If you or someone close to you are feeling down, then the last thing you want is to have to read a thesis on what you can do that might give you a sense of immediate help.
So you need to establish your, or your loved ones “mood” level.
This list of questions might help:
Score the questions for yourself or your loved one in the table below.
Answer: Not at all – score 0
Answer: Several Days – score 1
Answer: More than half the days – score 2
Answer: Nearly every day – score 3
1) Do you or the person concerned have little interest or pleasure in everyday activities?
2) Do you/they feel down, depressed, or hopeless?
3) Do you/they have trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
4) Do you/they feel tired or have little energy?
5) Do you/they have a poor appetite or overeat?
6) Do you/they feel bad about your/their self – or that you/they are a failure or have let your/their self or family down?
7) Do you/they have trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
8) Do you/they move or speak so slowly that other people could have noticed?
9) Do you/they fidget or appear restless or that you/they have been moving around a lot more than usual?
10) Do you/they have thoughts that you/they would be better off dead, or of hurting your/their self in some way?
Add your scores on each answer and this may give you some greater awareness of your/their state of mind.
If you have scored 5 or more, please speak to someone, even if it’s just a friend, THERE’S NO SHAME in asking for help, despite the stigma and judgement that society has imposed on us in the past, IN FACT it takes great courage to ask for help.
Depression and mental health are STILL treated with such IGNORANCE it’s almost impossible to believe. Anyway…..let’s say, you have established the diagnosis indicates you are suffering from depression, what can you do about it?
Here is a practical list of dietary modifications you can try, if you are of a mind to, which may help.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
There are many foods which are thought to help someone suffering from depression (BE VERY CAREFUL IF YOU HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES or ARE DIABETIC – SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR).
Although I have read many, many books on depression, quite simply you might just want a list of things you can try, so I’m going to cut to the chase, but bear this in mind: drugs, or dietary changes may not appear to work for up to three weeks.
- Fish, particularly oily fish. High concentrations of Omega 3 taken three times a day have helped many people.
- Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, legumes, chicken and turkey, (high in Selenium).
- Black tea, but no caffeinated tea/coffee/cola after midday.
- Dark chocolate in moderation two or three small squares a day.
- Dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale (known as cruciferous vegetables).
- Beans and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and others).
Many of these foods are high in Selenium. This is proven, to often improve mood and depressive symptoms. Research hints that Selenium may be used in the future as a preventive measure or in the treatment of depression or other psychiatric conditions. If you are experiencing depression, Selenium deficiency might be the culprit.
To add to this try and stay away from booze, alcohol is a depressant.
Keep yourself well hydrated, but be careful. You can drink too much water.
Let your body tell you when it needs a drink.
What we experience as hunger, can sometimes be dehydration, so have a glass of room temperature water before eating.
Another choice that may be available to you, try to minimise the amount of processed food you eat.
You’re better off eating a raw carrot, an apple and a handful of almonds than going to one of the very well-known hamburger or pizza franchises.
It may help you to visualise building a toolkit for dealing with your depression. Other items that might be in your “toolkit” are:
- Some kind of exercise, it might be something as little as a walk round the block.
- Writing or painting, Art can be an exceptionally cathartic and a safe way of expression.
- Offer help to someone else, perhaps an elderly neighbour, you might be amazed how this can affect your own self-image.
- If you find you have confusion in your mind, have difficulty focusing on a task; dedicate a journal, to your “thoughts”. Write your thoughts down. As your entries and writing develop, you can look back and see how your mood changes.
- If you have a favourite activity, make time for regular engagement in this activity. It helps to have something to look forward to.
- Sleep is vitally important; I call this sleep hygiene.
- Drink 1 cup of chamomile Tea say 1 hour before bedtime.
- Put a drop or two of lavender essential oil on your pillow….NO MORE THAN two.
- If you’re going to exercise in the day, do it early.
- If you are going to shower, do it at least a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Get a blackout blind for your bedroom.
- Keep well hydrated during the day, so that as you move towards the end of the day you need to hydrate less. This means less chance of needing the bathroom in the night.
- Wear earplugs if noise is an issue.
- Wear eye patches if light is an issue.
- If possible have a window open or slightly ajar as this will promote circulation of air.
- The bedroom is meant for sleep; remove books, TV, radio or any connected electrical appliance.
- Try not to drink caffeine after midday.
- It’s thought the TYPE of light emitted by iPhones and some android devices trick the brain into thinking that it’s daytime, so turn off your phone and read or watch TV say three hours before sleep.
- Write down the issues that are causing you irritation, worry, angst. If you are inclined to deal with them, do so early in the day.
- If your pillows are old, they may be comfortable, but they may hold a lot of allergens. If you can’t afford to buy a new one then wash your old one at a minimum of 60 degrees Celsius.
A PARTING THOUGHT
The above image and quote from T.D. Jakes, says it all.
You see, the fact that you are reading this means that you refuse to let this blasted disease ruin your life. By default, therefore, YOU ARE A CHAMPION.
I wish you all well in the coming week.
Love, peace, and courage are with you my friends.