Table of Contents
When you wake up in the morning and the first thing you say to yourself is “I feel hopeless,” then you are likely suffering from depression. Learn about the symptoms of depression and how to find relief.
Depression is the second most prevalent mental health disorder among Americans, affecting about 21 million people each year. The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe enough to cause major impairment in functioning. One of the predominant features of depression is the feeling of hopelessness.
When depression strikes it can affect every facet of your daily life, including your energy, your job, and your relationships. Getting help for depression is crucial, as this disorder can worsen and increase the risk for suicide.
What Is Depression?
Part of the process of diagnosing the major depressive disorder is through the symptoms. These are symptoms that have occurred daily for at least two weeks. The DSM-5 lists criteria, with the threshold being five or more of these symptoms being present. The symptoms include:
- Depressed mood most of the day, feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness.
- Reduced interest in activities that once were enjoyed.
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Sleeping more than usual or insomnia.
- Appearing to others to be agitated or moving slower than usual.
- Irritability and angry outbursts.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- The trouble with concentration and decision-making.
- Thoughts of death, suicide ideation, or attempts.
What Depression Feels Like
When you are suffering from the effects of depression it can impact all areas of life. It can make you feel tired and sluggish, zapping your energy and leaving you feeling unmotivated. It can cause sleep problems, which makes it hard to pay attention at work or school. It may cause you to lose interest in your usual pastimes, or to isolate yourself from family and friends. Mostly, it just makes you feel sad.
All of these combined can lead to you declaring, “I feel hopeless.” It all becomes too much to bear. For this reason, getting timely help from a mental health expert is essential. People with depression are at a much higher risk of taking their own lives, so seeking treatment is a must.
What Causes Depression?
The truth is that some people are able to bounce back from setbacks or losses, while others are not. Science is still unclear about the exact cause of depression or why it impacts some people and not others. Clinical studies are ongoing, which seek to answer these questions through research on brain chemistry, gut health, and genetics.
There are, however, some identified factors that can contribute to the development of depression. These include:
- Genetics. Family members who also struggle with depression.
- Trauma. Living through a highly traumatic event.
- Abuse. Past history of physical or sexual abuse.
- Loss. Sudden loss of a loved one.
- Health conditions. Certain health issues such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, thyroid conditions, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, HIV, and stroke.
- Medications. Certain drugs may cause depression as a side effect.
- Personality. Coping skills and personality type.
- Substance abuse. Depression can co-occur with alcohol or drug addiction.
How Do You Overcome Depression?
When you first start noticing you are feeling hopeless, it may help to make some lifestyle changes. These are actions you can take that improve your health and wellbeing in general and may help reduce sadness. They include:
- Fitness routines. Cardio workouts three or more times a day can improve your mood, your sleep quality, and increase your energy.
- A healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh produce will help you restore health and wellness overall.
- Keeping a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed at the same time each night helps to set your body clock and improves sleep quality.
When You Need a Higher Level of Care
If you try the above actions and see no relief of the symptoms, it indicates you are in need of more focused treatment. Although you may not be aware of how serious your depression is, a loved one might be concerned about you. Maybe a family member or friend prompts you to go visit a doctor to seek some answers.
Depression treatment consists of a combination of drug therapy and psychotherapy. Other activities, such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture can augment the effects of therapy.
However, if you do not respond to treatment from your physician after a few months, a residential mental health program may be the answer. These programs provide a safe setting for healing and can give you the time needed to get better. The treatment plans are tailored just for your needs, and include:
Drug therapy is considered the first-line treatment element for depression. Antidepressants help adjust brain chemistry and alleviate the symptoms of depression, at least to some degree.
Evidence-based therapies further enhance the drug therapy for treating depression. Talk therapy sessions allow the therapist to help you resolve emotional issues that may be a factor. These may involve past trauma, childhood abuse, grief and loss, divorce, and other painful life events.
- Support groups
Small groups gather to discuss topics provided by the therapist and then engage in sharing their feelings. This provides a sense of connection with others who are also struggling with depression.
- Holistic therapies
Adding holistic activities, like yoga and meditation, can help reduce stress and induce feelings of inner peace.
If you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I feel hopeless,” that is a sign you need to get some help. Do not delay in seeking out the expert help you need and deserve.
Mental Health Hope Provides Guidance for Mental Health Needs
Mental Health Hope is an online free resource for those seeking support for a mental health challenge. If you suffer from the symptoms of depression, our team is here for you, ready to provide information and guidance. Reach out today at (877) 967-9274.