Manage episode 362123037 series 3393989
The mind is a complex structure. We exist as mind-body-spirit beings and often our wellness emphasis is purely on the physical body. Our minds also go through changes in health. So today, I would like to shed light on something we are all familiar with – Depression.
What is depression
Is feeling sad the same as being depressed? No. Not really. Feeling chronic sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, teary, and having recurring thoughts of selfharm and not knowing exactly why you feel these emotions, are significant signs of depression.
Depression is now categorised as a disease and can exist by itself or in different combinations such as Post Natal Depression (affecting new mothers), Bipolar Disorder (periods of major happiness and major sadness), Dysthymia (mild, chronic sadness existing for at least two years) and Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (affects people during shorter, darker months in autumn and winter), to name a few.
Signs and symptoms of depression often go unnoticed because our society expects people to “suck it up and keep fighting”.
Most cultural and tribal customs associate mental health issues to “the devil’s work” and often blame and shame those who may be genuinely suffering and in desperate need of medical and psychological intervention.
Stigma and shame are associated with anyone showing vulnerability in acknowledging weakness.
Depressive symptoms can lead to psychosomatic manifestations, meaning that the physical body will begin to show signs of disease due to the mind being unwell. These associated diseases are obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other metabolic and autoimmune diseases. Physically, the body responds to these symptoms in the following way:
• Loss of appetite or sometimes increased appetite (emotional eating);
• Insomnia, or, for some people, too much sleep;
• Loss of energy – fatigue; • Inappropriate guilt – recurring thoughts of “It’s my fault”, “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t matter;
• Confusion or inability to make decisions – recurring thoughts of “I don’t know what to do” and
• Isolation, often remaining alone in one part of the house for too long, such as extended hours in the bedroom or extended hours on the balcony watching out into space
• Lack of physical movements – always preferring to lie down or sit for extended hours, or mindlessly watch TV or scroll on the device, not really engaging;
• Lack of interest or pleasure in any activity; and
• Inability to find joy in any situation – recurring thoughts of “Why is it always so hard for me?”
In 2009, after my brain tumour was diagnosed, I began questioning my life’s choices and began experiencing feelings of deep sadness, guilt, emptiness, a strange void, rapid weight gain due to emotional eating, and thoughts of self-harm.
My GP was able to diagnose these symptoms as depression. She recommended that I seek counselling and psychological help. My daughter, who was six years old at the time, was suffering vicariously as a result of my condition. I made a conscious decision to follow my GP’s advice.
I lived. In May 2012, I had my brain tumour surgery, months after escaping a 10-year violent marriage. My daughter and I started a new life. And I began a personal journey of healing and self-discovery where I had to start speaking my truth and living my truth.
It was extremely difficult and most challenging to learn ways to cope the incessant mental chatter, depressive symptoms, physical health symptoms, single parenting. I had to learn how to start each day with hope, prayer, and gratitude. Soon, it became clear to me that all change occurs first at the level of thought.
Thoughts affect our words, words affect our deeds. Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds.
Managing depression with your mind power