Many people even with severe depression cannot actually recognize that they do suffer from it, which makes things worse since they do not receive the help they need.
Nevertheless, getting out of depression is one of the most bittersweet experiences one could ever have. While the condition is largely unexplainable using words, young people are striving really hard to deal with it.
What is depression
“I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all” – Susan Sontag
Depression is a health condition that affects men of all types and ages. It symptoms and causes of depression can vary widely from person to person. Left untreated, depression can lead to heart problems, cause physical symptoms of pain, appetite changes, and sleep issues.
One of the common misunderstandings about depression is that it means feeling sad or down. Although many people with depression feel down, it feels much more severe and permanent than emotions that come and go in response to life events.
Of course, we won’t patronize you and say that depression “is more than just feeling sad.” You’ll already know this. Don’t worry, we also won’t give useless advice like “cheer up” or “people have it so much worse. For the record, you should never settle for this kind of advice.
How to Recognize Depression
Perhaps they lose interest in the passions that they once had, or they might even have suicidal thoughts. Depression is a challenging illness to deal with, let alone function with day today. The fact that you’re reading up on this page is progress in itself. It shows that you’re looking for helpful strategies to help fight depression. Side note: you can rest assured that we won’t bore you with worthless clichés like; “people have it worse.”
Depression is not simply a temporary dip in your mood. It is natural to feel despair or sadness from time to time, especially when you’ve just suffered a loss or disappointment.
Scientifically, depression seems to be very apparent when certain substances in your system are lacking. These hormones include oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Usually, a hormonal imbalance happens when you are stressed and when you are lacking enough rest you need. Depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain – but it’s totally treatable. Many college students, who are battling depression, fail to understand why they feel so empty, lost, or worthless.
Being depressed is not a choice. We cannot force a positive attitude without feeling it from the inside. Friends and loved ones often get frustrated why a person can’t simply “snap out of it.” or point out that the person has nothing to be depressed about. In fact, the condition is irrelated to external circumstances, and one can feel deeeply depressed even though everything is seeingly alright.
A depressed person oftentimes is not able to see pleasure or joy in life. People with depression may feel like they are worthless or a failure at everything. They may dwell on negative events and experiences and be unable to see positive qualities in themselves.
We are witnessing rapid progress, which contributes to our lives being more and more hectic. All of us are under constant pressure to do the best at school or work, to make enough money, maintain good relations, etc
Under these circumstances, it would be ridiculous to perceive topics like mental illness and mental disorders as taboo, don’t you think? If you, for example, walk around for about a month carrying a heavy load on your back, it would crack eventually, right?! Well, it is as simple as that, the same thing would happen to your brain if you walk around with all the emotions packed deep inside for some time.
We recommend taking Beck Depression Inventory to measure characteristic attitudes and symptoms of depression.
What are the causes of depression
When there is continuous stress or trauma the necessary endorphin systems in the brain don’t develop. Oftentimes severely depressed people are so cut out of their emotions that they cannot even cry and instead they get involved in addictions and self-abusive behaviors.
Childhood events and the parenting style have lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including on autoimmune disease, cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), addictions, and a wide range of other conditions. You can check more here on how childhood trauma leads to addiction:
Depresssion in College
Depression is a serious problem on college campuses. With a mixture of stress, finances, and moving away – college students are highly susceptible to depression. There was a time when depression was thought to predominately only hit those in their 40’s or 50s. It was labeled as a mid-life crisis. Now, more and more research has developed, which explains why 18-24-year-olds are susceptible to depression.
Meg Jay, a psychologist, and author (we know, impressive) stated that the period between 18-29 is filled with loss. Whether it’s friendships or partners. It could even be a dream career or travel plans – it’s a time when reality seems to come sinking in on us. Another possibility is more biology focused – scientists have shown that the frontal lobe (the part responsible for planning and reasoning) doesn’t develop until we hit our mid-twenties. However, by the time we’re just touching our 20s, we’re forced to make so many important decisions – which understandably make us feel anxious. Other reasons include binge drinking and sleep schedules.
We’re not stating all this to make you feel like you’re sat in another lecture. It’s always interesting and useful to know what exactly is happening with your brain, and why. Once you find what may be “triggering” you, you can begin fighting. There’s very little evidence to suggest that, if you suffer from depression in your 20s, it will recur later in life – especially when appropriately addressed.
Men and depression
Men are taught from an early age that it is “sissy” to show weakness or emotion, except when it means getting into a fight.
However, men can feel overwhelmed by their emotions just as women do, and they have it worse because they are unable to express it as freely. Often, the only way they can cope is by indulging in “manly” excesses such as drinking or angry outbursts. Others self-medicate rather than admit to others that they have feelings.
Some studies suggest that men may experience depression as much as women, but manifest it differently. Men that experience depression should not feel ashamed at all, but should seek professional help immediately.
First of all, depression is not about feeling sad or down, and has nothing to do with masculinity. Many great men have struggled with it throughout history: Abraham Lincoln, Buzz Aldrin, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, and more recently, Robin Williams.
Men with depression are also more 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women dealing with the same issue. Hemingway, in particular, struggled with it for most of his adult life, and when he failed to find an effective way of dealing with him, committed suicide with a shotgun to the forehead. Robin Williams also committed suicide by hanging himself.
However, it is not normal to feel intensely hopeless or sad for a long time. If you notice that you can’t seem to shake it and it is starting to affect your work or personal relationships, then you should pay attention. It is possible you are truly depressed in a clinical way. You may manifest it in physical ways, as well. Physical signs of depression include insomnia, loss of libido, headaches, and back pain.
Unfortunately, most men do not seek the help they need because they are so used to ignoring their feelings that they ultimately fail to recognize the symptoms.
How to Naturally Treat Depression
If you get a proper diagnosis, you can get the help you need. There are many thing you can do to overcome depression once you recognize it as such. In the meanwhile you can help yourself to naturally treat depression, simultaneously to the professional help.
1. Acquire adequate amount of sleep
Getting enough sleep and rest can significantly help you boost the production of these hormones. Don’t you feel a little lighter and happier when you obtain the much-needed rest and sleep? Well, this is the reason behind it.
Some may say that sleeping for 6 to 8 hours a day could make you feel a lot better. Yes, that is true, but personally since I do really have a busy schedule – I can’t afford to take 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily. What I did (which I am still doing) was I always try to take power naps. Aside from the fact that it boosts my energy, power naps can largely help me complete my overall rest and much-needed sleep.
You may be wondering what a sleeping pattern even is? Are they even real? Let’s say student life. From late nights in the library, early lectures, and even later nights partying, your sleeping schedule will be a bit confusing, to say the least. Depression also doesn’t help with sleep problems.
You may be suffering from insomnia or disturbed sleep – making you feel exhausted all the time. Our top tips are to turn off all electronics an hour before going to bed and opt for a nice book instead. No, don’t read one of your study textbooks (although, these might be yawn-worthy).
Don’t use your bed for any work, either. We know that writing essays out in your bed is super comfy, but it prevents your brain from associating your bed with relaxation.
2. Get a daily dose of sunlight
Studies show that getting a dose of sunlight with a few exercises in the morning can largely and positively affect your way of thinking, feeling, and sensing in totality. Also, a few data gathered nowadays appear to have significant numbers of people who succeed in dealing with their anxieties and depression by getting enough sunlight on a daily basis.
This is very true for my case when way back. Once I wake up in the morning, I try to do a few stretching and running routines until I catch the sunrise. Also, I tend to add a few yoga and meditation sessions in the morning. When I see and feel the sunlight touching my skin, I feel even more relaxed and at peace.
Now, try doing this every morning. Not only that you are contributing to improving your overall state in terms of mental condition but also you are improving your physical state.
3. Soak up nature
This one might seem a bit too simple to be effective. However, spending time in nature has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression. Perhaps it is the fresh air, the absence of technology, or vitamin D – whatever it is, we’re supporting it. There’s actually a word for it – ecotherapy.
In Japan, a form of ecotherapy is a custom called “forest bathing,” which essentially is spending time with trees. How charming. It’s supposed to reduce the stress hormone, improve overall feelings of wellbeing, and boost the immune system.
Many college campuses are located in stunning areas, with access to fantastic hiking trails. Perhaps after one of your classes, you should make your way to the trees and indulge in some forest bathing. You might find that this, amongst other healthy practices, has a significant impact on your mental health.
4. Move during the day
Depressed people often don’t care about anything. They have lost the ability to take an interest in anything or anyone around them, which contributes to their feeling that nothing matters anyway. This is a vicious cycle you need to break.
Some people use antidepressant medication, but studies show that exercise and physical activity can also lift your mood in much the same way, but without the side effects. The first few weeks are the hardest, but you need to make the effort.
Even just walking 20 minutes a day three days a week for six weeks can significantly reduce symptoms of depression in the long term. Force yourself to get out of bed or off the couch to walk the dog or go to the grocery.
Better yet, get someone to walk with you and have a conversation. You can also get in some time on your stationary bike or treadmill while watching the news channel if you’re not feeling sociable. You can also try running if you are up to it. Try this for at least six weeks and you will see a marked difference in your mood.
As for me, I remembered doing things in the garden such as planting and cleaning the yard. When there’s nothing to do outdoors, I always try to clean the house and my room. These routines significantly helped me apparently.
Although moving actively during the day can result in tiredness and alike at the end of the day, these types of tiredness are the good kinds. These are the ones that could actually alleviate your spirit and self-esteem.
5. Practice gratitude for the good times
Gratitude and appreciation are very much essential in this case. Although young men who suffer from depression can hardly appreciate the thought of saying “thank you” or the thought of appreciation itself, practising gratitude and appreciation are much recommended especially on good times.
While showing gratitude and appreciation are significantly good during happy moments, you could actually step up your gameplay by showing appreciation and gratitude at all times. Even if there are a lot of assignments and chores, I would always prefer to say thank you and look at these things as rooms and opportunities for improvements and learnings.
Depression is actually a matter of perspective. Try to appreciate first the simple things that surround you and even the small things that usually occur in yourself and your environment. Eventually, when you already make a habit out if it, you could see the very change that can happen to your way of thinking and feeling.
6. Create some structure to your day
UCLA Depression Research and Clinic Program director and psychiatrist Ian Cook points out that depression can derail your life on many levels. He says that you need to get back on track by getting into a daily routine.
Don’t make it too strict or detailed. Better to accomplish 1- 3 things during the day and try to engage in them fully than stuff your day with a list of plans which either will stress you or make you feel guilty if you don’t manage to do all that you have planned. LESS IS MORE.
Try to not procrastinate. Plan less but make sure you achieve it. Especially in the age of technology, procrastination is rife. However, if your symptoms of depression include fatigue, this can make procrastination even more tempting. Procrastination can fuel depression by increasing stress, guilt, and worry. For this reason, you should set deadlines and manage your time adequately. This is where our point about routines come in handy.
You just want a gentle routine you can easily follow, such as waking up and meals. Make it a point to get up at the same time every day, and follow a schedule for mealtimes, even if you don’t feel like eating.
Avoid napping during the day so you can sleep at night. I used to take two- to three-hour naps after lunch and tossed and turned until 3 am at night before I finally fall asleep. People in the grip of depression tend to just let things slide, and this can heighten your sense of hopelessness. A regular routine gives you structure, and helps you get back your life.
7. Listen to upbeat music
If you ask people around you what music is for them, you could actually get answers such as “music is life” or “music is food for the soul” or even “music is my comfort”. In actuality, all of these things about music are true.
Even if you are not a music-lover by definition, music is significantly a good food for your overall condition. Music especially your chosen and favorite genres and types – can largely affect your mood. The most recommended and suitable type of music to help you deal with depression is the upbeat type of music.
Fast beat and upbeat kind of music helps soothe stress and anxiety for some reason. This is why many young adults and teenage kids tend to listen to a lot of music when they feel sad or stressed. You may want to dance with the song as well which largely helps beat negative thoughts and feelings.
8. Use a visualization to release your painful thoughts
In the recent times, young people especially boys who undergo therapies are usually asked to do crafts and other things related to arts. One reason behind is that visualization can largely help ease depression and release painful emotions and thoughts.
Using arts and visualization as a tool to overcome depression is a very excellent option. According to many scholars and experts from Science Daily, arts are a very helpful way to feel good and awesome in totality. When I have free time in the afternoon or before heading to sleep, I try to paintand do quick sketches. Even if I don’t have much skills and knowledge about it, the activity helps me cope up with my condition.
One of the things I do which I greatly recommend is the painting of positive and encouraging quotes I usually found online. I try to read and look out first for quotes and saying that I know best will help me lift up my spirits.
Incorporating designs that stir up my imagination and positive thinking. I usually use colors that easily brighten up my day and night. You could actually apply this to yourself since these can significantly release all the painful and bad thoughts.
9. Stop the negative self-talk
It is in no doubt that young people who experience depression and anxiety attacks tend to converse with their selves negatively. By and large, the negative self-talk is very much rampant nowadays for a lot of people. More often than not, people who usually keep on indulging in these kinds of thoughts and way of living are the ones who really find it difficult to get out from depression.
Now, if you really want to deal with depression and anxiety, you must keep in mind that talking to yourself in a negative manner will never help you. Conversely, you must practice to always be positive in any way possible you can.
As much as possible, you must keep on encouraging yourself every day and every time. Keeping positive notes and quotes on a daily basis are basic steps into outliving a positive self-talk. For instance, you may write in your school notebooks a few quotes and phrases that could brighten up you every once in a while.
Moreover, the visualization practices and exercises I do, I try to keep them on my notes. Also, I tend to capture images of my works using my gadgets so that I could save them. More often than not, seeing these positive outputs hinders me from thinking negatively and encourages me instead to promote positivity.
10. Regular exercise
It seemingly appears that young people with depression find it quite difficult as well to move actively and join different fitness routines (even on school physical activities). Now, one of the most effective and efficient ways you could apply to deal with depression is for you to actively participate in different fitness programs.
Apparently, having a routinely exercise on a daily basis can significantly assist you in fighting negative thoughts and depression in general. When you exercise, you actually flush out all the negative energies that usually cause the unwanted thoughts and vibes. From my experience, in getting my daily dose of sunshine – I try to do exercises during those times.
Aside from that, what I could best recommend is for you to actually look for game and sports partners and buddies. Having these kinds of friends and people around helped me eventually into becoming more active and fit.
Today, people (both young and adults) who regularly attend exercises and fitness programs are much happier and ecstatic in comparison to those who just sink their whole schedule with work, chores, and responsibilities.
Ultimately, depression is one of the most crucial mental illnesses of today. Although the numbers of young people who suffer the said condition are apparently increasing, specialists and experts are continuously finding ways to deal with it. With that being said, these tips are actually the most apparent things that are found to be very effective and efficient in dealing depression and anxiety.
Aside from the fact that you can eventually overcome depression by applying these things on a daily basis, you could as well improve the quality of life in totality.
Multiple studies have found that exercise can protect you from depression and anxiety. We highly recommend twenty minutes of high-intensity cardio every morning, just for a really positive boost of energy. You can find great workouts on YouTube.
You know, getting into strength training and the gym can be an excellent mood lifter. You never know, it could also help you gain valuable connections with some gym buddies – a win-win situation.
11. Start a journal
Exercise and a daily schedule really helped, but starting a journal was what really scooped me out of my own bout of depression. Writing has always been the only way I could express my deepest, most secret thoughts and feelings as a young person, but I turned away from that when I joined the “real world.”
I had been depressed a long time without knowing it, and when I was diagnosed, my psychiatrist pointed out that studies show writing as a form of self-expression was an effective therapy for depression. He advised me to start a journal so that I could open up and confront my feelings. You don’t have to go that far, though. Start a journal of your own, and write down all your thoughts, feelings, resentments, and impressions.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. Seeing it in writing can help you realize some amazing things about yourself that can make you feel good and worthy.
Some people say that once you start journaling, you have to do it every day. But it creates a feeling of commitment, rather than something good that you decided to do for yourself.
The truth is that there is no rule on how often you should write and nobody can tell you that. It’s not like the homework that you need to do. If you feel the need to write each day — do it, but if not — write whenever you feel like doing it. To begin with, you can pick some mental health writing prompts to get started. Try answering a question like what makes you happy. You can write about little things, like swimming in the lake, to get some ideas for your notes.
Another thing to keep in mind is that writing isn’t generally easy at first. You always think it’s not good enough and you should start all over again. A journal is something that is only for you. You are the only one who will know what is written there, and the only person who will read it. You are not writing Lord of the Rings, so feel free to note whatever comes to your mind without editing. Paper takes everything.
Furthermore, writing about bad experiences or negative feelings can be as difficult as talking about it. That’s because we are taught to worry about other people’s opinions and reactions to what we are saying. We tend to fear that they will judge us or reject us. It is, of course, easier to talk about success, so start with that. Pick out a good thing that happened to you during the day or the week and make a note in your diary. You can read about it when you are in a bad mood.
12. Watch your diet
This brings us nicely onto our next point; your diet. Well, as a college student, your diet is probably the brunt of a few jokes. Yeah, maybe you’re living off Ramen Noodles and warmed up pizza – you wouldn’t be alone.
There are many reasons to avoid having a diet like this, regardless of how inexpensive it is. It just isn’t worth it, especially when it comes to your mental and physical health.
Scientists have found links between certain nutrients and alleviating depression. For instance, vitamin D, probiotics, omega-3s, and complex carbohydrates can all, allegedly, fight symptoms of depression.
Just like exercise, the proper diet can help you minimize or even avoid taking antidepressant medication and its side effects. Studies particularly pinpoint the positive effects of omega 3 fatty acids on alleviating symptoms of mild and major depression.
Omega 3 benefits the body in many ways. Massachusetts General Hospital Depression Clinical and Research Program researcher and Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor David Mischoulon says omega 3s “are thought to be active as antidepressants.”
This is supported by numerous studies, and Northern Ontario School of Medicine of Lakehead University associate professor of medicine Brian M. Ross says, “The [evidence] is becoming quite compelling that increasing omega-3 fatty intake enhances many aspects of brain function, including the control of mood and aspects of personality.”
However, it is not as simple as just taking fish fat oil capsules. You still need to consult your doctor or dietitian about the right combination of foods to achieve the best results.
13. Drink lots of water
It may sound ridiculously simple, but drinking water can actually help you fight off depression. You need to remember that the brain is most (85%) water, so when your body is dehydrated, your brain functions suffer. It makes you feel tired, stressed, anxious, and yes, depressed.
One way that dehydration exacerbates depression is it suppresses the production of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone. Lack of water also makes it more difficult for your body to eliminate toxins. If you feel tired, you feel depressed.
Drinking water may not cure you of depression, but it can help you get there. Drink the prescribed minimum of 8 full glasses of water a day, more if you sweat a lot, and you are on your way out of depression.
14. Get a massage
Humans have a basic need for physical contact on many levels. Massage therapy is one type of human contact that can help you alleviate depression.
Experienced massage therapists can manipulate tissue and muscles to improve the flow of blood throughout your body, and make you feel relaxed. This can help you get into a better mood simply by touch. It lowers the amount of cortisol (“stress” hormone) in your body by more than half, making you feel less anxious and angry.
If you are feeling particularly tired or depressed, get a massage. You will be amazed at how different you will feel after.
15. Get friendly
This really is one of the most important things that you can do to help yourself. As a depressed person your mind is oftentimes your enemy, so staying too much alone or distracted by video games and similar places you further from recovery.
We understand entirely why this might be a daunting task – society doesn’t exactly welcome us expressing our emotions with open arms. Try to forge stronger ties with those that you love.
Even just knowing that you have these to count on can make a big difference. Generally speaking, if you reach out to somebody and they aren’t supportive, do you really want them in your life?
You can also find support groups online or in your community. Not everybody has secure connections with family or friends, that doesn’t mean you’re alone, though
You might find the prospect of getting out there distasteful, or too much trouble, but research shows that joining a social group of community can help fight off depression.
However, it is not just a matter of joining a group for the sake of it that counts. For it to be effective against depression, you have to get really into it. It can be a group of hikers, mountain climbers, anime enthusiasts, or Game of Thrones groupies.
Join any group for anything you find interesting, and really get involved. This type of connection can help prevent you from sliding back down into depression.
16. Say “ohmm”
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine assistant professor Madhav Goyal conducted research on the effects of “mindfulness meditation” on depression, and found that it shows the most promise among other meditation techniques in addressing depression.
The technique involves the relaxation of mind and body, letting feelings and thoughts flow unimpeded. Another study showed that those who meditated regularly had well-developed hippocampi, that region of the brain responsible for memory and orientation.
Clinically depressed people, on the other hand, had markedly underdeveloped hippocampi. While these studies are not conclusive, it doesn’t hurt to try. Many people that engage in meditation report a heightened sense of well-being, so that should be a step into the right direction.
Find a meditation class in your area and give it a try.
Don’t skip past – we promise it’s not a load of drivel. Mindfulness genuinely has scientific backing and can reduce symptoms of depression.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present – something a lot harder than you might imagine. Just try it right now…it’s an art. It isn’t healthy to just surround yourself with meaningless distractions. Sometimes, sitting there and being present, even with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, can be useful.
Yoga is another great way to reduce anxiety and depression. Some psychologists have even suggested that meditation can be just as effective as taking antidepressant medication. Also, did you know how much strength yoga actually takes – Dylan Werner, a profession yogi, proves this.
17. Get enough snooze time
A good night’s sleep is beneficial for everyone, not just depressed people.
It is well-established that sleep and mood are connected, so make a point of getting enough sleep every night to help you overcome depression. The right amount of sleep varies from person to person, so if you wake up feeling tired, chances are you have not gotten enough.
If you have a hard time getting to sleep, make a point of going to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends, to condition your brain to rest at that time. Avoid doing exercise, eating, or doing anything stimulating within an hour of your bedtime. It will be a struggle at first, but stick to it.
18. Focus on the good
Last but not least, make it a habit to focus on the positive things that are happening to you instead of the negative. Being grateful for what you have can help you overcome feelings of failure and hopelessness. Follow these tips for focusing on the good.
Men have as much right and need to express their feelings as women. Unfortunately, years of conditioning has made them reluctant to open up about their problems. This can be a big problem if they are suffering from depression.
Be a man and own up to your feelings. This can help you get the help you need to overcome depression. If you are not ready to come out into the open, these tips can help you overcome feelings of depression even if you can’t admit to it.
19. Did you try herbs?
We know, it sounds like something a middle-aged woman would say to you. Sorry to break it to you, they might just be onto something. Of course, we won’t lie to you and say they’re practical ways to fight depression, but they can help to prevent mild depressive symptoms.
Take a trip to your local vitamin store and pick out some herbal supplements. Ginseng, Lavender, and Saffron are supposed to be the best. You could also find some online – just ensure it’s from a reputable provider.
20. Reconsider the alcohol
Alcohol is depressant.
We get it, drinking has become synonymous with college culture. While drinking and drug use in college, even irresponsibly, is incredibly common – you still need to understand the negative impacts it might be having.
In fact, alcohol abuse and substance abuse go hand in hand with depression. Students who are experiencing depressive episodes should consider avoiding alcohol and drugs.
It’s a vicious cycle, though. Many who are dealing with depression turn to alcohol and drugs to “take their mind off things,” but this is a temporary solution, that has adverse effects in the long-term.
The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a survey which found that 81.7% of students that has poor mental health or depression, also engaged in alcohol use.
Over time, substance abuse will only worsen your symptoms, and should never be seen as a healthy or productive way to fight your depression.
21. Set healthy boundaries
A common symptom of depression is guilt. We can feel guilty for saying no or feel worthless. In college, we especially feel the pressure to say “yes” to everything. We fear not living the best years of our lives.
Set yourself healthy boundaries, and learn to say no every now and then. Only commit to things that fill you with joy, don’t say yes to everything and anything.
We recognize that we can only do so much, and agreeing to everything (even when we don’t feel up to it), won’t benefit us.
If the FOMO is too much to handle, take a much-needed break from Snapchat stories and Instagram stories.
22. Face your fears
Fears can keep your depression in place, and so it’s vital that you work towards facing your fears.
Let’s take a look at common fears, that many college students with depression seem to have:
“He’s so afraid to be cheated on again, he doesn’t allow himself to get close to anyone.”
“He’s afraid of failure.”
“He’s afraid of criticism.”
“He’s afraid people will judge him if he opens up.”
Fear is often irrational and completely blown out of proportion. It’s one of those moments that, we dread doing, but then wonder why we were ever worried in the first place.
Getting help from trained, licensed mental health professionals is likely the best option for you.
These will know the best ways to relieve your symptoms, and can also effectively identify some of the causes.
Many colleges actually provide on-campus counseling centers for students, often with no cost. You should absolutely make the most of this.
This is our final point because we don’t want to provide you with misinformation on medication.
We suggest talking to a primary care provider and listening to their suggestions regarding depression.
For severe forms of depression, your doctor might decide medication could be helpful. Our brain is full of chemicals, so adjusting them chemically by a psychiatrist you trust should not sound strange. You should always read the side effects and all information on medicines, before taking them.
We hope you find this helpful. Remember that whatever you’re feeling, is treatable and you don’t have to suffer alone (That’s our only cliché).
If you or anybody you know is in a crisis, please reach out for help. Crisis hotlines are confidential, free, and available 24.7.
American Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK.
American National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP.
Depressed? Maybe You’re Suffering from Social Media Depression
In the future, they will probably define 21 century as the era when all people in the world became interconnected, ending the tale about “6 degrees of separation”. If you do not remember, this was an idea by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (circa 1929) stating that every person in the world could be linked to any living human being through 6 other people, somehow knowing each other, as a chain.
With the invention of social networks, this is no longer applicable: All people are connected directly and immediately. You can find out what @GigiHadid eat for breakfast by simply becoming one of her followers.
The Birth of Social Networks
The world as a community is in the very beginning of the cycle where “we are all one”, as the famous saying holds.
- It was August 2003 when MySpace was launched as a platform for self-expression online, accessible to anyone.
- Facebook came about a few months later in February 2004.
- Twitter made its entrance on the Internet stage in March 2006.
- Instagram became available in October 2010.
Yes, it was that recent, yet we cannot imagine the world without these mediums today—except for MySpace, which was peacefully forgotten.
These media platforms shape the modern world. The last 3 presidential election campaigns in the USA could have completely different outcomes if it weren’t for the social media.
Humanity as a species is addicted to what became a non-stop “Big Brother” reality show on steroids: Watching other people going about their daily lives, while as the viewer staying in the shadows. And if you think about that, it was only September 1999 that the now archetypal Netherlands reality TV show was launched, echoing the idea of futurist George Orwell from his classic dystopian novel 1984. Today it is no longer a scary thought; it’s simply our life. And we love it!
- Over 2.3 billion people out of 7 billion who live today are already using social networking, and this number grows exponentially.
- Facebook had over 1.79 billion registered users by the third quarter of 2016. Over 1 billion are active users.
- By 2020, in another 3 years, this number is projected to reach close to 3 billion users, according to Statista.
The Dark Side of Social Media
However, even amazing and useful inventions have a darker reverse side, in addition to the bright and colourful front.
It’s not even about employers checking potential candidates through Facebook and looking through their Twitter feeds. Neither it’s about some weirdos trying to lure potential victims.
There is another worry coming to each and every one of us using social networking, psychologists say. They even found a name for it—Facebook depression.
What is Facebook depression?
The new syndrome was pinpointed in 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Facebook depression is characterized as the type of depression that starts with spending more time in social networks and then followed by increased negative feelings and thoughts, leading to an actual depression.
UK researchers from the University of Lancaster recently confirmed that spending too much time in social networks can cause depression. Researchers David Baker and G. Algorta found that there is a complex connection between the use of social media and the level of unhappiness that could digress to depression. Besides, gender and age also have an impact on how this process works.
The essence of this syndrome is the act of comparing oneself to others, which is rather unconscious for the most of us.
The effects of comparing oneself to others online are far more pronounced than when people do it in the offline world, researchers discovered.
The study of Baker and Algorta was published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal.
The Study on Facebook Depression by Baker & Algorta
The research work involved analysing data on 35 thousand participants from 14 different countries. The ages of respondents varied from 15 to 88.
The researchers name the following markers that accompany depression developed through the use of social networks:
- Negative comparisons with lives of other people.
- Being envious of other people.
- Maintaining links with ex-partners as friends in social networks.
- Frequent negative status updates.
People with neurotic personalities were, expectedly, more prone to developing a depression linked to the use of social networks. Women happened to be affected by the syndrome more often than men.
Are You An Active Users of Social Networks? You Are Not Necessarily a Narcissist
At the same time, another research by Australian scientists demonstrated that only 1 in 10 photos on Instagram was posted to gain followers or become famous.
Scholars from the Australian National University analysed over 5,000 accounts and concluded that posting photos with comments simply became a regular way to share personal updates with families and friends. Dr Tony Eager, the author of the study, asserts that selfie-lovers don’t necessarily succumb to narcissism or strive for self-empowerment, as some previous authors suggested.
- The most common type of selfies (35%) is an autobiography shot, depicting important events as well as some casual happenings in a person’s life.
- The next popular kind of photos depicts romantic relationships (21%).
- Fun-poking and humoristic pictures comprise about 12% of images posted.
- Product endorsements or images aimed to attract followers involve about 11% of Instagram shots.
For many network users posting status updates, videos and images became a daily job and the way to earn a living. The beautiful world they create in their accounts is not unlike ads in glamorous magazines. Once the makeup is washed off and the stunning gowns returned to sponsors, passers-by may not even recognize them.
The One That Got Away
Australian blogger Essena O’Neill created a stir in social networks in 2015 when she deleted over 2 thousand Instagram photos and quit self-promotion for good, despite having over 600 thousand followers and picking large checks from sponsors.
“Social media is not real life”, she stated, and then changed comments to her beautiful shots, explaining how hard it was to appear pretty and carefree in the pictures, and recounting all the problems that happened on the day.
Check her story if you are still under impression that someone, somewhere has a much more glamorous and untroubled life than you do.
High Life is Not as Enjoyable as Some Imagine
The “high life” and parties with celebrities are not as amazing as they are promoted to be. For the majority of guests it is their job and they have to appear at the event and be polite and entertaining.
Besides, it takes weeks to find an outfit, do the fittings, and then many hours on the day to get ready (hair and makeup). Sometimes you have to get up at 4 am for that, if the event or a TV interview is in the morning. Standing on 6-inch heels for hours while grinning for photos is also a job, not some fun. It may be scorching hot or freezing cold but you have to smile and look happy in your stifling dress, which makes walking problematic and sitting next to impossible. For guys, suits, ties, and narrow laced-up shoes also give lots of “joy” during formal events.
There are free drinks and food at the event, which you cannot eat or drink (because of imminent damage to makeup or potential spots, or, in the case of intoxication, unwise remarks that may see sponsors cancelling contracts). If you think it’s fun, it’s actually more of a torture, but they do it and pretend to like it, so that people who do not know the truth aspire and want to be like them.
The happiest moment of the day (unless you are the lucky person that got that award and not the loser along with dozens of others) is to take off these horrendous shoes that gave you blisters and the suffocating outfit, and then put your feet up and switch on TV, grab a cold drink and relax.
By the way, this happy moment is available to you, too, at any time.
How to Avoid Becoming Depressed because of Social Networks
The data collected by Baker & Algorta points to the need to stop comparing ourselves with others. This factor was the most obvious when monitoring patterns of healthy online users as compared to the ones whose mental health was affected.
As the research by Eager confirms, social networking has became an acceptable and easy way of updating families and friends on life developments and maintaining connections.
So, the problem is not the social networks themselves but how we use them.
The obvious steps:
- Limiting the time spent in social networks could be the simplest way for users who feel depressed to get out of the vicious circle of negative comparisons and rumination.
- Cutting links with ex-partners is another suggestion for those affected. Once ex-lovers disappear from your newsfeed, the need to know what they are doing will slowly vanish.
- Stopping the envy may be a more complex issue. The simplest thing here is to remember: When you see a beautiful woman or man who seems to have everything, most likely, there is someone who is sick and tired of them, too. Besides, they also have exes and possibly annoying siblings or parents.
- Cut the negativity. Start following the old wisdom and if you have nothing nice to utter, say nothing. If you intend to post a sarcastic remark, simply don’t.
People whom you don’t know in real life (celebrities, popular authors) do not share all their troubles and problems online, but it doesn’t mean they have none. Vice versa, the more intense and diverse are their lives, the larger are the challenges that come their way. You probably would have no idea what to do with some things they are forced to deal with on a daily basis.
Maintaining Mental Health
It became more obvious in recent years that mental health is an issue that doesn’t affect just some “crazy” people but each and every one of us. The ability to manage emotions is not simply an egotistical need but a necessity for living a healthy, happy and long life.
As such, looking after one’s mental state in general would assist in preventing Facebook depression as well. Exercising, spending time outdoors, finding enough minutes in the day to connect with well-meaning and positive friends and family are simple but often overlooked means to keeping one’s life in balance.
Caring for others as opposed to concentrating on personal problems, real or perceived, is also a great way of finding peace and harmony. It can be as prosaic as walking a neighbour’s dog or volunteering at a local community centre.
Just realize that every person on this planet, including celebrities on giant wages, is the happiest when they are with their loved ones, hugging kids and sitting around the table eating dinner with the family. It’s true.