Coping With Depression – Part One

After a long hiatus from writing here, I’ve decided to tackle something fairly easy: depression.

Of course, that was written tongue-in-cheek… (Man, I’m funny…)

No... please...  tell me another one...
No… please… tell me another one…

Depression is incredibly prevalent in the US, with an estimated 15.7 million reported cases in adults in 2014 alone. ¹

There are, it seems, nearly as many treatments for depression as there are reported cases, ranging from medications to meditations.

But what works?

Is there a cure?  A collection of cures?

Or is it all smoke and mirrors to treat the symptoms, rather than the underlying root cause?

Of course, what is the underlying root cause of depression?

A search will yield you varied results, ranging from genetics, to biochemical reactions, to childhood trauma.

No two sources seem to agree what causes this (dare I say?) epidemic.

What they all agree on is that depression, if not dealt with, can be a major issue, with the end results being often job loss, relationship loss, and even suicide.

They also tend to agree that depression causes, or is caused by, major changes in brain chemistry, leading to increased sensations of physical pain, loss of sleep, daytime fatigue, and whole variety of other health issues.

Of course, there is the overwhelming barrage of negative thoughts that come along with it…

But which came first; the chicken or the egg?

Do changes in biochemistry cause depression, or does depression cause changes in biochemistry, or is it somehow simultaneous?

More importantly, regardless of which came first, how do I fix it?

Well hang on, friends, because we’re going on a journey.

Let’s kick depression right in the teeth and get our lives back, shall we?

Our first line of attack is hydration.

Uh... that's not the kind of drinking I was thinking might help...
Uh… that’s not the kind of drinking I was thinking might help…

Studies² have shown that even mild dehydration can lead to mood changes, loss of cognitive function, and fatigue.

Doesn’t that list of effects sound familiar?

So our first step here is the deceptively simple task of simply drinking enough water throughout the day.

Notice, please, that I said “water”, not soda (pop? coke? sodapop?), tea, coffee, vodka, sports beverage with electrolytes…


And by all means, drink your coffee (oh yes, I’m drinking mine right now), tea, vodka cranberry (don’t overdo that one…), what-have-you.

Just make sure you’re drinking water, too.

Personally, I’ve been using a little app called “Water Drink Reminder” that has dramatically helped me increase and maintain my daily water intake.

Prior to downloading this handy little app (and no, I don’t get any kind of kick-backs from them), I was drinking maybe 20-30 oz. of water a day.

I’ve bumped that up to an average of about 75 oz (most days I’m managing to get in about 90 oz.), and I will tell you my mood has lightened significantly from that alone.

There are dozens of similar apps out there to help you remember to maintain your body’s hydration.

Remember, your body is made of mostly water.  It needs it.

Try it out, and let me know how it’s helping you!

And please, keep an eye out for the next installment, when we add a new technique to our arsenal of depression-fighting moves!