Depressed adults are not unique in America. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “In a given year approximately one quarter of adults are diagnosable for one or more disorders.”
Writers tend to be among the most depressed it seems. Every year, I can count on at least one of my fellow writers falling victim to the big D.
The degree of depression varies. A person may have minor depression that lasts for just a couple of days, or it may be so severe that medical treatment is required.
Many writers are short on funds, and some have little to no health insurance. However, depending on the severity of the depression, writers can cope with it in a budget-friendly way.
I’m no medical doctor, but I have experienced depression in my life. Here are some tips that I believe help.
Communicate with family and friends
When we’re depressed, we tend to want to shut out the world. We don’t look our best. We don’t feel our best. And therefore, we don’t want people seeing us not at our best. However, I find that shutting people out is the wrong move. The more you open up and let people into your life, the less depressed you may start to feel.
Focus on your diet
When I get depressed, I eat junk food or food that is lacking in nutritional value. Why? It’s because these foods taste good, and when I’m depressed I want to make myself feel better. The problem with these foods is that, like a drug, you get a temporary high, and then you’re back to feeling like crap again. So, you stuff your mouth with more junk food. Resist the temptation to grab the potato chips and instead, focus on eating whole foods and drinking lots of water. When you’re depressed, you’ll feel better when you put healthy foods into your body.
Get your sleep
Whenever I’m feeling blue, I love to stay up late and watch documentary TV. For example, I’m addicted to the BIO channel. I’ll stay up late at night and watch shows I’ve taped like “I Survived” or “Notorious” or some other show on BIO. Then I won’t get to bed until 1 or 2 a.m., and then I’ll have to get back up at 6:30 a.m. to start my writing day. The result is a lack of sleep which affects my brain and my overall well-being. There seems to be nothing that adds to my depression more than lack of sleep.
“Normal sleep is a restorative state. However, when sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension, vigilance, and irritability,” reports WebMD. “Poor sleep can lead to fatigue. With fatigue, you exercise less, and that leads to a decline in your fitness level. Eventually, you find yourself in a vicious cycle of inactivity and disturbed sleep, which causes both physical and mood-related symptoms.”
So get your sleep. If you are having chronic sleep difficulties, you may need medical attention.
Get out of the house
As a full-time writer who works from home, this is a big one for me, and it ties in with not wanting to see anyone when I’m depressed. It’s easy to remain in the house, safe within your walls, when you’re depressed. If you stay behind closed doors, no one can see you, and you won’t have to worry about interacting with anyone. However, I find that if I force myself to get out, take a walk, go to the health club, go out with a friend, I get connected again to the real world and what it takes to function in the real world.
Some swear by herbal supplements to help with depression, such as the supplement St. John’s Wort. Dr. Oz offers some suggestions at Oprah’s website.
Seek affordable medical attention
As reported at NIMH, “Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.”
But what’s the problem with treatment? It cost money. I’m lucky in that my husband and I have good medical insurance. If I were to ever seek medical attention for depression, my insurance would cover it. However, as I stated earlier, many writers I know don’t have adequate health insurance. One thing these writers can do is visit an urgent care center and have them recommend a doctor who will work with patients without insurance. Check out this article at Money Crashers for excellent tips on how to get affordable medical care without insurance.
Depression can be an inconvenience, and sometimes it can be debilitating. However, no one should have to live with it. There can be an end to it, even if you’re on a budget.