Depression ranges far beyond feeling sad and blue. The depression information and resource links below explain that while sad and blue are typically involved; depression bring to life much heavier feelings such as helplessness and despair. It also comes with physical symptoms. You feel like you’re made of lead. Multiple people have described to me feeling as if a very heavy blanket is pressing down on them.
As you might imagine, this sucks. It saps motivation and energy levels faster than my dad’s gigantic 1970 Mercury Marquis cruise liner drained gas. (On long trips, my brother and I could put couch cushions into the foot wells of the back seat – without squeezing them to fit – and make bunk beds. One could stretch out comfortably across the vast back seat, and the other on the “lower bunk” of cushions. Gives you a sense of why fuel economy was… missing.)
Depression Packs a Punch
I remember as a bright-eyed young social worker in my first job (The Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital… not exactly a place for fun family vacations) experiencing for the first time someone with acute depression. If this man’s life was a video, someone had set the playback speed on slow-motion. His body moved slowly. Not just walking speed; but everything. Hand gestures. Chewing. He spoke slowly. It was amazing — and painful — to watch.
Thankfully, depression does not always debilitate severely. But even when milder, it is no treat.
More Than Just Chemistry
Without a doubt, you have come across the idea of depression as a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. Nope. A popular but outdated view, this idea presents an oversimplified and narrow view. I still hear people talk about it, unfortunately. Multiple contributing factors feed depression. I’ve blogged about one of these; negative and innacurate thoughts and beliefs. These represent just one ingredient in the “fuel” which drives depression.
Therefore, I strongly recommend The Antidepressant Skills Workbook. A couple of generous psychologists on the Canadian west coast created this fantastic — and free — PDF book. It explains depression in much more detail than I have above. The reader learns three specific areas of skill which effectively combat depression. As well, the book emphasizes the importance of various wellness practices, such as nutrition, sleep, and exercise. All of these help to improve mood.
Download a workbook to learn about depression and start resisting its influence.
Choose the first link for an adult version, and the second for a youth version.
The Antidepressant Skills Workbook:
To quote from the book’s website : “The Antidepressant Skills Workbook (ASW) gives an overview of depression, explains how it can be effectively managed according to the best available research, and gives a step-by-step guide to changing patterns that trigger depression.”
Antidepressant Skills for Teens:
Produced by the same folks as the workbook above. This one focuses on teenagers; written to be more accessible for youth.