Have you ever noticed there are certain words that get overused and tend to lose their meaning? Think of the word love. People say things like, “I love those shoes,” or “I love that lamp,” but come on…how can you love a lamp?

The same is true for the word depressed. It’s common for someone who is having a bad day or whose favorite sports team lost to say they’re depressed. But, depression itself is much deeper and real than some passing mood.

In a recent article titled 6 Things I Didn’t Know About Depression Until It Happened To Me, three people diagnosed with depression share insights on what they’ve learned about this medical condition. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with depression, you may find these six things very helpful:

  1. You didn’t do anything wrong – People struggling with depression can struggle with the question, “What’s wrong with me?” as though they did something to cause it. Depression is a medical condition. It’s about a person’s brain chemistry, not personal faults.
  2. Depression can be exhausting – Trying to maintain a lifestyle while battling depression takes a tremendous amount of energy. Getting out of bed, going to work, and trying to live life as “normal” is twice as hard for someone who is depressed. Many don’t know just how exhausted they are until after they’ve been diagnosed and begin treatment.
  3. Exercise can help – It may see counter-intuitive to someone battling depression, but those who shared their experiences see the value in going out and getting some exercise. Why? Because exercise actually changes our brain chemistry, which is where the problem actually lies.
  4. Writing can help, too – Whether it’s pen and paper, on a Word document or through a blog, writing can unlock a lot of things that are pent up inside. As one person described it: “When you write, it opens up parts of your brain you didn’t know were there.”
  5. It’s an ongoing effort – It’s not like a light switch that can just be flipped and forgotten. Overcoming depression is an ongoing effort that requires a plan and persistence. Don’t forget to include others in the journey. Help from friends, family and your doctor can help over the long haul.
  6. Depression relapse is real and it doesn’t mean you failed – In the battle to overcome depression, there will likely be setbacks. It’s not always smooth sailing. But, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that your doomed to stay down. Others who are recovering admit there are ups and downs, so you’re not alone. Being aware that relapse is possible can help you recognize it so you can get the help you need.
Going Deeper

If you or someone you know may be struggling with depression, help is just a phone call away.

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