It’s normal to occasionally feel “down.” Many people who suffer from depression, however, regularly struggle with prolonged feelings of sadness, discouragement, and worthlessness — even if they appear on the surface to be functioning normally.
The good news is that your Employee Assistance Program offers many effective ways to get you the help you need for treating depression. If you think you might be depressed, or are feeling down for any reason, give us a call.
Quickly identifying depression is an important first step in getting the help you need. Sometimes periods of sadness include feelings of nervous irritation, restlessness, or anger. When you are depressed, these moods persist for a longer period of time, to the point that they can cause notable disruptions in everyday life.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of this condition when they emerge. Sometimes, the lack of energy from feeling depressed can cause you to delay reaching out, yet taking action and finding support are key to effectively addressing depression.
Some symptoms of depression include:
• Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
• Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
• Significant changes in sleep and/or eating habits
• Inability to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions
• Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
• Restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others
• Using alcohol, drugs, or eating to cope with difficult emotions
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
• Self-destructive behavior or thoughts, especially thoughts of suicide, require immediate attention.
If you experience such feelings, don’t wait. Call 911. Your EAP is also available for support. You can call all day, every day. Help is just a phone call away: 1-800-222-0364 (TTY: 1-888-262-7848)
Tips for smoother sailing
If you’re temporarily feeling down, the following strategies may help you become more upbeat and feel more yourself again.
• Get plenty of physical activity, especially aerobic — brisk walking, running, biking, etc.
• Enjoy quality sleep, but be careful not to oversleep
• Add more social activity to your week
• Find activities that get you out and engage your attention — sports, adult education classes, etc.
• Avoid alcohol, since it is a depressant and can interrupt sleep
• Volunteer or participate in community activities — this can get you “out of yourself” — and can put you in a more social environment
• Reprogram negative thought patterns with positive affirmations. For example, you can replace old thoughts with new ones like “I deserve to be happy” and “I am strong and capable.” The positive affirmations will likely seem untrue at first, but as you use them more consistently, you’ll begin to feel better.
If you or a loved one feels overwhelmed or continues to experience emotional distress, contact a professional. As stated earlier, having self-destructive behavior or thoughts, especially suicidal ones, is a symptom that needs immediate attention. If you experience such feelings, call 911 first, then contact your EAP for support.
If you’re experiencing any level of depression, seek help right away. You deserve to feel better.
Resilience is about thriving, not just surviving. It’s a tool for getting the most out of your life — getting back on your feet even after life has thrown you a curve ball.
Resilience means adapting well in spite of adversity. Often it requires having good reserves — of energy, patience, nutrition, sleep, etc. Returning to your healthy and productive life may be as simple as taking good care of yourself and paying attention to your own needs.
If your usual tactics for solving a problem or changing a situation don’t put you back on your feet, try a totally new strategy. You may be surprised when it works better.
There may also be times when you need additional help getting through “rough patches” in life. It could be anything from asking your spouse or parents to take care of the kids so that you can have the night off, to seeking professional help to work out emotional challenges.
Fortunately, your EAP can assist you in bouncing back. Call today and our skilled counselors can help you pick yourself up when you’re feeling down.
Around-the-clock assistance is just a call away. The EAP offers confidential assessment, referral, and short-term consultation for any personal concern. Call 800-222-0364 or visit FOH4You.com.
75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs contributed to this article.
SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES
Veteran Crisis Line
National Suicide Hotline
Military One Source
Air Force Suicide Prevention
Mental Health and Drug Abuse Treatment Programs