How to identify and deal with depression

Does the following sound familiar to you?

  • "I've lost my appetite."
  • "I can't sleep."
  • " I don't know why I feel like crying all the time."
  • "I've lost interest"
  • "I don't feel like doing anything."
  • "Life is meaningless, what's there to live for?"
Watch out for signs of depression. (Getty Images)

Such thoughts may be suggestive of depression. Depression rarely creeps up on you without reason. Often, depression is a result of some imbalance in life, a signal that there are areas in your life that need to be managed and not ignored. If you have been constantly feeling low and experiencing some or all of the symptoms above, it is appropriate to seek professional medical help. This is especially so if thoughts of death or suicide are present. Do not self-diagnose or self-manage without speaking to your doctor first. Following your doctor's consult, below are some self-management tips that you can try at home.

  1. Don't be embarrassed if you need to seek help for your depression. There are professionals out there that can give you support to start living a better life. Remember you are worth it!
  2. Set a routine for yourself and include some basic level of activity throughout the day. This is important to give your life a daily purpose.
  3. Create a daily motto for yourself. This will be your day's inspiration especially when feeling down. Some examples would be: "Life's too short to worry about everything", "Let loose and live", and "It is another beautiful day".
  4. Choose to engage in an activity that you would normally enjoy even if you don't want to do it. This is to prevent you from losing sense of yourself and thus reducing your activity level to a minimal.
  5. Try a new activity that you can do with a group of friends or if you prefer, by yourself. Cultivate new interests that will keep you going.
  6. Rally social support.  It is important to reach out to your family and friends around you who can walk you through this rough patch. Turning them away will cause you more harm than good. You need not walk this journey alone.
  7. Don't avoid the feeling of depression. The harder you try to suppress or control depression, the more depressed you might get. Avoidance is not the way but acknowledgement and acceptance will be more helpful to see you through.
  8. Sufficient rest and regular meals are also needed to help with your recovery. Without enough rest and a proper diet; you will not have the energy and the mental capacity to fight this battle.
  9. Use positive self-talk. Believe that your life is worth it and you are worthy as a person no matter what your mind tells you.
  10. Re-look, re-think and re-set your life's goals. Dream again to find that purpose and meaning in your life that will motivate you to live a more fulfilled life.
  11. Be thankful and contented with what you have in life.

The writer is a senior pyschologist at the Department of Psychological Services and Pain Management Clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. 

This post was originally published in Yahoo Singapore's Fit To Post Health Blog.