Depression can feel extremely isolating. If you are experiencing signs of depression during this time, you aren’t alone. A recent study reported that nearly a quarter of people are experiencing symptoms of depression. That’s nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Rates of depression are especially high since the pandemic is an ongoing, long-term trauma. And the mental health effects are especially prevalent among people with less social support and financial resources.
The best thing we can do during this time is make sure we are taking care of ourselves. It’s important to be aware of the signs of depression, so that you can seek help through therapy and consult other tools for managing depression.
Signs of Depression
Depression is much more than being sad. It is a serious mental health condition that can affect every part of your life. Here are common symptoms to look out for:
- Feeling down or sad
- Lack of interest
- Difficulty staying focused
- Feeling foggy or disoriented
- Feelings of anxiety
- Irregular sleep patterns and fatigue
- Irregular eating patterns or change in appetite
- Feeling lost, hopeless, directionless
- Recurrent thoughts about death
Acknowledge That These Aren’t Normal Circumstances
No one should be too hard on themselves for feeling difficult emotions during this time. The pandemic has brought uncertainty and instability to our lives, which can take a toll on our mental health. Try to be kind to yourself and forgiving right now by reminding yourself that you are doing the best you can with what is going on.
Challenge Negative Thinking
Having negative thoughts is a normal part of life. But when these thoughts become overwhelming, challenging them can be difficult. It’s important to try to not let negative thinking consume you. Practice identifying these thoughts and questioning if they are true. You can also try shifting your focus towards gratitude, for more uplifting, positive thinking. Focusing on gratitude and noticing what is going well in your life can also help you recall the numerous times that you faced a challenge and made it through. You're more resilient than you think!
Meet Your Basic Needs
With depression, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning can be a difficult task. Before trying to manage too much, focus on your basic needs first. Prioritize sleep, eating healthy meals and physical exercise first. Try to avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, since the short high usually will result in a rebound of depression or anxiety. Once your basic needs are met, then you can also focus on making time for the things you enjoy in life as well.
To combat feelings of isolation, it’s important to make time for relationships that are meaningful to you, with friends and family. Carving out even a short amount of time to chat over the phone or go on a walk will keep you connected with your loved ones. Right now, it will help a lot to have a support system of people who you can talk to and who will be there through the tough times.
Stay Informed, But Limit Exposure
While it’s important to stay informed about everything that is going on right now, too much media exposure can leave us feeling worse and less hopeful. It’s perfectly okay to set limits on the amount of time you spend consuming the news or scrolling through social media.
Seek Out Support
If you are feeling like you are experiencing symptoms of depression, you don’t have to go through it alone. It can make a huge difference when you have a qualified professional to talk to who you can trust to listen and give you the tools to manage depression. You can request an appointment with our therapists right now, for online telehealth counseling sessions. Many of our therapists are specialized in treating depression and are here to help you through this time.
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