Things You Should Know About Depression

What is depression?

Depression is characterized by at least two weeks of persistent low mood.  Depression affects your energy level, your self-esteem, and more. It can away your ability to enjoy things that you once found enjoyable or meaningful. 

Depression isn’t the same thing as just feeling sad. When bad things happen to us, or life is stressful, it’s appropriate for us to feel bad about them. That’s just part of being alive. But when those feelings spiral out of control and affect our daily life for long stretches of time, that’s when you need to look at treatment.

Depression is an illness. Just like any other illness, it can be treated. Just as people with diabetes don't have the appropriate amount of insulin, people with depression don't have the appropriate amount of certain chemicals in the brain that enable them to experience life the way they should. Telling people to “try harder,” or to “cheer up,” isn’t particularly helpful. You don’t tell a person with a broken leg to “get over it.” You give them time to treat their condition. You encourage them. You help where you can and you don’t push them into making it worse. Helping someone through depression is very similar.

Image: Chris Barbalis, via Unsplash.

Cover image: Marantha Pizarras, Unsplash.

Did you know...

  • Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.
  • There are many factors that contribute to your body odor, but one of the strongest links is our diet. This may be some bad news for meat-lovers because many studies have shown that those who refrained from or ate less red meat were judged as being more pleasant smelling. The meat sweats are real, and they don’t smell great!
  • Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!
  • Do you know what the strongest muscle in your body is? No, it’s not your biceps or your thighs. It’s actually in your head. The masseter is a muscle in the jaw that is used when chewing. When all of the muscles of the jaw work together, they can exert a force as strong as 200 pounds on the molars. That’s some serious pressure.
  • Does your job make you stressed? We all know that stress is psychologically bad for you, but it also has an effect on…your allergies? A Harvard Medical School study has shown that stress causes your allergies to become worse because your body's defense response loses efficacy when repeatedly triggered by stress. Then, when you really need to physically fight something off, you're less able to!