When in depression, you’re not in control of what you think or do. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, you end up thinking negatively and doing things that feed the depression. This only makes you feel lower sending you into a downward spiral. Gloom and sadness becomes a constant and you’re clawing and clutching at everything for help, but not everything will help you out.
Here are 4 things that people do when depressed, which actually hurt more than help:
1. Substance abuse
The numbing of senses that comes with alcohol and recreational drugs might seem like a god send when you’re depressed, but these substances are addictive by nature. At first, some amount of it will give you relief, but as time passes, you will need more of it and more frequently. And without your knowledge, you’ll enter substance abuse territory.
The demerits of being in a constant state of intoxication will show in your personal and professional life. Not to mention the toll it will take on your health. And if you try to stop it, you’re going to be frustrated and agitated, giving you one more thing to worry about, along with your depression.
Eating rich and tasty food can make anyone feel good, because the brain releases dopamine – the feel good drug. When it comes to eating, your brain decides what and how much you eat, and researchers have found out that you generally eat more when you’re depressed.
The “food high” usually wears off and you experience a trough, making you depressed again. You enter a vicious cycle of more eating, feeling good momentarily and feeling depressed again. It’s another kind of substance abuse and there’s research that shows that depressed people are at a higher risk of obesity.
3. Obsessive thinking and Rumination
Obsessive thinking is worrying about possible negative outcome of events and continuously thinking about it in loop. You lose control over what you’re thinking and you do it ritualistically and frequently. The same kind of thinking with blame and anger about things done in the past is rumination.
Moving on or being brave is easier said than done. In fact, brain imaging studies show that obsessive thinking forces thoughts into repetitive loops. Some describe it as “a hamster wheel in your brain, with a parade of different animals entering and exiting over time.”
4. Withdrawal and Social Isolation
Being depressed is a terrible experience, which cannot be easily summed up in words and explained to people around you. Getting people to understand what exactly you’re going through is tough and inability to do so can lead to judgement. Out of this fear, most depressed people choose to keep to themselves – even to the point of social isolation.
This is the single, most harmful thing that you can do. Isolation and withdrawal can worsen depression by amplifying the brain’s response to stress. In fact, social interaction can help break this vicious cycle. Besides, reaching out to people close to you is your first line of defence against depression.
If you’re depressed, don’t keep to yourself. Reach out, speak out. Experts at YourDOST are there to help you.