As the old saying goes,
hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
With depression being the number one illness across the whole world,
there are a huge number of people out
there who need to get the right help for them.
If you’ve suffered from depression you’ll know how
it seeps into every aspect of your life.
The signs and symptoms include:
• First and foremost a pervading feeling that you’re “blue”,
down, feel despair, are sad, not yourself, low in spirits – essentially depressed.
• Irritable and short-tempered for apparently no reason.
• Have a lack enthusiasm for the things you once enjoyed.
• Find it very hard to sleep or are sleeping too much.
• Can’t get motivated for things like work and day-to-day chores.
• Everything feels like it’s an effort and
some people describe that they are “walking through sludge”.
• Loss of interest in sex.
• Loss of appetite or wanting to eat more.
• Feeling hopeless and also helpless.
• You might also stop looking after yourself properly.
• Unexpected feelings of anger.
• You may feel guilty and/or ashamed that
you have no “obvious reason” to feel depressed.
• Easily stressed out – you may find things
that used to be easy now seem difficult.
• You might have suicidal thoughts.
• You might find yourself turning to alcohol
and drugs to “make you feel better”
but this is not the solution.
• And you may notice your own unique symptoms.
If you’ve felt any of these symptoms for longer
than two weeks then that should be a wake-up call to try
and determine whether or not you have depression.
Now that this report has made it quite clear that
people need to look at what care is available to them
besides anti-depressants, rest assured there is lots you can do.
What You Should Do Now
• Let your nearest and dearest know that
you have concerns about your well-being.
Don’t keep these blue feelings secret.
Keeping them to yourself can worsen them.
• Go to your doctor and book a double appointment so
that you have plenty of time to go through your symptoms.
• It’s terribly important while you’re getting help to
decrease any demands on your time that you can.
The fewer demands that you have in your life,
the quicker you can recover.
This is about setting limits and learning to assert yourself
because many people who get depression struggle with
setting boundaries and saying No to other people’s demands for their time.
• Make sure you eat well and don’t rely on pre-packaged ready meals
that may have too much salt,
sugar and other additives that are not good for your mood.
• Try to establish a good sleep routine.
• Allow yourself one small nap or
rest during the day but avoid staying in bed.
• Take gentle exercise every day to boost your endorphins –
those feel-good brain chemicals.
• Try keeping a journal so that
you can keep tabs on how your mood goes up and down.
• Get to know what things actually set you off as people
are more likely to suffer more depressive episodes
if they do not sort out the root cause.
• Begin to learn to talk about your feelings to other people so
that you feel you have better communication and
stronger relationships – definitely a protective factor
that helps protect you from future depression.
• Question whether you’re a bit of a perfectionist
and need to accept yourself more. Realise the fact
that no one is perfect. The seemingly “strongest” and
most compassionate people I’ve ever met have often been
depressives! But they must learn to say No to helping others
when they need to be gentler and help themselves.
• If you and your doctor think it’s appropriate then get counselling.
There are different types of counselling but
cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been successful for
many people with depression. It teaches them how to rethink
about their world and challenge any negative beliefs
that feed their depression. If you end up going for a “talking cure”
with some form of counselling you’ll find one interesting point
many counsellors talk about is
“surrendering to your depression and acknowledging it”.
In a sense they urge you to “embrace it” so that
you can then actually face it head-on.
The basis for this is that if you don’t wholeheartedly face it
and embrace it than you may stay in denial about what’s causing it.
Where Does Depression Come From?
Although every person’s set of symptoms and
experience of depression is unique there are a few major causes,
Reactive depression – where you’re “reacting” to
some sort of life events like divorce or bereavement.
Chronic depression – a long-term depression
that may have resulted from something like a difficult
or traumatic childhood or event, or work from
a disturbance in your brain chemistry.