What To Do When Your Life’s Falling Apart
Your life has been turned upside down! You feel like you’ve lost everything. Or your marriage is breaking up. Maybe relationships with friends and family seem strained.
Or work is stressful. And even though you’re going through these difficult times, you haven’t yet reached out for help.
You may think that nothing can change how badly things have gone wrong. But you could be mistaken. There is hope – hope for healing from depression and new beginnings.
How often do you get depressed or anxious? If you get these feelings often, you might suffer from a severe illness. Depression is a common mental disorder that affects millions of people around the globe.
Depression is also a mood disorder characterized by sadness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, low self-esteem, and/or excessive worry.
The symptoms usually last at least two weeks and cause significant distress or impairment in functioning.
There are several types of depression, but major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most common form. MDD is also known as clinical depression because it requires medical treatment.
How To Boost Your Mood
To boost your mood, take steps to improve your physical health and increase your overall well-being. Remember that depression isn’t your fault; it’s an illness you must learn to manage.
But there are things you can do to make yourself happier. Here’s how:
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise releases natural substances that reduce stress and prevent insomnia. If you struggle with insomnia, try taking a short nap after lunch instead of spending the afternoon watching TV. Talk to your doctor before starting any new fitness program.
- Eat healthy food. Good nutrition supports good mental health. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and three servings of grains such as whole-wheat bread and oatmeal. Be sure to include lean protein sources like fish and poultry. Avoid foods high in sugar, saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
- Manage stress. As much as possible, keep stressful situations under control. Learn relaxation techniques and practice them regularly. For example, take deep breaths, focus on your breathing, and count backward from 100 by 7s. Take long walks and do word puzzles, crossword puzzles, sudoku, word searches, jigsaw puzzles, or other games. You may also use music to achieve a meditative state.
- Practice self-care. Try not to neglect yourself. Pay attention to your needs and express your concerns. Ask others for support if you need it. Remember to have fun. Plan a vacation, a special outing, or just a night out with friends.
- Connect socially. Find ways to meet new people and maintain relationships with old friends. Volunteer for organizations that give back to the community. Join a book club, church group, or social organization. Visit a nursing home often to offer comfort and companionship to seniors.
- Set realistic goals. Try to stick to realistic goals rather than setting unattainable ones. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Consider therapy or medication.
- Seek medical care. Make sure you see your physician regularly. Have regular checkups. Follow all recommendations made by your healthcare provider. Keep track of any changes in your condition using symptom checklists.
- Recognize warning signs. Know the differences between normal feelings of sadness and depression so you can identify warning signs early. Watch for unusual changes in behaviors. Are your friends and family concerned about you? Is something bothering you most days of the week? Are you sleeping too little or too much? Are you having trouble concentrating at school or work? Are you losing weight, gaining weight, or both? Does your appetite change? Are you tired more often than usual? Do you feel hopeless? Depressed? Anxious?These are some of the warning signs of depression.
- Seek assistance. Talk to someone. Reach out for professional treatment if these symptoms last longer than two weeks or persist despite efforts to address them on your own. With professional help, you’ll get quicker results and be able to make better decisions about your future.
- Start working out how to cope. If you don’t think you can manage, seek immediate help. Depression is an illness requiring treatment, and it is curable. There’s hope!
If your life is falling apart, it would likely be best to start planning. Planning ahead will help ensure that you stay on top of bills, save money, and take care of responsibilities.
It may even help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed – because you won’t face a crisis head-on every day.
Make sure you set aside enough money each month to cover your basic expenses, and then plan on making extra payments toward debt.
If you have a terminal illness, you might want to start thinking about how you’d like your funeral to look. This includes sorting out where you’d like to be buried and any final wishes you’d like to leave behind.
You should talk to your loved ones about these topics before they become complex topics to discuss. For example, some people prefer cremation instead of burial.
It’s important to remember that death doesn’t necessarily equal total destruction around you. Death simply means the end of life.
While living our lives, we must constantly remind ourselves that it’s not forever. After all, death isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Healing From Depression
When someone experiences depression, they typically feel sad, angry, guilty, worthless, hopeless, helpless, lonely, tired, stressed, and anxious.
They may also experience physical problems such as headaches, sleep difficulties, stomach pain, backaches, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, decreased energy, etc.
If left untreated, depression may lead to other health problems. These can include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, liver inflammation, high blood pressure, ulcers, kidney failure, osteoporosis, increased risk of suicide, and more.
Depression causes some of the following changes in brain chemistry:
- Abnormal levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These chemicals normally regulate body functions. However, in depression, they may be too active, causing thoughts about death and suicidal behavior.
- Increased activity of specific proteins and enzymes. Some of them are involved in cell growth and repair. Others help cells function properly.
- Decreased production of nerve growth factor. This chemical helps support normal brain development. It is thought that many patients with bipolar disorder produce fewer nerve growth factors.
- Loss of neurotransmitters and hormones. Brain chemicals called endorphins play a role in happiness and pain control. People who have experienced prolonged stress lose these chemicals. They become depleted, leading to fatigue, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, muscle aches, poor concentration, and other symptoms.
- Altered metabolism. Eating habits go awry. A person’s appetite increases and then decreases again. Sleep patterns change, body temperature becomes erratic. In addition, fatigue intensifies while energy and vitality diminish.
Stressful events trigger responses in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional reactions. The amygdala sends signals to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
Together these two structures activate the adrenal glands.
As a result, adrenaline surges into the bloodstream, flooding the system with glucose and adrenaline (epinephrine). The result: elevated blood pressure, heart rate, breath rate, and core body temperature.
The combination of high-stress hormones and low energy leads to loneliness and sadness. Loneliness triggers feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
Worthlessness creates a sense of being trapped and helpless. Shame makes people wonder if they should get up and leave this terrible situation.
Depression gradually worsens over time, but it doesn’t always follow this slow pattern. At any point during treatment, the patient may feel so miserable that he decides to kill himself or harm himself in another way.
He will likely need immediate professional help. Suicidal thoughts can occur at any age, even as early as childhood. However, children and adolescents tend to think about their deaths less than adults.
When dealing with grief, remember that it’s normal to feel sad, angry, confused, or scared after someone dies. However, if you can’t deal with those feelings alone, talking to others will probably help you come back to reality.
In addition, talking about your situation with family members or friends could help relieve stress.
If you feel you need to change your lifestyle, consider therapy. As mentioned earlier, therapy can help you overcome many problems, including anxiety and depression.
In addition, a therapist might help you learn new ways to think about things so you aren’t faced with emotional challenges anymore. At least two sessions per week are recommended.
I hope this information has been helpful for you. Also, if you’re interested in more articles on this topic, check out our content archive. Thanks again for reading!
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: November 29, 2023