- Fashion vs. Style. Fashion is influenced by external factors. It is affected by people, who are inspired by art, politics, religion, etc. Style is influenced by internal factors. Fashion changes seasonally, style is relatively constant, or as Yves Saint Laurent famously said – Fashion fades, style is eternal.
- Social isolation. If you have an impression that you are too limited in expressing yourself or too confined into a “box”, you start feeling socially isolated, untrue to yourself, uncreative, unoriginal, dissatisfied, and even – depressed.
- Depression. Definition, symptoms, causes, major risks and treatment. New study has found that the lateral orbitofrontal cortex is the area of the brain that is affected by depression. It opens the doors for better therapeutic treatment of depression.
- Anxiety disorder. Characterization, symptoms, treatment, lessening of symptoms outside therapy.
- From fashion to depression and anxiety and back to fashion. Everyone can have their own personal style anywhere in the world. It can be simplistic, comfortable and yet chic. It can also be artistic or dramatic. Incorporating it with one’s environment is true creativity and artistic accomplishment.
- How to survive in an “unstylish” city? You can be professional and well dressed in the business world and you can be well dressed outside of it, too. Glamour, beauty and creativity doesn’t only define the rich and famous, and nothing beats the feeling, when you look into the mirror and love what you see. There’s nothing wrong with feeling great about yourself, about how you look.
I decided to be adventurous with this post (article) and spice things up a little bit. It may be a little confusing, but bear with me. Hint: it is a post for the fashion lovers, but at the same time, it is a post for everybody, who feel they can’t express themselves because of their environment, because of certain social expectations and unwritten rules. It also is for people who suffer from depression and anxiety. So, all those things.
I’ll admit – I like to play dress up. I like to look good and I like to inspire people to take care of themselves – physically and emotionally. Currently, I live in a city in Central Europe (Ljubljana in Slovenia) and people here are…practical and a bit conservative. I’m no Madonna myself, as she has quite the diverse style that pushes boundaries a bit too much and too often, but I love fashion and have a certain classic rock’n roll-ish style. The city is beautiful, looks like a town from fairy tales, but it’s not a fashion capital. It’s not Paris. Or Milan. Or New York. Or London…Yes, I know, you get the point.
Recently, I’ve been talking to two friends of mine. One lives here and one has lived in Paris and London. I’ve traveled a lot and I’ve seen many places, but when it comes to fashion, the best experiences and “sights” have been (for me) in Milan, Florence and Paris. I’ve seen how people dress there, so the conversations I had were quite interesting and full of comparisons. We compared Fashion Week events and Street Styles. After many coffees (through Skype or not), I was left with several thoughts:
- many people don’t dress up, or don’t want to look different not just because of the social norms (whatever they are), not just because of some unwritten rules about how someone should dress or what makeup they wear in certain places, but because of the need to belong somewhere. Nobody wants to be an outcast or outsider (few are that brave) and the feelings of isolation are scary.
- Fashion is not the same as style. Fashion is influenced by external factors. It is affected by people, who are inspired by art, politics, religion, etc. Style is influenced by internal factors. You have control over it and it is affected by your inspirations. Those inspirations can also come from art, religion, politics, etc. You use certain components of fashion and combine them with your internal thoughts, emotions and creativity to create Fashion changes seasonally, style is relatively constant, or as Yves Saint Laurent famously said – Fashion fades, style is eternal.
- Fashion Style means expressing yourself through clothes and makeup, and if you love fashion, and you have an impression that you are too limited in expressing yourself or too confined into a “box”, you start feeling socially isolated, untrue to yourself, uncreative, unoriginal, dissatisfied, and even – depressed.
What is depression? The word is seen everywhere – in blogs, magazines, on posters… Many people don’t take it seriously and others have serious problems caused by it. So what is it?
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. (1)
We all feel down from time to time, that is a normal part of life, so don’t immediately jump to conclusion that you are depressed, but when feelings of hopelessness and despair take hold and just won’t go away, you may have depression. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Some of the symptoms are:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness: having a bleak outlook on life. Feeling that nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Loss of interest in daily activities: you are not interested in your daily activities, hobbies, pastimes, social activities or sex.
- Your appetite and weight change: you either pile up the pounds (kilograms) or lose too much weight. In general, a change (unintentional) of more than 5% of body weight in a month is needed to be checked up.
- Sleep changes: insomnia, waking up very early in the mornings or oversleeping.
- Anger or irritability: feeling agitated, restless or even violent. You have low level of tolerance, short temper and everyone and everything gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy: feeling fatigued, sluggish and physically drained. Small tasks are exhausting and you need much longer time to finish them. Your whole body may feel heavy and you may feel like dragging yourself to bed.
- Self-hatred: you have strong feelings of guilt and worthlessness. You harshly criticize yourself for almost everything.
- Reckless behavior: you engage in dangerous sports, gambling, drugs, drinking or reckless driving.
- Problems concentrating: you can’t focus, make decisions or remember things.
- Unexplained aches and pains: headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pains.
- Phobias (hypochondriasis): not common, but still worth the mention – you start having phobias of specific diseases. (2) (3)
What causes depression?
- Abuse: physical, emotional or sexual. Abuse can increase vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
- Rare or very rare side-effect from certain medications: some anticonvulsants, some antidepressants, certain beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers, estrogens, some opioids and statins. Note that depression as a side effect from medications does not appear in all people. In all cases, it is good to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about it.
- Conflict (divorce, break-up and other conflicts with family and friends).
- Death or a loss.
- Major events (good or bad ones, from getting a new job and working in a new environment to losing income (getting fired), retiring, etc).
- Other personal problems (social isolation – being cast out of a social group or a family).
- Serious illnesses (sometimes depression co-exists with other illnesses).
- Substance abuse. (4)
A new study has found that the lateral orbitofrontal cortex is the area of the brain that is affected by depression. That area of the brain is believed to have a specific role in suppressing previously rewarded responses, meaning – it is implicated in “non-reward and punishing events” and the sufferers of depression have a sense of loss and disappointment associated with not receiving rewards. (5) (6)
The lateral orbitofrontal cortex is also connected with the part of the brain which is involved in one’s sense of self, thus potentially leading to thoughts of personal loss and low self-esteem. The study also found that, in depression, the medial orbitofrontal cortex, which is implicated in reward, had reduced functional connectivity with memory systems of the brain, and that is why the sufferers may have a reduced focus on happy memories. (6)
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that go along with depression can make suicide feel like it’s the only way to escape the pain. If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and watch for the warning signs:
- Talking about killing or harming oneself.
- Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped.
- An unusual preoccupation with death or dying.
- Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (for example: speeding through red lights).
- Calling or visiting people to say goodbye.
- Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends).
- Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”.
- A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy.
If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
If YOU are feeling suicidal, because of problems that feel overwhelming and scary, please know, that there’s no shame in asking for help, as there are many people who want to support you during the difficult time. If you are experiencing extreme suicidal urges right now, please contact the Emergency Services in your country immediately. (3)
For further help, please visit this website: SuicideStop.
All cases of depression, even the severe ones, can be treated. The earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is. Usually, it is treated with:
- a combination of both;
- if all fails, brain stimulation therapies, such as – electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option to explore.
Outside of therapy, one can do these things to help him/herself or a loved one:
- Try to be active and exercise.
- Set realistic goals for oneself.
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
- Try not to isolate oneself, and let others help.
- Expect one’s mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until feeling better. Discuss decisions with others who know him/her well and have a more objective view of his/her situation.
- Continue to educate oneself about depression. (4)
The above mentioned study is good news, as it opens the doors for better therapeutic treatment of depression.
Depression is not the same as anxiety disorder. Everyone feels anxious now and then. It’s a normal emotion. Many people feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But, when we’re talking about anxiety disorder, we’re talking about distress that interferes with one’s ability to lead a normal life. This type of disorder is a serious mental illness. For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be debilitating. But, with treatment, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a fulfilling life.
The symptoms of anxiety disorder are: (note that there are different types of anxiety disorder, but the general symptoms are listed below):
- Feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness;
- problems sleeping;
- cold sweaty hands and feet;
- shortness of breath;
- heart palpitations;
- not being able to be still or calm;
- dry mouth;
- numbness and tingling in hands and feet;
- muscle tension;
The cause of anxiety disorder is unknown, but so far it has been established that many disorders are caused by a combination of factors, such as changes in the brain and environmental stress. (7)
Treatment of anxiety disorder is possible with:
- cognitive behavioral therapy (This is a particular type of psychotherapy, in which the person learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.);
- dietary and lifestyle changes;
- relaxation therapy.
There are things that one can do to lessen the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, for example:
- Stop or reduce consumption of products that contain caffeine (so, no coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks and dark chocolate – although, it is proven that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and is packed with antioxidants, so I guess – use moderately).
- Some over-the-counter medicines and herbal products can increase anxiety symptoms, so talk to your doctor and to the pharmacist before buying something.
- Seek counseling and support if you start having regular anxiety attacks. (7)
So, two questions remain to be answered:
- How in the world did we start talking about fashion and ended with depression and anxiety?
Must be the astronomical prices of high fashion. Or the social isolation of the average person and the pressure to fit in. I suppose one problem solver would be: more creativity. One must be even more creative to peruse one’s heart’s desires and to try to follow the unwritten rules, wherever they need to be followed. Everyone can have their own personal style anywhere in the world. It can be simplistic, comfortable and yet chic. It can also be artistic or dramatic. Incorporating it with one’s environment is true creative and artistic accomplishment.
- How to survive in an “unstylish” city?
Lead the people to a fashion revolution! MARCH TO FREEDOM AND GREAT STYLE!!
Not a leader?
Crazy? Ok, maybe.
But, maybe in your free time, you could be brave enough to not care what people think about you. Try it. If your friends are true friends, they will accept you for who you are. If not – you are better off without them and at least now in the 21st century or communicational world, you can easily connect with like-minded people. You can be professional and well dressed in the business world and you can be well dressed outside of it, too.
There are million reasons why you should follow your heart, when it comes to fashion and style (and other things, also). You deserve to look your best at all times. Glamour, beauty and creativity doesn’t only define the rich and famous, and nothing beats the feeling, when you look into the mirror and you love what you see. There’s nothing wrong with feeling great about yourself, about how you look.
All that matters is that you stay true to yourself and be creative.
Plus, Brad Pitt is single now.
See you next week!
- National Institute of Mental Health, Online Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml (20.10.2016)
- M. Hamilton: A rating Scale for Depression. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry (1960) 23: 56-62. Online Source: http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/23/1/56.short (20.10.2016)
- Online Source: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm (20.10.2016)
- Online Source: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/causes-depression#1 (20.10.2016)
- R. Elliott, R.J. Dolan, C.D. Frith: Dissociable Functions in the Medial and Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex: Evidence from Human Neuroimaging Studies. Oxford Journals: Cereb. Cortex (2000) 10 (3): 308-317. Online Source: http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/3/308.full (20.10.2016)
- W. Cheng, E.T. Rolls, J. Qiu, W. Liu, Y. Tang, C.C. Huang, X.F. Wang, J. Zhang, W. Lin, L. Zheng, J.C. Pu, S.J. Tsai, A.C. Yang, C.P. Lin, F. Wang, P.Xie, J. Feng: Medial Reward and Lateral Non-Reward Orbitofrontal Cortex Circuits Change in Opposite Directions in Depression. Oxford Journals: Brain – A Journal of Neurology. 2016 Oct.14. Online Source: http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/10/12/brain.aww255.article-info (20.10.2016)
- Online Source: http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders?page=1 (20.10.2016)