I’m now considered to have Major Depressive Disorder. My doctor has me taking anti-depressants. Is that the end of the line? Do I do anything else?
Well, thankfully I didn’t try to tough out depression on my own. I know that it took some courage to seek help with this, and it’s taken me a week or so to really understand that’s I took a good step and that I have a mental illness that can be treated.
I guess the next step for me is psycho-therapy. I mean, it’s easy to sit back and say that talking with a stranger about my mental problems is a little “unmanly”, but I think it can be extremely good for me. I have a feeling that I know where everything originates and if I can overcome and legitimately work through the things that cause my depression, then I should be able to handle this long-term.
I’ve read that lifestyle changes can affect male depression, as well. This is one of the reasons I decided to seriously tackle doing a half-marathon in 2015. Regular exercise is a powerful way to fight depression. It’s a natural booster of serotonin and endorphins. It also boosts self-esteem and can help improve sleeping patterns, which is something I’ve been having issues with. So count me in doing exercise throughout the winter.
I need to begin eating better. I’m not eating horribly, but my meals haven’t been as balanced as they could be. And I need to ensure I’m having smaller portions, too. From what I understand, a lessened appetite is a possible side effect of the anti-depressant that I’m on. My hope is that I can still balance out not wanting to eat with actually eating healthy.
My biggest eating problem is being drawn towards sugary foods. Why? Usually, it’s for the quick boost of energy it temporarily provides (not to mention the awesome taste of it). I need to turn to complex carbohydrates like breads and pastas made with whole grains, brown rice, corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans, apples, and numerous other choices. To some it sounds like a diet, to me, though, it sounds like a necessary lifestyle change. I should also increase my Vitamin B by eating more leafy greens, chicken, and eggs.
If I’m exercising regularly and taking this medication, I should be able to sleep better. Lately, I’ve been up between 4am and 5am and unable to go back to sleep, regardless of what time I went to bed the night before. I need to aim for between 7 and 9 hours every night, as sleep exacerbates anger, irritability, and moodiness…which are things I’ve been battling in abundance now for months.
One of the final suggestions for men suffering from depression is to reach out to others…maybe through joining a support group or volunteering. Some may follow that path, but I prefer to blog. I think sharing my story with others might help me build a solid social support network.
I also need to be kinder to myself. I can’t expect my mood to change instantly. Feeling better will take time. I’m hoping to feel better a little each day, though it will probably get worse over the next couple of weeks before it begins to get better.
It all seems quite daunting, but I’m motivated to fight through this and be the man I was meant to be.