Living and coping with depression.

Ways Out Of Depression

Take the disease seriously. Do not hesitate to seek medical help if you suffer from depression. Depression is a true disease of the whole person and not just a mood disorder. It involves changes:

  • Experiencing (sadness, hopelessness, insult, denial, frustration),
  • Thinking (disasters, negative generalizations),
  • Behavior or drive (social withdrawal, inactivity) and
  • Of the body (nervousness, insomnia, heart trouble etc.).

Severe depression can change one’s entire life, involve the environment and, in extreme cases, trigger suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

The medical “depression” is to be distinguished from the common term in colloquial language, which among other things also describes a temporary mood depression. Some also use terms such as “blues” or (seasonally) “winter blues”.

Understand Depression

Think of depression as a severe exhaustion, as it can be described as the image of a “nervous breakdown” or a feeling of “having nerves in the end.” A depression has nothing to do with “craziness”, “brain destruction” or a fault. Frequently, the body lacks “messenger substances” that transmit information in the nervous system.

Sometimes the depression even appears to be “reasonable” if it causes the patient to freeze, thus protecting him from further self-harm (in the form of pathological behavior) and, at the same time, making the environment more vulnerable. Depression can be understood as a long-lasting loss, insult and defiance reactions, in which the thoughts revolve around disappointment, anger and grief.

Sufferers suffer from severely impaired self-esteem (“worth-nothing”, “nothingness”) and are emotionally over-burdened (after attention, understanding, love and symbiotic closeness.) People dare not share or communicate their desires, fantasies or expectations in a direct way.

Seek Professional Help

Describe as soon as possible all your symptoms to your general practitioner or specialist (especially the mental and those that affect taboos, such as sexuality). Do not be shy to even address suicidal thoughts.

Get rid of the prejudice that mental illness is an expression of weakness. If you suspect a depression as the cause of your symptoms, express your suspicion without reservation. In this way, you gain valuable time and save yourself unnecessary suffering because depression can be treated very well.

Your doctor knows that depression is neither a “fashion phenomenon” nor an expression of laziness or indignity. The therapist takes them seriously and knows how skillfully, sufferers can sometimes hide behind physical symptoms.

Detect Your Triggers

Although sometimes a particular stroke of fate appears as a trigger (loss, insult, failure of plans and opportunities for life), many depressions are the culmination of a long chain of burdens in which the last drop overflows.

Unfavorable habits of thinking, rigid patterns of behavior and one-sided expectations of the environment persistently keep the depression alive. Depressed people usually complain of a “lack” (often in the form of affection and genuine appreciation).

This can’t be subsequently compensated by family members and therapists in the form of a “compensation”. As far as there is a solution, it usually consists of mourning the missing and replacing it with one’s own (new) behavior.

Depression can also be understood as an invitation to realize previously unrealized possibilities in the future (to develop yourself personally, to become more independent, to enjoy, etc.).

Preserve Hope

Trust that your suffering is very good, even if you see everything black at the moment. Countless people in front of you have coped successfully with depression.

Be Patient

Depression comes and goes rarely out of the blue. Often, they have a longer history and lead to a feeling of complete exhaustion or great emptiness. As one gradually fills up an empty tank, it takes time for depression, until sufficient energy is available again through medication and unlearning power-consuming behaviors. Recharge your batteries with the knowledge “It’s better to move forward slowly than not to move forward at all.”

It’s Okay To Get Help

Protect yourself from personal and foreign pressure. Be aware that depressive people usually have high expectations of themselves. Often, they are perfectionists who want to do everything 200 percent and put themselves under massive pressure to perform. The environment is amplified by appropriate appeals like “Pull yourself together”.

So, understand your mental illness as an invitation to rid yourself of pathogenic behaviors, attitudes and sources of stress. Accept that at the moment you can’t meet many requirements anymore and expressly allow yourself to be depressed (to complain, to cry, etc.).

Give yourself a temporary sick leave to recharge your batteries and improve your lifestyle in peace. Sometimes a hospital stay can be the best way to escape the internal and external stress.

“Treat yourself to relief” does not mean that you should now crawl into bed and have it completely taken care of.

This is fine for a start. In the long run, however, you will have more of it if you commit yourself to become more efficient and physically and mentally resilient again.

Accept Depression

Do not “fight” your “depression” (and therefore a part of your person). Depressed people are often far too aggressive against themselves. Prefer to be more depressed, especially as it can sometimes be very helpful to others. Since 10 to 15 percent of all people suffer from depression at least once in their lives, the corresponding predisposition apparently belongs to the human race.

Value Yourself

Also, be aware of the strengths and benefits of depression. Thus, depressed people are often very persistent and reliable. They are performance-related, are oriented towards social ideals and appear modest, since they rarely openly aggressive.

They are very sensitive, warmhearted and capable of deep experience. As a partner, they are affectionate and close to each other. They don’t rush, but re- and over consider much from caution rather multiple times. They are very self-critical and stand by their own “guilt”.

They are the classic helpers who don’t hesitate to take responsibility for others and to sacrifice themselves if necessary. Therefore, they are often appreciated in their families and their jobs.

How Depression Affects Others

Through persistent complaints (from the other’s point of view: “eternal whining” or “complaining”) depressive people express their aggressiveness.

Although it is directed against the sick, it can provoke other people’s impatience and rejection (counter-aggression). The constant self-accusations, a hurt-defiant behavior, the appeal to help and the simultaneous failures of the helper make the helper eventually angry and disappointed.

He feels the intensity of his feelings, while the depressive often does not feel anything. The often-repeated statement “I do not help,” the helper then understands as “You can’t help me either”.

Thus, depression often severely tests the frustration tolerance of family members, friends, acquaintances, physicians and other helpers.

In many cases, they have to endure the annoyance that the depressive actually has towards other important caregivers. Not infrequently, people in the environment are literally “infected”, so that they also feel temporarily devoid of emotions, value, interest and will.

When depressive people cling to themselves, they often take “air” away from others. In order not to suffocate, the latter then go at a distance and thus reinforce the fear of the depressive, rejected and left alone.

In your own interest, put yourself in the person of your helpers again and again, even if this is difficult for you.

Mood Calendar

Depressed people tend to see everything black (they generalize to their own disadvantage). Even if some things work out in the daily routine and for others a tendency for improvement becomes visible, the depressive continues to experience “everything as terrible and hopeless”. In this situation, you help yourself if you rate your condition several times a day and note the result.

With the help of such a “mood calendar” you keep a mirror in mind. It counteracts the danger that in retrospect, you perceive things much distorted. At the same time, make it easier for your doctor to check the treatment effect.

Get Active; Do Something

Mood and behavior influence each other. You notice it yourself: Because of your depression you have nothing to do and would prefer to crawl somewhere and stay there. You may hope that you will catch up again as soon as you feel better.

It is better to do the reverse: Do something at all and let yourself be surprised that it is going uphill again. Leave your bed and get out of the chair. Because like fire and water, healthy activity and depression are hardly compatible.

In addition to your mood, also keep an activity calendar. If everything goes well, your mood will increase with increasing activity. Examples of activities are: walking, cycling, tidying up the house, gardening, reading, calling friends, getting dressed, making-up, etc.

Create a comprehensive list of well-managed activities that are personally pleasing to you and that can be stimulating on a daily basis.

The Role of Exercise

Take advantage of the anti-depressive effect of athletic exercise. Obviously, sport releases messengers in the body that relax and improve mood.

Endurance sports such as walking (fast walking), jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. have proven to be particularly successful. Bicycling has the advantage of opening up new spaces and possibly a sense of freedom through excursions.

Your family doctor will be happy to advise you. Sport is also good for reducing anger and fury in a healthy way.

Taking Responsibility

Depressed people are often mastering in helping others and putting themselves back. They claim to have to “please everyone”. Conversely or unconsciously, they often expect the same thing, namely that others are fully committed to them.

To the chagrin of many depressives, this bill does not always work out. Also, depressive people like to transfer the entire responsibility for their healing on their doctor (“You are the doctor”).

They are happy to seduce him to believe that they can “save” this patient in any case. Accordingly, they are even more disappointed, even if the doctor “fails”.

Avoid the impending “disappointment trap”. Do not rely exclusively on outside help, but actively contribute to your recovery. Take responsibility for the healing process.

The Power of Thinking

Some therapists believe that depression is particularly a disease of “thinking”. Because depressive people tend to see everything black (especially themselves, the future, the environment and the previous own experiences).

They generalize in excess (“No one loves me”, “Nothing can do more” “Everything was in vain”). According to the “all-or-nothing principle” they often expect to be “completely healthy” again.

At the same time, those affected overlook the fact that they manage to get dressed, to prepare breakfast and to close the apartment.

But none of this applies or is hidden. Depressed people think very schematically, have intrusive “automatic thoughts”, to which they are brooding. They suffer from the idea that events and situations can’t be influenced by their own behavior.

Failure is attributed to one’s own person, successes to chance (“all happiness only”) or other external factors. Especially for depressed people, it has therefore proven to be consistent to practice how to describe facts precisely, meaningfully researching causes, creating relationships and thus thinking realistically.

A corresponding training offers the cognitive behavioral therapy.

Recognize Self-Esteem Issues

Depressed people often feel “too short-lived” in life. They keep this feeling of “too little” alive in different ways (in the form of “nothing worth being”, “no one’s being”, “nothingness”).

They experience themselves as people who constantly must fight for everything, that they can’t never get something without problems or even own things in abundance, they can’t take anything and nothing is given to them.

Therefore, depressive people usually suffer from low self-esteem, which is particularly dependent on their own performance associated recognition (“I am what I do”). Any threat to performance threatens their self-esteem.

In addition, they tend to constantly devaluate themselves and their achievements. Hungry, they wait for confirmation from others, from whose opinion they make themselves dependent.

At the same time, however, they are suspicious of the confirmation of the environment (which they themselves demand) because they unconsciously see through the vicious circle.

Improve Your Self Image

Solve the dilemma described by asking other people for positive feedback (observations) on your person. Thank you for compliments and refrain from further comments.

Get rid of the shame-based thinking automaton “What will others think or expect of me?” Take less care of others and more about yourself. Distinguish between your value as a human being and the value of your accomplishments.

Embrace Healthy Aggression

Often people with depression are aggressive towards themselves, which can be expressed for example in the form of head, stomach, muscle or joint pains and in extreme cases even in suicide.

Don’t close your eyes to aggressive thoughts (“I’d like to kill him”). Thoughts and fantasies are harmless and natural.

They are neither reprehensible nor do they make the person guilty. Also accept anger and fury as feelings that every human being may have. Such emotions are at best problematic if they lead to thoughtless acts.

However, aggressive thoughts alone will not make you an “aggressive person”. Try to express your anger, even if it’s hard for you. Your environment will be even more willing to accept your ideas the less reproachful you formulate them.

Describe how you feel about certain experiences and refrain from indicting others. Those who are charged must first of all take care of their own defense and will therefore no longer come up with the idea to help you.

Embrace Independence

Depressed people often cling to others. They have not learned to part without falling into uncertainty, fear and despair.

In conversations and encounters they can sometimes be difficult to draw a line (they still remember something worth sharing).

Also, of things many depressives can hardly separate from. It’s like clinging to something. In general, depression could also be counted as “addiction”.

If you recognize yourself in this description, your healing will progress even faster if you manage to be yourself and more on your own.

Beware of Life-Changing Choices

Beware of making basic decisions (marriage, moving, divorce, having children, dismissing, changing your job) in a state of severe depression or having others take you.

If you later regret such decisions, you may become even more depressed.

It is also usually unpleasant for those involved when you learn that your decision (marriage, childbirth) is primarily about self-healing.

Psychotherapy

A combination of drug and psychotherapeutic treatment works best against depression. Therefore, treat yourself to psychotherapy if you are suffering from depression, whose end is not in sight.

Ask the psychotherapist beforehand what experiences he has with depression treatments and if he can handle them.

After all, it is by no means easy to treat depressive people because they complain a lot and overly devalue themselves and others, preferring to focus on failures.

Also, a therapist must be able to constructively deal with the anger of depressive patients, who sometimes direct them to the therapist, even though they are actually considered to be other important caregivers.

Group therapies have the advantage of providing more than one caregiver (the therapist). This is especially important if you are very lonely.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants normalize a disturbed metabolism in the brain by influencing so-called messenger substances (in particular norepinephrine and serotonin). They do not make you dependent and are ineffective in healthy people. Their effect is usually delayed (at the latest after two to three weeks). That’s why you should not end their intake too soon.

Take Antidepressants Responsibly

Antidepressants take a few days to develop their effects noticeably. The antidepressants available today are not the same for all patients. Therefore, it may be useful to replace one antidepressant by another with insufficient effect.

The same applies to the case that an effective antidepressant unfolds unpleasant side effects. Only if after three to four weeks still no significant improvement has occurred, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about the change of the drug.

Look forward to such a step with trust and hope. Unfortunately, there are still no tests that can predict which antidepressant a particular patient will respond to best. Do not change the dosage by hand, especially if your condition fluctuates.

Maintain the dosage especially if the antidepressant helps you. This is a convincing reason to continue the treatment and not a reason to stop it.

For recurrent depression, even a long-term therapy may be appropriate.

If no side effects are observed, you can see this as an expression of pleasingly good drug tolerance and not as an indication of lack of efficacy.

How to Support Your Child with Depression

It’s hard seeing someone you love deal with depression. And in a child, depression can be even more difficult to deal with.

Depression is an invisible force, strong and oppressive. And no matter how hard you work, there’s only so much you can ever do to help your loved one. The rest of you has to watch the pain and comprehend the thoughts, and find a way through it all, answering questions you’d never want to hear, and feeling frustration.

Being depressed is a horrible experience. Watching someone struggle with depression unable to take it away from them can be bad, too. But your words still have meaning, and your actions still matter. You can help and support your child, now and forever.

With the right treatment and the right approach, your presence can keep your child alive, and even help them smile again. The first thing you need to do is know what your child is dealing with – and then you need to get informed. Learning as much as you can about depression and your child’s thoughts and experiences is critical.

Know What Depression Is

Depression is misunderstood. There has been no shortage of confusing and conflicting information on the topic of depression, and the clinical verbiage around the subject is difficult to penetrate from a lay person’s perspective.

Many people think of depression as a single disease, or a mood. Some see depression as a symptom, others believe all cases of depression occur when the brain malfunctions.

All these statements include a grain of truth. Depression most commonly refers to MDD, or major depressive disorder.

This is condition that affects about 6.7% of the American adult population, disproportionately affecting teens and women. An estimated 2 to 3 percent of children struggle with serious depressive symptoms.

Major depressive disorder is diagnosed through the severity of the depression, rather than the cause. Causes come in many shapes and sizes, although generally speaking, most severe depressions involve either other mental disorders, neurochemicals or hormone issues regarding mood regulation, while mild depressive symptoms are often caused by stress or lifestyle choices. Again: this is not always true.

Depression Comes In Many Forms

Think of depression as a spectrum, with less severe cases on one side, and more severe cases on another. Everything within the spectrum of depression is considered destructive enough to count as a disorder – the goal is not to diagnose sadness, but to diagnose the kind of sadness that it unusually prominent and often crops up for no reason at all.

Sadness is an emotion felt in response to something sad. Depressive episodes do not require triggers, and can go off for any number of reasons, even at times when a person should arguably be at their happiest.

From severe manic depression to MDD, dysthymia, PMD and more, depression comes in many different forms based on how and when it’s triggered, what affects it, and its severity. Knowing how and why your child is depressed can help you better understand how to help.

Talk to a Professional

Do not attempt to diagnose your child alone, or through a knowledgeable friend. Seek out a professional. It’s not easy to determine whether someone has depression or is going through temporary sadness, and diagnostic methods involve a mixture of self-reporting and physical tests.

Professionals will ask questions about a patient’s lifestyle, habits, moods, and behaviors, observing and taking notes. Everything from eating habits and weight loss/gain to a blood test will help a mental health professional reach a conclusive diagnosis.

Other things professionals watch out for include speech habits, slowed body movements, pacing, sighing, and peculiarities in a person’s way of talking (making frequent self-deprecating comments and exhibiting very low self-esteem).

Many parents intuitively know when their child is going through something difficult, but only a professional can help diagnose what it might be, and how it might have started.

How Depression Is Treated

From there comes the hard part – figuring out a treatment process. Depending on several factors, doctors and therapists will often recommend antidepressants for cases of severe depression, where suicidal ideation is common.

However, pills alone won’t do the trick – lifestyle changes, coupled with changes at home, as well as therapeutic ways to relieve symptoms are all part of a complete treatment package. Some people don’t respond well to medication, but do enjoy therapy, and find it helps them keep depression at bay.

Others find self-help books and tips useful, while many find them only fleetingly helpful, if at all. It may also take time to find the right kind of medication for your child, as there are several kinds of antidepressants, and several brands per kind.

Treating underlying conditions may also be key to eliminating depressive symptoms. A disease that affects hormone production, such as hypothyroidism, can cause depression.

For adolescents, problems affecting their cycle can also cause severe mood swings and depression as part of the usual premenstrual symptoms.

Many other diseases, infections and deficiencies could be factors for a major depression, which is why visiting a professional is not only a matter of getting a better view of your child’s symptoms but taking their full medical history under advisement for a more accurate picture of the mind and the body. An internet diagnosis or online test is not enough – get a clearer view of what your child is facing.

Discuss Treatments with Your Child

If your child is a minor, then you are in charge of making medical decisions for them. Including your child in the treatment process is important. Don’t make decisions about your child’s mental health behind their back – just as you want to better understand the way forward, so do they need to understand that there’s hope, and that you’re going to do everything you can to help them.

A lot of treatment relies on the patient enjoying therapy and reacting favorably to their meds. All antidepressants have side effects, but how these side effects manifest is usually a matter of complex genetic and environmental factors.

One drug may make patient A nauseous, while working just fine with patient B. Patient B, on the other hand, develops sexual dysfunction on patient A’s medication.

Aside from SSRIs, which are the most common type of antidepressant, there are others to consider – such as RIMAs (a powerful type of antidepressant which temporarily keeps certain chemicals in the brain from oxidizing), or SNRIs (antidepressants that expand on SSRIs, to increase the amount of noradrenaline in the brain).

Patients need to give their doctors detailed feedback to help in the selection of the right medication, and the right therapies.

Be open and honest with your child and encourage them to do you the same courtesy. Take care to listen to what they say, rather than telling them how they should feel. Treatments that usually work might not work for you, so rather than being frustrated, take the information to heart and move onto something else.

Keep Them Healthy

It’s easy to feel powerless when your very own child needs help but can’t get better solely through your own efforts. But don’t underestimate just how much you can do to help your child through their depression.

Simply being there every step of the way and being as understanding as possible is a massive help. As a parent, you are ultimately one of your child’s biggest and most important therapists – which is why it is crucial to understand as much about their condition as possible.

Another way in which you can shape their treatment is by handling their lifestyle choices.

Make healthier choices for yourself and your family and include them in those choices.

Consider taking your child jogging or dancing or going out on hikes and trips to parks/through nature more frequently.

Consider eating healthier, not for weight loss or weight gain but to promote a healthier body, clearer skin, and general emotional as well as physical wellbeing.

Don’t push your child to exercise or diet for their figure, but to move for fun, embrace food as a source of energy, turn cooking into a game rather than a chore.

There will be days when your child won’t want to do anything. Pushing them to get out of bed to stick to a schedule can be helpful on some days, but not always. There are times when it’s important for your teen to pull themselves out of bed, even if it takes hours – and there are days when it’s best to give them the day off.

Context matters and knowing when to push and how much to push is a skill that takes time and failure. This is why it’s critical to maintain a healthy parent-child relationship and communicate often.

Take Care of Yourself

Don’t let the depression pull you in, too. If you’re helping your child, it’s normal to feel obliged to be a rock, and ignore all your own problems.

But if you let the problem fester, then it will turn into much more than you can ever handle.

Find the time to deal with your own stress and your own problems – and seek help if you’re struggling to do it all alone. Don’t be afraid or ashamed – there’s nothing wrong with getting help, even as you’re helping someone else.

Stress And Depression: What To Know

Stress is generally a condition of burden. In case of acute stress, our body alarms and releases more and more of the so-called stress hormones: epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. Because of the effects these compounds have with long-term exposure, stress and depression are commonly tied together.

When the body is stressed, energy reserves are released, pulse rate and blood pressure rise, the muscle tension increases, overall, the performance increases.  This healthy reaction is also called positive stress (Eustress).

If the released energy is used, the stress hormones are also broken down and the hormone system regulates itself. Otherwise, it comes to negative stress (distress), which can lead to increased tension and chronic stress.

How Too Much Stress Affects Us

The list of symptoms that can occur due to prolonged stress is long. Typical are cardiovascular problems, sleep disorders, loss of appetite, digestive problems, decreased libido, head and back pain, anxiety, lack of drive and discouragement.

All symptoms that are also seen in depression. But not only the symptoms are similar. The relationship between stress and depression becomes clear when looking at the neurobiological processes in the brain.

In both stress states, a persistently high concentration of stress hormones plays a role. How the interaction between stress and depression runs exactly, is so far not well known.

It has been proven that long-term stress can contribute to the development of depression.

But conversely, there is evidence that people with depression are much more likely to get stressed because their control system for stress hormones is disturbed.

If a stress depression has developed from the constant stress or if this suspicion exists, it is absolutely essential to have a medical examination so that therapy can be initiated at an early stage.

While “normal” stress can often be relieved by relaxation, meditation, therapy, or even physical activity, stress depression must be treated with medication and psychotherapy.

Depression Versus Burn-Out

In public discussion, the terms burn-out and stress depression are often mixed and not delimited. Burn-out refers to overburdened working life that leads to a “burned out” and ultimately leads to emotional exhaustion, frustration and performance degradation.

However, feelings of exhaustion and other health problems associated with burnout are not synonymous with a mental illness such as depression. However, burnout can increase the risk of developing various diseases. These include physical disorders such as high blood pressure, tinnitus, chronic head and back pain and sleep disorders, anxiety and depression.

Cute Videos Can Relieve Stress

It is universally agreed upon that some things just look cute. Like beauty, cuteness is arguably subjective, but even more so than beauty, cuteness has a special function. We’ve evolved to protect cute things – it’s the main reason cute videos are unanimously popular.

What we call the maternal instinct is not strictly speaking exclusive to women, or even humans. Cuteness is a phenomenon among other animals – other animals have been observed to foster the young of other species, and elephants even find humans endearing. There has even been anecdotal evidence of predators protecting the young of their prey, even if only for a while.

It’s not a matter of compassion or personality, but a characteristic of our innate drive to see offspring live on. This instinct manifests itself in our daily lives as finding things cute.

How Cuteness Relieves Stress

The brain is a very complicated organ, but by understanding it just a little better, we can improve our lives by taking advantage of the way we’re wired to think. During a depression or times of great stress, finding ways to bring a little light and happiness into our lives is crucial.

Therapy exists specifically to help do that, but there are a few things we can do on our own to try and make a difference in our mood and mindset – among them, viewing cuteness. Yes. All that time spent looking at cat pictures and cute videos? Might not necessary have been for naught.

Procrastinating by browsing cat memes is not therapeutic and can arguably make you feel much worse due to the added stress of avoiding work.

However, you can calm yourself down by exposing yourself to cuteness – from watching puppies play together to heading down to the local shelter and playing with the kittens. It’s not a cure to depression or a surefire way to reverse sadness, and it doesn’t equate cute videos online with legitimate, professional therapy.

That doesn’t mean it’s not something to keep in mind, though. While anxiety and depression are not necessarily caused by online content or interactions, negative online posts and social media can aggravate these conditions, through violent or depressing YouTube videos and cyberbullying.

The internet can aggravate mental illness and bring people to the brink of suicide, and beyond – but it can also be used as a force for good, if you’re willing to curate your content and spend some time cutting out the negativity.

Studies Show Cuteness Affects Focus and Induces Positivity

Remarkably, looking at cute things makes us focus up a bit. The study, conducted by Japanese researchers on the question of just how powerful kawaii could be, involved making participants go through a series of cognitive tests after exposing them to a few images, to see how the images might affect their performance.

Each group performed a cognitive exercise, involving accuracy and reflexes. Then, they had another go at a similar exercise, after viewing a few images.

One group viewed images of delicious foods. Another viewed images of adult animals, such as dogs. And the last group viewed images of baby animals.

Only this group saw a significant improvement in attention and accuracy, enough to be statistically relevant.

They recreated the experiment successfully with another group, concluding that the boost in focus could not have been related to social responsibility or general pleasantness, but had to come uniquely from the cuteness of the baby animal pictures.

A possible hypothesis is that seeing something cute makes us pay more attention to our surroundings, perhaps in an effort to sharpen our senses in case of any impending danger. We become attentive to avoid hurting the young animal, and to protect it.

Cuteness in Nature

Maternal instincts are not universal among animals, with certain contexts often involving the young passing away first, the general idea being that some animals are wired to protect themselves, first, in order to reproduce again in the future.

Hamsters and kangaroos will sacrifice their newborn kin in the presence of mortal threats, and infanticide is not particularly uncommon among prey and predator. However, elephants and primates may adopt and foster the young of other species, and it’s not unheard of in other species as well.

Regardless of how cruel and violent nature might be, there’s a treasure trove of potential findings regarding the power of cuteness in resolving stress and improving mood and focus.

While the Japanese study focused on how cuteness might affect performance, another study tried to ascertain whether looking at something online on a screen can be emotionally effective – studying the power of “affect” through internet media. The results indicated that it was very much possible to make someone feel happy by showing them something through the Internet.

Cute Videos Won’t Cure You, But Can Distract You

The benefits of cute media are ephemeral. Rather than inspiring any form of treatment or therapy, simply being aware of the effects of cuteness might help you devise of a way to better spend your time on the Internet.

Stay away from content that can actively hurt you and worsen your depression, from needlessly fearmongering headlines to hateful and aggravating views. Subscribe to channels that celebrate music, feature happy and rescued animals, and specialize in comedy. What you see online is up to you, and aside from cutting down your browsing time, it helps to improve the quality of your browsing.

Therapeutic content does exist online. ASMR, for example, is a response on the skin often experienced through certain forms of audio, possibly through a form of synesthesia (where you perceive senses through different sense organs, like feeling sound).

This can be calming and relaxing, stopping panic attacks and improving symptoms of depression. Aside from low-quality imitations, high-quality ASMR content does exist through the Internet, completely free for use.

Consider Swapping People for Doggos

The Internet supplies us with an almost endless well of knowledge – some of it very useful, and much of it very false – but it also puts us in direct connection to countless human beings, through social networking platforms, multiplayer video games, instant messaging apps, and voice chat programs like Skype and Discord.

We can learn other languages, practice them with strangers, and learn about other cultures. We can close a gap of thousands of miles, speaking as though we were face to face.

But for all its benefits, the Internet can also be a very scary and harmful place. With the freedom to write and post anything online, under any alias, the Internet is often filled with incredibly hateful and emotionally damaging content.

With a strong and healthy psyche, it’s possible to wade through that content and remain healthy. But for someone with a mood disorder, content can be legitimately “triggering”, causing a cascade of unhealthy thoughts and self-doubt.

Platforms like Twitter and Facebook are perfect for spreading fear and misinformation, as well as carefully-targeted bullying campaigns. Meanwhile, even innocuous posts such as someone’s vacation or edited beach pictures may lead to thoughts of envy and self-loathing.

If you’re spending too much time online, then cutting down on your time spent in front of a screen is a good first step.

Avoiding Toxicity

Another important step is to remove your contact with people who actively make you feel worse about yourself. Instead, consider subscribing or following accounts that focus on positive content, wholesome content, comedy, and cute videos.

Focus on the things that interest or motivate you, that make you excited to go out and do something rather than making you feel terrible, accounts that specialize on brightening your day rather than darkening it, and profiles with amazingly witty and hilarious content, rather than hurtful or divisive content.

The internet cannot and should not be censored, but you can curate and cut out the parts that make your depression worse.

Physical Pets Provide Further Benefits

Of course, nothing provides as much distilled cuteness as an actual pet. But owning a pet is a double-edged sword. On one hand, a pet suited to your lifestyle – if properly researched and taken care of – can provide years of undying loyalty, love, affection, and happiness. Early moments will be full of frustrations, especially when raising a young dog or cat, and it can get tiresome.

But having a pet also means eventually losing a pet. That loss can hurt and cut deeply and be quite difficult to overcome while struggling with depression.

Having and caring for a pet can make your life better, if you are prepared for the commitment. But do not under any circumstances consider getting a pet if you are moving, about to move, or are unsure of your commitment to the animal in years to come.

Online pictures and cute videos are easy, simple, and come with no emotional baggage. But the fleeting feeling of watching a puppy play with another puppy through YouTube is incomparable to playing with a puppy in your own living room. If you’re prepared for the responsibility and the hardships, a pet can help you through your hardest times.

A Simple Guide to Antidepressants

Antidepressants are drugs used to treat moderate and severe cases of MDD (major depressive disorder), as well as depressive symptoms in other disorders.

These drugs are available only on a prescription basis and are usually coupled with other forms of non-medical treatment, especially talk therapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).

Antidepressants produce at least 50% remission of depressive symptoms in about half of the people who take them.

However, note that they often don’t work for people who have mild depressive symptoms – these are cases where depression is caused predominantly by outside factors and can’t be helped with a treatment that targets the neurobiology of depression.

Medication for Depression

Medication for depression takes a while to actually get working, usually a few days to about two weeks. Just as not all people are affected by antidepressants, not all antidepressants are useful to people who do respond to them – it may take a couple tries before your therapist or doctor finds the right drug for you.

Usually they narrow it down based on a number of important factors, which include your age, sex, environmental factors, and severity of your condition.

Aside from different brands of antidepressants, there are also different kinds or groups of antidepressants. This means there are hundreds of different antidepressant medications on the market and navigating them all can be very daunting.

Regardless of how severe your depression is or what other factors are involved in it – such as physical and mental health, other disorders and illnesses, and more – there is bound to be a treatment protocol out there that can provide you with relief from your symptoms.

However, relief does not mean cure – there is no definitive cure for depression, but it is a condition that can often be managed into total remission through the right treatment process.

This blog exists to help you figure out what might work for you by opening your eyes to the many ways in which depression is treated and dealt with, both medically and therapeutically, as well as through family support and other environmental elements.

I’ve taken the time to pick out a slew of basic information to help you get started on understanding how antidepressants work, as part of a comprehensive strategy against depressive symptoms – in other words, I’m here to tell you how these pills work and how they might play a role in helping you feel happier.

How Antidepressants Work

Antidepressants generally work by entering the bloodstream and interacting with your brain’s cells. These cells send signals between one another through electromagnetic pulses, as well as chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Think of neurotransmitters as uniquely-shaped puzzle blocks floating through the brain’s blood supply – as they pass brain cells, they’re sucked into the cells uniquely-shaped receptors, and activate a signal.

Most neurotransmitters are multi-purpose, working to do many different things depending on the context of their deployment. Serotonin, for example, is often associated with love and happiness, but it’s also partially responsible for things like mood and sleep. As is dopamine and norepinephrine.

In about half of all depression cases, manipulating the way these neurotransmitters work has a significant positive effect on the person’s mood and thoughts.

Antidepressants generally increase the volume of certain neurotransmitters currently active in the brain, essentially inducing feelings of positivity and happiness, or just normal emotion, by compensating for depression with increased neurotransmitter activity.

However, remember how I mentioned that neurotransmitters are also responsible for other things than just making you feel better and generally putting you in a good mood, or at least a neutral one?

Well, yeah. Antidepressants are not an exact science, because we haven’t fully cracked the code on depression. It’s such a complicated disease with a very wide list of possible factors and reasons, and self-reporting is a big part of diagnosing depression, meaning ultimately that treatment has to account for a little trial and error.

This also involves side effects.

Antidepressant Side Effects

Antidepressants can have a variety of side effects, including minor ones like nausea or small headaches, or reduced appetites.

However, antidepressants also come with one of the most severe of all side-effects – an increased risk of suicide.

This risk is minimal and is only present early on during the first transition of the drug, but it’s nevertheless a present risk so it’s important to be around family and friends when you switch to an antidepressant or use one for the first time.

The fact that not all brands are alike in formulation and type means that it can take a while to find the right antidepressant for your needs – or you could get lucky and find useful medication right away.

Whatever you do, be sure to follow your therapist or doctor’s advice regarding dosage – don’t take more than necessary, and don’t take less than prescribed. Quitting cold turkey can be detrimental, because of how antidepressants affect the brain’s neurotransmitters.

Ask your doctor how to switch medication – some meds require you to taper off. Don’t be quiet about any negative changes – report them as soon as possible and try to get different meds or consider alternative treatment.

The Different Types of Antidepressants

SSRIs are the most common type of antidepressant, and they work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, thus allowing for higher concentrations of serotonin between the brain’s cells. This generally seems to be the most effective and least risky type of antidepressant, but alternatives exist.

SNRIs are serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, affecting not only the reuptake of serotonin but norepinephrine/noradrenaline as well. This has more of a stimulating effect, but studies show a negligible difference in patients using drugs with norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. That being said, they may still work for you, and are still in common use.

TCAs are among the earliest developed antidepressants, and thus also have the most side effects.

MAOIs are powerful antidepressants that inhibit monoamine oxidases, a family of enzymes responsible for the oxidation of dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine/adrenaline. They’re often used for treatment-resistant depression, as well as other disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and panic disorder.

RIMAs are a class of antidepressants that function very much like MAOIs, but instead of simply inhibiting monoamine oxidases, they specifically reversibly inhibit monoamine oxidase A. MAOIs cannot be reversed, which make them more potentially dangerous. RIMAs, on the other hand, can be effective and are safer in that regard, but their reduced potency makes them less effective in cases of severe or treatment-resistant depression.

NRIs are noradrenaline/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors – these antidepressants are also known as NERIs, or ARIs (adrenergic reuptake inhibitor). Like SSRIs and SNRIs, these drugs basically inhibit the immediate reuptake of norepinephrine, letting it linger longer in the brain and keeping your norepinephrine levels a bit higher. Because norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter especially linked to arousal and stimulation, the effect from this medication is different from the others.

More Antidepressants

There are other types of antidepressants, such as tetracyclic antidepressants and melatonergic antidepressants, but it’s worth mentioning that SSRIs are most commonly prescribed first because they usually present the lowest risk for side effects and are usually very effective.

Other antidepressants are generally considered outdated, although they’re still in use because some respond better to them than to the usually prescribed drugs.

Be sure to contact a professional and see what antidepressants they commonly prescribe, and why. It’ll depend on who you’re contacting and where, as well as where you live.

Every Case is Unique  

The basic premise behind antidepressants is that there are cases of depression where a chemical imbalance is responsible for a negative shift in mood and thoughts.

But there are many cases of depression where the brain is functionally normal, yet a person’s mood and thoughts have darkened to the point where they have trouble going to work and being productive.

A major concern with antidepressants is that they’re overprescribed, and this is a valid concern because they often don’t have an effect on patients with mild depressive symptoms.

Other treatments exist to help a person with a mild depression. However, not everyone who doesn’t respond to antidepressants suffers from a mild depression – treatment-resistant depression can also be severe, with risk of self-harm and suicide.

The multitude of antidepressants on the market, coupled with the fact that there are many types of cases where depressive symptoms are present and serious, without responding to medication, means that ultimately there are a lot of ways a depression can go.

Every case needs to be addressed individually, from the eyes of a professional. Don’t go online to get a diagnosis and seek out antidepressants – visit a doctor or therapist, and find out what might be causing your symptoms, as well as what the best course of treatment is. Often, that treatment might have nothing to do with medication.

Teen Depression In Adolescents

It’s normal to struggle with emotions in adolescence, including anger and sadness. But when sadness lasts longer and is stronger than normal, then it’s possible your child or friend is dealing with a teen depression.

Especially important are then people they trust, where they can open-up without fears and tell everything about themselves.

Annoyance with the parents, bad grades at school, loss of friendships, dissatisfaction with oneself and one’s own body, first lovesickness: Children and adolescents often have a hard time.

Problems and difficult situations can make you sad, depressed or desperate. This is completely normal. But depression is more than just “not feeling well” or “having a bad day”: it can develop into a serious condition.

Teen depression often has several causes. Most of the time they arise through the interaction of biological processes in the body, psychological factors and experiences in the social environment.

Not all of these factors can be influenced – but young people can learn to better deal with the challenges in their lives. This can also protect against depression.

How does depression develop in young people?

About 5 out of 100 children and adolescents have symptoms that indicate depression.

Often there are problems in the family, losses (for example, a parent), difficulties in school and social isolation that cause depression. In addition, young people have a higher risk of depression, if they

  • have family members with depression or other serious mental illness,
  • have ever had depression or anxiety disorder in the past,
  • were exposed to violence or abuse,
  • have a very negative self or body image.

Also, a physical illness or side effects of certain medicines can contribute to a depression.

How can we prevent it?

Ideally, parents and other educators help a child develop a stable personality and deal with stress. It is also known that people with a stable attachment are less likely to develop depression.

When a child develops depression, it is important that family members and friends recognize it early. A sign can be when the child is no longer fun, drive-less and extremely retiring.

The older children get, the more strategies they develop to deal with problems and handle difficult situations independently.

They learn through their own experiences as well as through family and friends. Sometimes, however, additional support is needed. One possibility is then to consult a psychological counseling center and discuss what help is available to them.

In some places, various programs and courses are offered to help children or adolescents to deal with stress and problems. In group sessions, for example, they learn to deal with stress, resolve conflicts and what they can do when they feel unhappy.

If a child or adolescent is suffering from crippling sadness or even thinking of not living anymore, it is important not to keep it to himself.

Those who dare not address their friends or parents can contact a pediatrician or psychotherapeutic institution. There are also doctors specializing in the treatment of mental health problems in children and adolescents.

How is depression treated in children and adolescents?

For mild depression, it is possible to wait and see if the symptoms disappear again without treatment.

During this time, it is important to support the child and, if necessary, to seek psychological counseling.

As with adults, depression in children and adolescents can be treated with psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or antidepressants.

Because of the possible side effects, the drugs should be used with restrain. For example, there are indications that some antidepressants may cause adolescents to think more often about suicide.

What are young people still doing to deal with problems?

Many children and adolescents are active in sports or attend courses, for example in the sports club, which combine physical, psychological and often social elements. This can strengthen their emotional life.

If a child or adolescent does not enjoy school sports, it might be worthwhile to look elsewhere for sports and classes that are not as demanding as their performance and enjoyment of movement.

Quite a few adolescents keep a diary to organize their thoughts, worries and feelings and to deal with them better. Some also find comfort in a pet. But talking to other people and feeling connected to them is especially important for emotional health.

Young people with teen depression, as well as their parents, can also turn to the helplines, family, child and youth counseling centers.

Also, pediatricians and psychotherapeutic specialists advise and support. In many schools, social workers, school psychologists or trusted teachers are available as contact persons and partners. Many young people search the internet for information and exchange information via social networks as well as in forums.

Learning to handle difficult emotional and life situations is an important part of growing up. But coping with depression or anxiety disorder is never easy.

Even if a young person has already overcome teen depression, the fear of relapse can be a burden. Then it’s important to know what you can do yourself and where to get help when you need it.