Susan is a young mother of two children. She often finds herself feeling as if she is no longer happy in her life. She has trouble making decisions and has noticed an increase in her weight over the last couple of months. Susan has found herself very agitated and irritable with her husband and children. She is constantly tired and must pull herself out of bed each morning.

Susan is experiencing very common signs of depression.  Although it is common for everyone to feel down from time to time, most people experience only mild feelings of sadness.  People experiencing depression often have persistent feelings of sadness, even when good things happen to them. They may have trouble with everyday tasks such as focusing on work and making simple decisions.

Symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness and loss of interest, a decrease in pleasurable or joyful feelings, trouble concentrating and making decisions, fatigue, disruptions in normal sleep, such as an increase or decrease in the amount of sleep, and either a decrease or increase in appetite.  If these symptoms sound familiar, Click Here to take our depression quiz.

What to do?

If you feel you or someone you know is experiencing depression, do not ignore the symptoms. Depression is treatable. Often individuals who are experiencing depression can begin to feel much better by following these simple steps:

Tell someone! Although it may be hard to reach for that phone, support from others can help people who are experiencing depression symptoms. Tell a friend, and call a counselor, therapist or psychologist. This support system can provide you with encouragement and help to sort out solutions. Research shows talk therapies are very effective in treating depression.  There are many trained therapists at Genesis Counseling Center that can help. Just call 757-827-7707 or your nearest Genesis office.

Get moving! With depression comes a decrease in the pleasurable chemicals in the brain. Exercise is known to cause an increase in these chemicals. A simple increase in activity, such as going for a walk can help.

If your symptoms are severely negatively impacting your life, you may also want to talk to your physician. It is always very important to notify your doctor of changes in your physical and mental health. Depression can sometimes be related to other physical conditions (for example: thyroid issues, diabetes, cancer treatment, post-surgery recovery from anesthesia, and more).  Additionally, there are medications which can help to improve mood in severe cases. Research shows that some people experiencing moderate to severe depression need both the support and help of counseling as well as medication.

List of Pleasurable Activities:

Go for a scenic walk Bowling Eat a treat
Watch the clouds Putt-putt-golf Cook your favorite dish
Star gaze Billiards Try a new recipe
Go jogging Tennis Take a cooking class
Ride a bike Get a massage Go to a restaurant you haven’t been to yet
Go hiking Go sit outside Listen to the radio
Go roller-skating/ice skating Go for a drive Go to a sporting event
Go to a playground or watch a game Ride the bus somewhere new Play a board or card game with a friend
Try a new adventure sport like surfing or kayaking Plan a trip somewhere new Play solitaire
Basketball Take a nap Play video games
Chat online Go shopping Do something nice for others
Surf the internet Get a haircut and/or manicure/pedicure Go out for coffee/tea
Create your own website Go to the library Go to a museum or art gallery
Create your own blog Go to church Write a letter to God
Join a Christian meetup site Attend/join a small group church meeting Plant a garden
Sell unwanted items on the internet Go to the book store Take a bubble bath
Buy something on the internet Read your Bible Sign up for a new class
Do a puzzle Pray Read a novel
Write letters to friends/family Write about the funniest thing that has happened to you Go to the mall or park to people watch
Journal Write a letter to someone who has improved your life Learn a new language
Write a letter speaking of your strengths Make a list of ways to improve others’ lives Sing/learn a new song
Draw/paint/sculpt Call a friend or family member Join a theater group
Talk on the phone Go out with a friend Invite friends over
Make a list of positive role models you look up to Create your own list of fun activities Text friends/family
Organize a party Exercise Take a yoga class
Babysit a friend’s dog Bird watch Wildlife watch
Read the Sunday comics Go to the movies Watch TV
Play an instrument or learn how to Write a song or poem Listen to upbeat music
Make a movie Take pictures Dance

Additional Resources: Depression in Adolescents and Children: Dysthymic Disorder – List of Online Resources from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America