It is hard for us in America to admit that mental illness is a reality that many deal with on a daily bases. It is easy to say I have diabetes or high blood pressure, but somehow it is a taboo to talk about mental illness. I would like to take away the stigma of mental illness so people will talk about it and seek treatment. The key is educating people about mental health issues.
Many people with autism spectrum disorders suffer from co-morbid conditions.
I believe depression is a big issue autistic individuals. When you have so many sensory, communication, and brain processing issues, you can get depressed. With my Asperger’s it is difficult to communication to other people; I get misunderstood a lot, rejected and left feeling alone. Plus, add all the high anxiety issues that come from sensory overload, smells, feelings, sounds, light, foods…you can get really exhausted and depressed.
I believe depression can also come from being bullied. A lot of bullying takes place with people with autism because of their naivety, they become bully magnets, and are bullied constantly. Just a note: you can reduce bullying by having more close supervision of children. Bullies usually attack when the person in charge leaves the area.
If you are constantly bullied, you get very depressed and feel hopeless. Severe, untreated depression can lead to suicide. A common idea is that people with depression are plagued with thoughts and beliefs that no one understands them. How do we address depression? First is can be treated professionally, with a doctor and therapist.
With my own struggle with depression I use these self helps to overcome issues.
- Seek medical help. Personally, I don’t take medication but I do get regular counseling.
- Get over your fear and talk to your loved ones about it. Tell them you have a problem, ask for their help.
- Don’t stay alone, talk to other people.
- Force yourself to think about positive things, this takes effort but it really helps. I force myself to meditate on positive things. I memorize a song or phrase. I repeat is over and over to myself and block out the dark thoughts.
- Go for a walk, ride bike, or swim…whatever you can do to exercise.
- Get into sunshine, or sun lamps…this puts vitamin D (the good mood vitamin) into your body. Statistics and studies show that when you live further south, fewer people have depression.
- Take vitamin D supplements.
- Use your own soothing strategies to lower anxiety which lowers depression.
- Stop, prevent or deal with bullying.