Finding Hope in the Darkness of Depression
Everyone experiences moments of sadness in their life. In fact, you probably don't have to look that far back into your life to find the last time you had a "blue" moment. Feeling sad is a completely natural and even healthy emotion that is simply a part of life's ups and downs. When these feelings arise, they may last a few days, but we can still push through the daily routine, and it's not long until we're back to our regular selves.
For some people, however, that sadness isn't the same as what everyone else experiences with day-to-day life. In fact, the sadness they feel isn't really even sadness; it's an unquenchable feeling of loneliness, hopelessness, blackness, despair, anxiety, and fatigue. And it lingers. It doesn't just pass after a few days, weeks, months, or even years. In the words of Barbara Kingsolver, it "is like a cancer." Today, this "cancer" affects over 300 million people worldwide. It's name? Depression
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that results in persistent feelings of emptiness, irritability, hopelessness, loss of interest, and more. Ultimately, these feelings impair one's ability to live life normally. Depression comes in various degrees and often arises as a result of several factors, including stressful life events, past trauma, genetics, medications, insufficient mood regulations in the brain, and more.
In the past, doctors assumed that depression affected mostly adults. Today, depression is becoming more common among women. Not only that, but it is also affecting more children and teenagers, manifesting itself more as irritability than the traditional "sad" mood. When most people think of depression, they often think of the mental and emotional strain that people experience. Depression, however, effects more than just your mental health.
It can lead to several physical health problems, such as headaches, stomach issues, and physical tension. In more severe cases, it can co-occur with diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and heart disease. Depression is also the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44, and the leading cause of suicidal deaths.
October is National Depression Awareness Month. Being aware of depression means not only learning about it and what you can do to help others, but it also means being aware of the symptoms so that you can recognize depression in yourself and others.
While many people are aware of their depression, many may still not be. If you experience any of the symptoms of depression, it is important that you visit with a qualified health professional to get the help you may need. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or loneliness
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness
- Lack of interest in hobbies or activities
- Lingering fatigue
- Restlessness and difficulty sleeping
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Physical health issues without a clear explanation
There are many more symptoms of depression, and most doctors say that in order to be diagnosed with depression, you need to experience several of these symptoms nearly every day, for the whole day, for a minimum of two weeks. If you feel like you consistently experience any symptoms of depression, the first thing you can do is get screened.
This year, October 11, 2018 is National Depression Screening Day. On this day, you can visit a local screening site, or take an online screening test. These screening tests are a great tool to help identify those who may truly be suffering from depression, ultimately helping them get the help they need sooner.
What You Can Do to Treat Depression
Depending on how severe your depression is and what caused it, there are many things you can do to help yourself get through to the other side. You can open up to a friend, family member, or health professional; remove stressful things and people from your life; socialize more often; take medication; exercise more frequently; get better sleep; and more. By working with others, you can figure out what triggers your depression and how you can remove those triggers. Of course, all of this is much easier said than done, but just remember that you are not alone in this fight.
Not everyone may understand exactly what you're feeling, but you have people who are here to help you climb out of depression, one day at a time. At Rocky Mountain Oils, we understand that severe impact that depression can have on someone's life, and we want to do all that we can to help those suffering from depression rediscover themselves and take back their lives.
Essential Oils and Depression
If you are struggling with depression, we recommend that you first and foremost reach out to a trusted medical professional for help. Although many people may find that essential oils help relieve symptoms of depression, oils are not meant to replace medication or any other form of professional treatment. Stress is a major contributor to depression.
Not only can it trigger depression to start in the first place, but it can lead to deeper feelings of helplessness that can ultimately cause you to shut down and give up. As part of our collection at Rocky Mountain Oils, we are pleased to have several essential oils that can help relieve stress, calm the mind, and uplift your mood.
Spikenard is a flowering plant from the high altitudes of the Himalayan Mountains. For centuries, Ayurvedic medicine has used Spikenard to help relieve stress, promote restful sleep, and calm the mind. You can use Spikenard essential oil in the same way today. Simply diffuse the oil, or massage it into the skin with a carrier oil to help relax both the body and the mind. Spikenard essential oil helps relieve physical tension, and can help alleviate those "blue" feelings you may experience from time to time.
Vetiver essential oil comes from the deep, long roots of this native Indian plant. Vetiver is another common plant in Ayurvedic medicine that helps calm the mind. The compounds in Vetiver essential oil work directly with your nervous system, helping to alleviate feelings of hypersensitivity and ground the emotions. Some of the best ways to use Vetiver essential oils is to apply a few drops to the wrists, and use in aromatherapy.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit that comes from the Seville orange tree, and it is the most phototoxic essential oil; however, we are happy to offer Bergamot FCF, a furocoumarin-free oil that is not phototoxic.
Bergamot's fresh, citrusy aroma is excellent for uplifting the mood and promoting emotional well-being. It can help calm the overactive mind, inspire fresh energy, and create feelings of joy. You can use Bergamot essential oil by rubbing a few drops in your hands and breathing in the scent. You can also combine Bergamot with a carrier oil and rub it on your feet or stomach, or use it in baths, massage oils, perfumes, and aromatherapy.
Lavender is a traditional and popular essential oil that is known for its wide array of uses. Native to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia, and Africa, Lavender contains many constituents that can greatly help reduce restlessness, promote relaxation, and reduce feelings of stress.
Some of the most popular ways to use Lavender essential oil include diffusion, rubbing a few drops behind the ears or on the wrists with a carrier oil, and inhaling a few deep breaths from the bottle. With how common depression is today, odds are either you or someone you know has or will experience some from of depression at some point in life.
Our hope is that you will take advantage of Depression Awareness Month to learn more about how you can help yourself and others overcome depression and find renewed hope. References: “Depression”. February 2018. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression “Depression Facts”. 2018. Hope For Depression Research Foundation. https://www.hopefordepression.org/depression-facts/ Vann, Madeline R. “12 Surprising Facts About Depression.” February 22, 2016. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression-health-well-being/surprising-depression-facts/