gym, spending another 30 more minutes every day may briefly lift your spirits. But 10 extra hours a week? Uh-oh! Family and friends may see this new “health-kick” and even encourage you to “keep at it” making it harder to discern if this is healthy or not. Momentarily, this relief feels great, but that relief is ephemeral. When it dissipates, get off the treadmill and get to the root of what’s bothering you.
8. Your feelings are out of touch.
The concept “inappropriate affect” refers to behavior that is emotionally out of sync with the stimulus that prompted it. People who are depressed but do not know it exhibit a unique variant of this problem: They over-react to insignificant sadness, and ignore major league bad news.
If you feel depressed (do not confuse this with sadness) or think someone else might be, gently encourage them to seek a doctor/professional help.