Depression and the Act of Living Unconsciously: ways to Identify, Tackle and Eliminate Distress and Anxiety.

Have you noticed that you have been feeling down or worried and that getting through each day is a real struggle? Or do you have a great deal of “social comparison”, were you keep scrolling through your social media feeds only to feel as though peoples lives are far better off than yours. This could be a likelihood of having depression. However, feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as despair and unhappiness takes hold of your life and the feelings just won’t go away, then you are depressed.

Depression as explained by many, is a state of low-mood and dislike of activities that can affect a persons thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and sense of well-being. However temporary, it could be a reaction to life events such as loss of a loved one, a failed business venture or a broken relationship. Depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be simply cured with medication, it is mostly caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. In other words, your lifestyle choices, relationships and coping skills matter just as much or if not more so than genetics.

Even though indications and manifestations varies from person to person, as an individuals  experience is unique and personal, there are still some typical signs and symptoms that can identify depression and a depressive mood. Distress can include a huge range of negative feelings and they are but not limited to Anger or irritability, Concentration problems, Reckless behaviour, Loss of energy, Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, Unexplained aches and pains, Appetite or weight changes, Loss of interest in daily activities, Sleep changes and Self-loathing.

A person begins to have a bleak outlook towards life since the individual sees lack of improvement in a given situation. Therefore, the ability to feel joy and happiness in old hobbies or habits now seem pointless and undesirable. Instead, the person is at this point consumed with feelings of fatigue and sluggishness and therefore experiences a physically drained body that is mostly exhausted during small tasks, which for the most part makes the body feel heavy. Tolerant levels becomes low and quick to anger because of the restlessness and feelings of agitation. Violence is never far off since your temper can no longer be controlled, as people will definitely get on your every nerve.

Consequently, you significantly start to loose or gain weight when over sleeping or insomnia becomes a daily routine during restive periods. Feeling the need to escape, compulsive gambling, substance abuse, dangerous sports and reckless driving becomes an acceptable behaviour. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt for perceived faults and mistakes becomes constant in ones subconscious. As a consequence, you might begin to harshly criticise yourself, which would often times increase physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pain. Please note that some headaches might increases the chances of a stroke or heart attack.

Depression has continued to raise considerably over the years, causing feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, due to “internet flaunted alteration”. It does not help that digital communication occurs at a rapid pace and transmissions that are difficult to process at times could set an individual back if taken too seriously. Aside from the other factors associated with depression, digital revolution with more emphasis on social media has increased the rate of misery and wrong choices and has actively encouraged the act of living unconsciously in a fickle world that promotes hopelessness. As a result of this unfavourable condition, we recently exist with a part of the mind that is inaccessible to the conscious mind, an illusion which affects our behavioural patterns and emotions. “Not feeling right” due to social media delusion can cause a person to think and act differently, a deceitful act that can affect all aspects of an individuals life, sometimes in the most unexpected and cruel way. It could lead to over sleeping- a dear friend of depression- that is associated with diabetes, headaches and heart disease. So therefore, are you oversleeping lately?

“While there are benefits to living in a digital world, there are also risks. Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate, socialise, make and maintain friendships. These days, youth miss out on critical social skills development when they spend the majority of their free time connected to and interacting through a screen. As a consequence, they get lost in a world of unrealistic comparisons, cyberbullying, and feeling left out”

This particular cause of depressive disorder has become very common amongst youths and should be perceived as a serious medical illness, since it negatively affects how they feel, reason and act. The glitz and glamour that social media exudes has contributed immensely to sudden and common symptoms, as they now feel like a failure who have been surpassed by their peers. In most cases, before depression kicks in, bitterness settles in. With the alarming rate of hatred, so much that majority of people are beclouded with dark clouds of negativity, bitterness has now become a norm expressed via social media comment sections and feeds, mainly due to their own frustrations which would eventually lead to downheartedness.

Being bitter or avoiding bitterness is a very sensitive issue, as no one has the right to justify other peoples wrongdoings- what is seen as wrong and a person cannot necessary expect people to manage their jealousy and anger the way they do because we are all different. But, how can a person be of high-spirit or expect desirable things when bitterness has become the pilot of the individual’s life. If possible, avoid the unhealthy fixation on social media feeds, because there are consequences which will take a toll or consume the obsessive persons mental health.

Using social media the wrong way can intensify feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. It is important to recognise that social media is not someones real life, as people tend to make themselves look better off than they really are on these media platforms. These fabricated lifestyles could change how you think, feel and function in your daily activities and can interfere with your ability to sleep, work, eat, study and enjoy life. Do you mostly find yourself comparing oneself to others you consider “better off than me”, saying things like “everyone would be better off without me”, a sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy, talking about killing or harming yourself, calling or visiting people to say goodbye, giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends or trying to cut down on the use of social media without success, then you must get help.

No matter how you experience depression, the feelings of severe dejection and despondency is something not to be taken likely. Fortunately, it is also treatable, but the depressed has to be willing to get help, as it might eventually lead to self-destruction if left untreated. As a consequence, it can become a serious health condition which could lead to suicide.

Talk to someone, anyone. You could talk to yourself in the mirror, just keep talking, speak uplifting words to yourself but after you have accepted your flaws, then devise new methods such as listening to soul searching messages and happy music, watching educative videos and hilarious movies, visiting mentors and loved ones, and planing exciting meet-ups with friends. Also, it could be reading books, enlightening your mind with historic events or volunteering at any event associated with the poorest people. You owe it to yourself to devise a plan for saving your life by any means necessary, but you must do them gradually, from the least stressful activities. It does not matter whether you call it unhappiness, heartbreak, anxiety or depression, the most important thing is that you understand what is happening to you and how or what you can do to feel better and superior. Trust me you are certainly not alone, 1 in 8 men and 1 in 5 women will experience depression at some point in their life.

Depression is in the mind, a place that is very difficult to escape, so you must think thoroughly before it is too late. Therefore, for a chance to completely eliminate depression and attain self-love, you will have to think physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. Focus on how you look after and care for your body, your emotional connections with people and the things closest to you. Also, concentrate on how u communicate with love-interest, how you are linked to your environment and the forces around you, then think about your heritage. At that time, zero in on the things which gives your life meaning.

Due to stigma and the lack of well equipped psychiatric facilities in Nigeria, if symptoms persist for at least three weeks, please contact a nearby friend, close relative or go to the mosque or church, as it is the only reachable uplifting institution we are familiar with in this region of the world. Laughs*

On a more serious note, if you think a friend or family member is depressed and may be considering suicide, express your concern by being available, openly talk about suicidal thoughts and encourage them to seek help immediately.

With love,
X pj.

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