The Blues

{A few weeks back, I guest-posted on my friend Jillian's blog. Her target audience is the young female interested in homemaking, baby-raising, and living life fully. The below is what I shared.}

We are human, and humans have emotions. Some of those emotions are comfortable. Some are not. Sadness is an emotion that can be uncomfortable but in certain cases it’s appropriate. However, when sadness lingers, and starts to affect your ability to function, please consider that you might not be experiencing simply “the blues” but something deeper that might need to be addressed.

By-the-book depression is defined as having an irritable or sad mood, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness, thoughts of dying, and change in concentration, energy, sleep patterns, or appetite over a period of time lasting at least 2 weeks (DSM V, 2013).

When I see a patient for the first time with concerns for depression, I teach that a certain amount of holistic self-examination needs to take place.

What might I be sad about? Am I grieving a loss? Am I in chronic pain or dealing with another chronic illness? Am I getting restorative sleep? What has my diet been like lately? Am I getting consistent exercise? What state are my finances in? What state are my relationships in? Could there be a medical reason for my sadness? Am I neglecting my spirituality practices? Am I overwhelmed because of the demands on my time? What am I doing that brings me joy? Excellence in all of these areas contribute to happiness.

So, exercise hard. Eat well. Enjoy some sunlight. Sleep deeply. Practice mindfulness or gratefulness. Connect with others. Give of yourself. Spend time in activities that fulfill you. Get into the Word. Reading those promises and receiving encouragement will increase your self-worth and self-value and help you understand your purpose.

If you think your mood might need the help of a professional, consider seeing a therapist or mental health practitioner. There is no shame in this and you are in no way a failure if you have to be on medication to stabilize your mood symptoms. At the same time, medications are not magic pills and cannot solve all your problems. Remember, the key is holistic treatment.

If you are having thoughts about wanting to hurt yourself in some way, you can text the Crisis Line. Text HELLO to 741741. Or grab a girlfriend and let her know you need help. You are loved by someone more than you know.

DISCLAIMER: Thanks for reading the above, but whoever you are: unless you are living in my household (which I think I would have noticed), it’s very unlikely that I have any idea what sort of medical history, medication regimen, allergies, and any other health intricacies you carry. Therefore, you should NOT interpret the above as medical advice for yourself, and instead present this information to your personal clinician for consideration.