Depression is a mood disorder, the affect becomes dysregulated. What do you think about when thinking about someone who deals with depression? Maybe a person who is very sad, with a dark cloud around their head, comes to mind. That is true but depression, especially when left untreated, can and will spill over to your body .
In older people it is difficult but absolutely necessary to differentiate between dementia and depression. Someone who is dealing with depression can display symptoms who are also seen in (early)dementia but treatment and approach vary greatly. Depression can be accompanied by memory loss and a slower reaction time.
Depression can cause or be the result of sleeping difficulties. If you are interested I’ve written posts about that ‘On sleep and what nature has to do with it’ and ‘Why can’t I just sleep? Depression and insomnia’ .
During depression the thoughts in your head may be so consuming and the fight you put up against the darkest of clouds can suck all the energy out of you. I know I have no compassion left for others when I’m feeling on the verge as it is.
Your body can feel tense and you hold on to that tension. With depression, it is like that for me, I’m unable to unload that tension but I keep it with me. I get pains and aches everywhere. And headaches, the bigger the stress, the bigger the headache!
With loss of the ability to feel pleasure one may be less engaged in physical activities that used to bring relief. When you obtain nothing from walking the dog and you think about how fun it used to be, it may become less and less attractive. The same goes for sexual pleasure. Depression doesn’t make you feel sexy, believe you me. Living mostly in your head doesn’t help to connect to the body either.
I lost the connection to my body. I know that I have one. There you go. And that is it. My body is a house that I live in and it works actually amazing for the little care I put into in. But as it goes with older houses that are unkept, renovations are necessary. At this point in time I don’t have an architect. I want to make a home from my house but I have no clue how to connect to my body. If anyone has some tips on this one, please share in the comments!
Some people find temporary relief in alcohol or other substances. Next to being in danger of developing a dependence, it is not the healthiest thing to undertake. I will not tell anybody to use (illegal) substances as a crutch but I can understand. When you are left in the dark about what is really going on or you know but treatment is difficult, you’re still searching what may be the best option for you, when life happens… you find that sometimes a quick relief makes life bearable. Substances take a toll on your health in the longer perspective. Quitting cold turkey or try to manage up enough energy to cope with stress that comes with life style changes may not be compatible while living under the dark blanket.
The rythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the and harmony of the soul, create the symphony of life.
Caring for your body isn’t your number one.
To start with food, I eat or too much and unhealthy (why are fried or chocolate things so appealing to me? But the nicest apple on the rack doesn’t spark any joy at all!) or nothing at all. My digestive system suffers too. I collect ‘easy recipes for difficult days’ (you can look them up in the ‘menu’) where I try to cook up something good with not the greatest of efforts. If you know recipes that call for minimal effort, please share.
Personal hygiene isn’t that easy or ‘normal’ as it seemed before. But your teeth still decay and your hair keeps growing or it can fall out due to stress. That isn’t a solution btw.
Depression and stress do like each other. Depression increases your risk for a heart attack. The other way around 15% of people with heart disease develop depression.
Depression and stress put a strain on your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to diseases. I found this very unfortunate because you’re not only left to deal with your sadness, mood swings, anhedonia but there is also the stigma to deal with and now you have a runny nose, a stuffed head and a cough that doesn’t seem to disappear. On a positive note, I find it a relief to experience a different kind of headache once in a while. Not the headache from stress but from snot living above my eyes. At some point, this makes me feel more ‘normal’ to be ‘just’ sick like other people during flu season. It may sound weird but hey, that’s my take on it.
Personally I feel (yeey!) that my depression is a ‘disease’ of the heart. My feelings weren’t in tune with me. I focused so much on other people and ran away from my own needs. Actually I don’t know what my needs are and I don’t know how to make them known to others. As I feel it, my heart stopped caring, it was just done and exhausted. My brain took over and ran out of fuel too after a while. I was left with nothing except the hope to recover one day and I will.
 I believe that mind and body are connected, any mental struggle will have its effect on the body. As I write about depression I will focus on that in this post.
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