Do you sometimes wonder if you are experiencing a clinical depression?
Sometimes it is hard to know whether we are going through a phase in our lives where we are in the midst of a sad, low energy slump or whether we might be experiencing the kind of debilitating depression that might need further mental health or medical assistance.
Sadness and loss are part of the texture of being a human animal. There is no one way to travel the grieving journey, but it is important to be kind to yourself if you are experiencing the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one or simply dealing with the painful transitions that are part of every student’s life.
During these times of transition or sadness, ramp up your SELF-CARE . . . . . . take time for some of those long, hot baths and comforting chats with friends or family. Just taking a walk outside in nature can help soothe your nervous system.
Vancouver Blogger, Meagan Bruneau, shares some more ideas for coping with sadness and depression by using mindful awareness strategies to explore some of the thinking patterns that loop in your mind and contribute to feeling stuck:
Radical self-care also includes making sure that you are getting great nutrition, sticking to a sleep schedule and getting exercise. Some research has shown that yoga and cardio work-outs are as effective as medications in stabilizing moods for those who are experiencing sadness, stress or mild depression.
However, if it seems that
prolonged lack of energy and concentration
or serious disruptions to sleep, mood and eating
visit you for longer than a couple weeks, you should consider getting some assessment and support. Depression can be devastatingly lonely and we still seem to have so much shame and stigma around mental health struggles and admitting to ourselves and others that we are not coping the way we think we should be. The more depressed we become, the more our thoughts become distorted and it becomes extremely difficult to remember any of our strengths and resources and reach out to people for support.
MindCheck has some quizzes that help you to assess your current state of mind. These are NOT diagnoses, but help you to understand your own mind and make some decisions about what might be helpful.
Similarly, Here-to-Help has a screening test and tons of suggestions in their took-kits for looking at your thought patterns and life-style choices to help you cope. Some students have completed these assessments and printed them out to take with them if they decide it would be helpful to talk to a counsellor, doctor or mental health professional.
If you have strong negative feelings that persist and they are interfering with your ability to get to classes, study or connect with family and friends, please reach out to one of the the following services:Selkirk Counsellors: 250-352-6601 (Nelson) 250-365-1273 (Castlegar) Nelson Mental Health 250-354-7248 Castlegar Mental Health 250-304-1846 Trail Mental Health 250-364-6262 The Kootenays Crisis Line:
is available 24/7 to listen and help you find the right services. If you have one of those times where it is 3:00 a.m. and worries and sadness are tormenting you, please call this number and you will find compassionate, non-judgmental listeners.
It can also be a good idea to connect with your family doctor or go to a Walk-in Clinic. Sometimes there are other medical issues that are contributing to your low mood or energy or if your doc thinks you are experiencing a significant depression he/she might discuss with you some of the pharmaceutical options that many people have found incredibly helpful. Research supports that for many people the best route out of a major depression is finding the right personal combination of medication, counselling support and a healthy life-style. Each person and situation is unique so it might take a little patience and perseverance to try different options and figure out the wellness plan that fits you the best.
Nelson Walk-In 250-352-4666
Castlegar Walk-in 250-365-7717
* If you have suicidal feelings that seem so strong that you worry that you might act on them, either phone the crisis line and they will help you figure out the next steps to get assessment and take care of your self or get yourself immediately to the nearest hospital and talk to someone in Emergency.
So – – life can totally suck some times. Heart break, disappointment, loss, grief and sadness are some of the terrain that we will probably all cross at some point in our lives. Depression, however, is a medical state that impacts your body and mind in a way that makes it really difficult to function in the world. Whether you are dealing with a case of the blues or a dark depression, reaching out for help takes courage, but you’ll be surprised that there are people out there waiting to help you find your way back to being yourself and living a rich fulfilled life!
Here are two great videos – one animated, one done by a 19 year old Vancouver student dealing with depression:
Have you dealt with depression or long periods of sadness? What helped you get through? What suggestions would you give to other students who are struggling?