How Depression Can Turn You Into A Burrito & What You Can Do About It
We have all experienced depression at some point in our lives. Depression is the “common cold” of mental illnesses, as many people experience depression for various reasons. Depression can be caused by experiencing challenging situations inherited through genes, or from a brain injury or stroke. Sometimes depression can linger, causing people to withdraw from friends and family, oversleep or experience insomnia, have little or no energy, experience physical pain, and to be short-tempered. These symptoms of depression have been likened to turning into a burrito – where one may be hiding from the outside world as ingredients or symptoms of depression surround them. This blog post discusses how depression can turn you into a burrito and how you can unwrap yourself from a depressive episode.
Social Withdrawal – Putting a ‘tortilla’ around yourself and the outside world
Depression can cause people to withdraw socially from friends and family. Social withdrawal may present itself as not responding to texts, calls, social media messages, or emails from friends and family and avoiding situations where one may interact with other people. Social withdrawal is common, as people with depression may feel like they are a burden to other people due to not feeling themselves, may not have the energy to interact with others, are not good enough to spend time with certain people, or that a social situation would cause them to become anxious and be unenjoyable.
How can you unwrap a depression ‘tortilla’?: One strategy is to opt for possible interactions. For example, you do not have to attend a club or crowded party with your friends to have social interaction, but you can choose to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch in a quieter space. By thinking and using more manageable alternatives, you can maintain connections with friends and family in a way that allows you to thrive.
Another thing to remember is that you must come first. If you do not want to respond to a stack of emails or Facebook messages, you do not have to. Instead, you can pick one person to respond to, and reconnect with that individual. It is important to balance self-care with reality, and reconnect with others while you are experiencing depression in small and manageable steps. This will help you to not feel overwhelmed and facilitate more positive interactions with your social circle.
Oversleeping or Insomnia – Lettuce hit snooze one more time
One’s circadian rhythm or sleep patterns can be disturbed during depression, as neurotransmitters and brain activity are abnormal. This can cause someone to oversleep or not sleep enough, which in turn sabotages their energy levels during the day and their sleep patterns at night. Seasonal affective disorder, a form of major depression that occurs seasonally, may cause someone to oversleep or not sleep enough due to the change in daylight.
How can you put enough romaine in but not turn into a sleep salad or an insomniac?
It is tempting to want to sleep all day if you are depressed. Your energy levels are low and need to be replenished. This may cause people to consume carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta or candy bars, which will, in turn, cause them to experience a brief sugar high and crash later on. One way to improve your mood and sleep is by food-consuming whole foods and cutting down carbohydrates. Instead of reaching for pasta, consider having some salmon with a side salad or some chicken with roasted vegetables to get a healthy mix of proteins, fats, and complex carbohydrates that will refuel and nourish your body.
Lastly, getting physically active will help balance your energy levels. If possible, carve out time to take walks during the day. Physical activity does not need to be strenuous, and like social interaction, it is important to choose manageable activities for you while you are experiencing depression. Some activities that people may decide to do include walking, biking, hiking, running, swimming, or lifting weights. If you feel like engaging with others, you may want to try a yoga or an aerobics class once or twice a week. However you would like, try to add some physical activity into your daily routine.
Another thing to practice is good sleep hygiene. This looks like having a set bedtime, taking time to decompress from the day, permitting yourself to disconnect from electronics, and sleeping in a designated space. Practicing good sleep hygiene allows for you to set your body clock and train your body to rest during the evening.
Lack of Energy – I ain’t ‘bean’ feeling it
How can you spice up your energy levels?: Fixing your energy levels while depressed is doable, and just requires small changes that will improve your overall health. First, choosing healthy foods that you enjoy will help you get the nutrients that your body needs to thrive. Try opting for whole foods, and less processed options. Second, practicing good sleep habits will help you get enough rest to feel energized during the day. Third, physical activity will balance your energy levels and regulate your hunger, which will, in turn, help you eat healthier foods and sleep better. By making these changes, you can climb your way out of the can of beans and feel like a more energetic version of yourself.
In combination with poor sleep, low physical activity, and poor diet, people with depression likely experience feeling like they have no energy or are physically weak. Depression slows down the entire body, including our brains’ motor system, which works with the different muscles in our arms and legs to help us move and pick up things in everyday life. This lack of energy can cause people to feel discouraged and may reinforce negative self-esteem.
- Physical Pain – Feeling like chopped meat
How can you not feel like shredded barbacoa?: If you are sitting or laying down for long periods of time, it is important to move. Moving not only stimulates blood flow to different parts of your body but also prevents you from getting sores from being too sedentary. If you have a job that does not allow you to take sufficient breaks, try taking a lap or two around the office or walking the stairs once an hour. You can also try stretching in your office or in a private area of your workspace or home between hours. If you have more time, try to take a walk for ten minutes outside to get some fresh air and vitamin D synthesis from the sun. Getting into an exercise program will also help, as you will strengthen and stretch your muscles by lifting weights, performing cardio, and stretching or practicing yoga.
Depression may cause people to experience aches and pains. Sometimes achiness is psychosomatic, meaning that our emotions are manifesting themselves as physical ailments. Other times, aches and pains may be a result of not moving, eating poorly, or overexerting yourself.
Having A Short Fuse – When your patience is like hot salsa that bites back
How to temper the heat down: Use emotion regulation strategies to help you cool yourself down when you feel that you may be overreacting to a situation.
Experiencing low mood may cause someone with depression to become easily irritable, or “short fused” in daily life. This in turn can cause people to avoid social situations so that they may not “lash out” at other people. Having a low patience or tolerance for everyday obstacles may also further someone’s lack of energy and negative self-esteem, as they may feel that they cannot handle their own life.
First, think about the big picture: what happened? Is this something that is going to impact you long-term? More often than not, you experienced a small inconvenience, and letting it go will help you move on with your day. If you have a recurring problem, it may be helpful to talk with a therapist and find a way to solve it so that you do not build up resentment over time.
Second, use “I feel” messages when communicating with others. For example, if you have a situation where something someone is doing is upsetting you, tell that person how it is making you feel by explaining what they are doing and how it is making you feel. Often, people do not understand how their actions affect others, but you can politely and calmly bring an action to someone’s attention which will, in turn, help you feel empowered and improve your self-esteem.
Lastly, move it out. Sometimes, a walk-in nature or a jog in a park may help ease your mind and help you focus on reality instead of complex emotions in your head. Exercising releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and help you avoid feeling short-tempered. If you are feeling emotionally cluttered, you may also want to try grounding or touching the bare ground with your bare feet. This practice activates sensory neurons and helps us reconnect with the present by feeling the ground which allows us to be more aware of our surroundings.
Depression is a common mental illness that everyone experiences at some point in life. Depression may cause someone to become a burrito by withdrawing socially, sleeping too much or not enough, feeling tired, having aches and pains, and be short-tempered. Depression can turn someone into a burrito by causing them to hole up alone in their home and surround themselves with negative emotions and self-perception. Ways people can recover and come out from a bout of depression include practicing good health habits such as eating well, exercising, using good sleep hygiene techniques, going for counseling or psychotherapy, and making small manageable changes in their daily lives. By doing these things, you can unravel yourself from a bout of depression and start enjoying life again.