This article contains information on tips on how to handle depression as a youth.
DEPRESSION! A battle that never seems to end. Depression  is one of the major reasons for deaths, worldwide. In recent times, the death toll caused by depression has risen at an alarming rate. This mental disorder is said to be the most common but yet the most dangerous of all forms of mental instability. One can liken it to “A silent killer”
It affects just anybody regardless of age, status and background but sadly, most victims of this deadly disorder are the youths.
WHAT THEN IS DEPRESSION?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and in extreme cases, leads to suicide.
Oftentimes, people mistake mere mood swings for depression. It is important to note that depression isn’t a weakness anyone can snap out of easily. Depression may require long-term treatment.
It is, however, important to know the symptoms of depression in order to seek help. Bearing in mind symptoms may vary, depending on individuals and ages, below are some of the symptoms to look out for:
Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, Angry outbursts, irritability/ frustration, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, sleep disturbances, including insomnia, clinginess, feeling negative, feeling misunderstood, extremely sensitive, frequent or recurrent thoughts of death and suicide, etc.
Moreso, pay attention to anyone who has a habit of making speeches like “everyone would be better off without me” and the likes. It is a warning sign.
Having a younger brother who was once a victim of depression, I have learnt to be sensitive to speeches and comments especially one coming from youths, since they’re the most vulnerable.
Sharing a personal encounter. Two days back, while going through random posts on Facebook, I stumbled on a comment I couldn’t just scroll past. It read thus “Life is a living hell, I wish I could end it and rest but don’t have the heart to”Like, Wow! I could see a young girl who was losing her sanity and so, I was compelled to send a friend request after replying to that comment. In just a few minutes of chatting with this pretty 20 years old, I could feel goosebumps all over my body. I was glad to give her a listening ear.
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. The rate at which youths between the ages of 18 – 30 fall into depression is worrisome and disheartening, hence, the reason for this article.
I will not tell you overcoming depression is easy, the truth is, it is not. It takes a lot of determination from the victim and those around to conquer this nightmare victoriously, and so, from personal experience and that of others I have witnessed, I will be discussing important tips on handling depression.
TIPS ON HOW TO HANDLE DEPRESSION AS YOUTH
Below are ways you can deal with depression as a young person:
1. IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS
Triggers can be anything that puts you in a bad state of mind. It can come from hurtful words, failure, stress, ill-treatment from loved ones etc. The best way to identify them is to be in tune with your emotions.
How do I mean? As a student, there are times you may end up with poor results in your schoolwork. Thinking about this, chances are you may start seeing yourself as a failure, someone who is never good at anything and if care is not taken, you may start feeling depressed. In this case, failure is a trigger which you’ve identified by thinking about the poor performance.
Also, hurtful words are common triggers amongst youths. It makes one feel worthless and unloved. Try as much as possible to avoid negative people around you, those whose words keep getting at you.
In all, identifying triggers will help you know how best to avoid them. This is one step to overcoming depression.
2. TALK TO SOMEONE
Another tip for dealing with depression is to reach out to someone. Possibly, a trusted adult, friends or family. Don’t feel alone in your feelings. Avoid the desire to ignore your feelings of depression. You will likely find greater relief about what you’re feeling when you seek support from someone you trust.
Talk with them about the things that are triggering your feelings of depression.
Be open with them and listen to what advice they may have. The people you trust are there to support you. Still, on speaking to someone, seek the help of a professional. It can be a therapist, psychologist or a counsellor. Professional support will help you in the present and the future. They can help you to learn effective coping skills for depression triggers.
3. FORGIVE AND LET GO
Several times, youths tend to fall helplessly into depression when they constantly dwell on a traumatising incident. Sometimes, they blame themselves for whatever happened and gradually self-hate crawls in.
If you have had a traumatic experience as a child, this may impact your current or future feelings as an adult. A traumatic experience can happen no matter what age or your background, but each person may be affected differently by that experience. Pasts always have a way of affecting the present when constantly dwelt on.
Another helpful step to handle depression is letting go, let the past remain in the past. Forgive yourself as well as the offender, if any. Avoid self-blame.
4. AVOID SOLITUDE
It is common for people suffering from depression to disconnect themselves from others. Withdrawing and isolating from others does more harm than good. It only exposes one to be lonely and at that point, dangerous and negative thoughts may creep in.
As much as possible, never give yourself a chance to be alone for too long. Always be in the company of people. Hangout with friends, go for sightseeing and have fun. These are ways of getting distracted from harmful thoughts.
This is why it’s important to talk to a close and trusted person about your condition. They have a great role to play in helping you overcome depression.
5. THINK POSITIVELY
Negative thinking is a prominent symptom of depression and not giving in to such thoughts is almost irresistible. Try to push off negative thoughts when it comes up, focus your thoughts on the positives in your life.
When you start to notice your thoughts and turn your focus towards all that is positive in your life, you will start to feel better about yourself and your environment. CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy can be very helpful in achieving this.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy. It can be effective if depression is mild and in some severe cases if the therapist is highly skilful.
This is how CBT works;
For instance, you may feel worthless and view yourself as a failure. First, the therapist makes you aware of these negative thoughts and replaces those with healthier and positive thoughts.
The work of the therapist is to work on your mindset and teach you to always see yourself as a useful personality, of course, that’s very correct, Nobody is worthless in life. Successfully changing how you view yourself can help ease depression.
6. GET INVOLVED IN SOMETHING YOU LOVE DOING
This is where your passion comes into play. I know how difficult it can be for a depressed person to even think of passion but still, there is always something that always cheers up every individual when emotionally down. Spend time doing those things.
For some, it can be singing, cooking, listening to music, seeing movies, writing etc. Discover what makes you happy and do it. They are good distractions for a depressed person.
7. AVOID ANTIDEPRESSANTS IF POSSIBLE
While antidepressants may seem like the best and unavoidable ways of dealing with depression, it is also important to note that they have numerous side effects which include drowsiness, insomnia, sexual disorders, nauseate, agitation, anxiety etc.
These side effects makes it more dangerous for a depressed patient to be exposed to antidepressants as they are vulnerable to committing suicide. This is why the Food and Drug Administration ordered antidepressant manufacturers to include a suicide warning on their package inserts.
The package inserts note that children, adolescents, and young adults with major depression or other psychiatric disorder who take antidepressants may be at increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour and should be monitored carefully.
8. LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
This includes eating healthy, regular exercise to feel relaxed, and getting adequate sleep.
Eat meals that will help to stabilize blood sugar, avoid too much carbohydrate-rich foods, go for whole grains instead. The food eaten and general healthy lifestyle is another helpful measure.
9. LOVE YOURSELF
The best person to love you is you. Start to embrace yourself, believe that you can come out of the challenging condition stronger. Stop being too hard on yourself. We’re our biggest critic.
Even if the world turns her back on you, you shouldn’t. It may not be easy but it is possible. Learn to love yourself. Self-hate and pity only worsens the case. It is you against the world.
Depression is a serious disorder that can take a terrible toll on you and your family. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated, resulting in emotional, behavioural and health problems that affect every area of your life. It is important to detect the signs on time and seek immediate help.
Dear youths, my sweethearts and brave hearts, nothing is worth dying for. I know that life can be so unfair and it gives us hard knocks but then, suicide is never a way out. Avoid anything that will expose you to depression. Learn to be in charge of your emotions and you will always overcome them.
DEPRESSION KILLS. DEPRESSION IS REAL
I hope these tips help.
 Depression. (n.d.). Who.int. from https://www.who.int/health-topics/depression