Health (mental too)

Living with Situational Depression

We all have suffered and will suffer loss of some kind during our lives.  We lose relationships, jobs we love, people we love, our homes, our belongings, our routines, etc.  It’s a horrible feeling and sometimes we don’t know what we’re feeling or what to do for ourselves until the feeling passes.

Situational Depression (also called Adjustment Disorder) is when you can clearly define why you are feeling sad.  Diagnosable Clinical Depression is an ongoing sadness for no reason.  Often the two are confused and people who are just having a hard time at life due to loss are diagnosed with Clinical Depression and given a treatment regimen that really isn’t appropriate.

I’ve experienced several major losses in my life and each time I went through a period of deep sadness, but I knew exactly why I was feeling sad.  I also knew that it would pass, because it felt very different than when I had Clinical Depression (ironically while I was taking Paxil).

Over the years I’ve learned several things that can help when you are having Situational Depression.  If you’ve experienced a loss, I hope they can help you too.

Things to do when you have Situational Depression

Feel your feelings – Human beings are meant to experience life and feel things.  You may be feeling angry, sad, disappointed, discouraged or unmotivated after a loss.  That’s okay.  Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling.  We’re all unique beings and we process loss in different ways.  Don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong or that your feelings aren’t normal.  There is no “normal” in this situation.

Tell people how you feel – When close friends or family members ask you “how are you doing?”, tell them.  We often pretend like things are just fine so we don’t appear weak or vulnerable.  Let that go.  The people who love and care about you may be able to shed light on your situation and help you see things in a different way.  Several wonderful friends checked up on me recently and it made a huge difference when I was having a hard time.  I was honest with them about how I was feeling and it developed into wonderful conversations.  Hiding your feelings might actually make you feel worse.  If someone cares enough to ask how you’re doing, then they want to know the real answer.  Tell them!

Do something physical – I’m not a fan of physical activity, but I have to admit that this one works wonders.  When I’m upset, I do a super clean on my house.  I clean dog pens.  I deep clean the carpet.  I declutter drawers and cabinets.  I even clean the stairs.  It gets things done AND it gives my mind something to concentrate on.  If your brain is in a loop of sadness and you can’t seem to stop thinking about your loss then clean something, build something, or go for a walk (or some other form of light exercise).  It keeps your body and your mind busy.

Do something mental – Your brain is a powerful thing, but it can only concentrate on so many things at a time.  Giving it something else to think about can give YOU a break from the sadness.  Do a puzzle (I love word search ones).  Read a book (I am usually working through 3 types of books: a fiction book, a nonfiction book and a self help book – they are great distractions).  Play a game (I love looking for hidden objects).  There are all sorts of game apps for your phone and/or tablet.  Download one and play for a few minutes.

Take care of something living – When I’m sad, my dogs and plants bring me so much comfort.  I give them baths, trim their nails, brush their hair and work on training (the dogs not the plants). It makes me feel loved and useful when I devote energy into taking care of another living creature.

Help someone else – We’re all doing the best we can on this planet with what we’ve been given and nobody REALLY knows what someone else is going through … so offer to help.  Bake something for your elderly neighbor.  Help someone move or declutter their house.  Give encouragement to a friend who’s having a hard time (this is priceless).  Volunteer somewhere in your community.  Helping someone else can really be a mood booster.

Take care of yourself – Being sad and upset can be exhausting so you HAVE to take care of yourself.  Eat healthy foods, take your vitamins, get extra rest and realize that this feeling WILL pass.  Don’t fight the process or try to rush it.  If someone tells you “you should be over it by now”, calmly explain to them that you are processing it in your own way and there’s no time limit on grief.  Then accept their help if they offer it.  If they don’t offer and you need it, ask for it.

Time really does help, but in the meantime I hope these tips can help you too.  They really have helped me.

 


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