Depression. There are many ways to read and use the word, but when you are suffering from the debilitating, life changing, desperate, form of depression – sufferers can find it impossible to get out of bed some days – let alone go to work and lead normal lives.
Recognising the Signs
The first step to getting help and getting better is recognising the symptoms of depression. Here are some common symptoms of depression:
• Feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, worry. • Loss of pleasure from daily life, lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed • Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends • Loss of will to get up and go to work, fear of leaving home • No energy, lack of sleep or sleeping too much • Irritability, short fuse • Loss of appetite, over eating • Thoughts of death, suicide or self-harm
We all feel low from time to time but depression can cover you like a thick, impenetrable fog, affecting your ability to carry on with your normal life and cope with day to day stressors.
Causes of Depression
Depression can be triggered by a number of reasons, for example:
• Traumatic event • Bereavement • Stress – work, divorce, family problems) • Overuse of alcohol or drugs • Giving birth (post-natal depression)
It isn’t unusual to experience periods of feeling low, but depression can leave you with feelings of sadness and hopelessness for months at a time, There are people who think that sufferers from depression are weak willed and need to ‘toughen up.’ Depression is NOT a sign of weakness, it is a serious, genuine illness and should be treated as such. Seeking Help It is very important to seek help and advice from your GP and not to feel embarrassed about discussing your feelings. Talk to family and friends if you feel you can confide in them. The greater the support network you have around you, the better you will feel. Some people have a family history of depression and can be more susceptible to suffer themselves, but it can also affect others without any rhyme or reason. Depression affects around 1 in 10 people at some point during their lifetime and it doesn’t discriminate between young or old, male or female.
There are several ways in which depression can be treated and your treatment will be dependent on how severe your depression is. Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and medication are all commonly used as treatments for depression and anxiety. Patients with severe depression may be treated under a specialist Mental Health Team. Whatever stage you are at, talking to your doctor or a counsellor is a good way to air your worries and give you a platform where you can openly discuss your feelings, without judgement, and help you gain a deeper understanding of what is causing your depression. You may be feeling desperate but the sooner you seek help the better.