There are plenty of people who believe that there is something wrong with them. They may have been given the diagnosis of depression, or they are worried that they are depressed. With the great number of misdiagnosed cases of depression, health care providers are looking for other causes for a patient’s stress and anxiety.
Here are some problems that could contribute to feeling down. You might not be depressed. You might be suffering from something else instead.
Loneliness. Being connected on a social level is one of the most important things to keep an individual, regardless of age, feeling as if they are leading a full and satisfying life. Having friends has been shown to decrease feelings of depression and sadness. Call an old friend. Join a book study or club. Take a class and meet new people.
Grief. Dealing with grief is more than simply losing a loved one to death. We go through the feelings and emotions of grief every time we suffer through a relationship breakup, lose a job, or even lose a pet. Grief is not depression, but it does masquerade as depression. The feelings of being unmotivated, feeling irritable, down, not able to focus, having trouble eating, suffering from insomnia can all be related to that problem with the job or the breakup you just went through with your partner. Give yourself time to process what you went through. The interesting thing about grief is that it is patient and will wait for you.
Insomnia and sleep-deprivation. Losing just one night’s sleep can bring about powerful feelings of exhaustion that affect our mood, our ability handle conflict or disappointments. This is where having a heart-to-heart conversation with a health care professional might be helpful to determine if your insomnia is due to depression. Or, do you worry you may be depressed because you can’t sleep? As with grief, being sleep deprived can mimic the symptoms of depression. Work to manage your insomnia. Create healthy sleep habits and a good sleep environment.
Lack of exercise. When we don’t exercise, we deprive ourselves from the most natural “feel good” chemical of all, the endorphins our bodies create when we exercise at a certain level. Most people do not have to exercise very hard at all to enjoy the uplifting benefits of exercise. Just taking a walk outside is often enough to raise our spirits.
Poor Diet. Face it, the quality of food we use to fuel our bodies will determine how we feel not only right after eating, but for hours afterward. A diet full of chemicals, preservatives, and dyes have an adverse effect on how we feel. Eating a “high octane” diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins and fats ultimately improves our overall feelings of wellbeing.
If you just suspect you might be depressed, try changing a few things in your life and see if you can improve things by changing a few lifestyle choices.