War Against Depression

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Anne had been through a tough time, it came as a shock and still is a shock. She wishes it’s a dream. But it was real. Her boyfriend of five years broke up with her on the eve of St. Valentine’s Day, for reasons she could not explain. It’s been a very hard time for her. But for the timely intervention of a good neighbour like Lydia it would have been a different story.

It’s been six dreadful days and Anne has not said a word to her neighbours. She leaves home every morning and gets back late in the evening. “This is very unusual of Anne,” Lydia worries, ” I feel like walking up to her this evening whenever she comes back to find out what the problem really is.”

“You better mind your business,” Betty warns Lydia. ” For God’s sake aren’t we suppose to be our sisters keeper? You know what? I will do it. The worst she may do is to ignore me,” Lydia blurts out. “Alright, I wish you good luck,” declares Betty.

Lydia actually did approach Anne and surprisingly Anne opened up. What Anne experienced could be depression.

Sharon Jane Akinyemi
Sharon Jane Akinyemi

The word depressed is a common everyday word. People might say “I’m depressed” when in fact they mean “I’m fed up because I’ve had a row, or failed an exam, or lost my job”, etc. These ups and downs of life are common and normal. Most people recover quite quickly. With true depression, you have a low mood and other symptoms each day for at least two weeks. Symptoms can also become severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day activities.

Have you been there, when you have feelings of agitation, restlessness, and irritability,becoming withdrawn or isolated , difficulty concentrating,dramatic change in appetite often with weight gain or loss, fatigue and lack of energy, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed? Sometimes you had thoughts of death or suicide,trouble sleeping or too much sleeping.

Although the exact cause of depression is not known, many researchers believe it is caused by chemical changes in the brain. This may be due to a problem with your genes, or triggered by certain stressful events. More likely, it’s a combination of both.

Depression can appear as anger and discouragement, rather than feelings of sadness. Some types of depression run in families. But depression can also occur if you have no family history of the illness. Anyone can develop depression, even kids.

The following may play a role in depression:
•Alcohol or drug abuse
•Certain medical conditions, including underactive thyroid, cancer, or long-term pain
•Certain medications such as steroids
•Sleeping problems
•Stressful life events, such as:
•Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
•Failing a class
•Death or illness of someone close to you
•Childhood abuse or neglect
•Loss of job/loved one
•Social isolation (common among the elderly)

People who have depression usually see everything with a more negative attitude. They cannot imagine that any problem or situation can be solved in a positive way. From experience, I strongly believe that if you are feeling depressed, a good round of physical exercise can stimulate the brain nerves and make you feel elevated, relaxed and happier. You can feel really better after an exercise session. It helps boost confidence levels and reduces undue stress.

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A dance session is a form of exercise. Going trekking, playing around in your child’s play area or just dancing in the room- everything counts as a healthy physical work out.

Some newer treatments have recently had some press coverage. None of those listed below is currently routine treatment for depression. However, further research may clarify how useful they are for depression:

•Eating a healthy diet may help to prevent depression. One theory as to why this may help is that a diet high in olive oil may increase the amount of brain chemical called serotonin. This is similar to the effect of some antidepressants.
•Magnetic stimulation therapy. A study byThe British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)that looked at magnetic stimulation of the brain showed promise to improve depression symptoms.
•Omega-3 supplements. One research study has reported that some people with depression (but not people with depression and anxiety) had an improvement in symptoms after taking omega-3 supplements (fish oil supplements).
•Ketamine. A small study reported that an injection of ketamine improved symptoms for a few days in some people with otherwise treatment-resistant depression. But this is not for self medication, it’s dangerous! When it become needful, consult your physician.

How Exercise Provides Mental Health Benefits
There are numerous positive psychological outcomes associated with engaging in regular exercise. A few of the most important ones include the following:

• Stress Relief
Whether you have had a bad day at work, feel overwhelmed by financial or family pressures, or are agitated as a result of fighting traffic, the stress you are feeling is very real – and it has a very real impact on your physical and mental well being. Give all this negative energy a positive outlet by engaging in aerobic activity for a while. These are just a few examples of the ways that exercise can be used to help you relieve stress.

• Depression Prevention
People who exercise regularly also report decreased rates of depression, lowered pain, and less anxiety. Exercise works in this case by increasing endorphins and neurotransmitters, decreasing immune system substances that may make depression worse, and increasing body temperature.

• Enhanced Mood
Engaging in regular exercises can also help improve your mood. There are many reasons for this, including the facts that exercise leads to an increase of endorphins, helps you better cope with the stressors of daily living, and results in a reduction in anxiety.

•Confidence Boost
Being active inevitably builds confidence in your physical abilities. If you get stronger in the gym or shave a couple minutes off your jog, you have hard proof that you’re capable of meeting and surpassing real goals. If you are able to pull this off in the gym, you can probably do it elsewhere too. Likewise, when you experience temporary setbacks and disappointments in your workout, you learn to overcome them the next time around. This is another area that translates well from the field of exercise to social life or the professional world.

• Increased Self-Esteem
Exercise can help you control your weight and tone your body. These improvements in your physical appearance that result from exercise can also have a significant positive impact on body image and body satisfaction, both of which lead to an increase in self-esteem.

•Improved Sleep
Insomnia and poor sleep are often related to residual stress that didn’t get the needed outlet. You can’t fix an overdue debt or revive missed opportunities at work by obsessing about them at 2 a.m., yet that is often what people end up doing. Not only does exercise provide a direct outlet for that pent-up stress, but you also get the immediate, tangible effect of physical tiredness that can help you go to sleep when you need to do so. If you spent the day in an office chair and the evening on the couch, your body never enjoyed real movement. Swim a few dozen laps after work, and at least you will be physically tired when hitting the sack.
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