Depression is a common experience. Everyone feels fed up, miserable or sad sometimes.
Often the reason is obvious. It can be because of frustration or disappointment or because of a loss perhaps a loved one or a job. Yet sometimes we do not know why we are feeling down and the mood may stay with us and dog us.
Sometimes the depression can be so severe that it dominates a person’s life. This can lead a person to feel unable to cope and sometimes the emotional pain is so severe that a person may not want to live anymore.
Whether depression has a cause you can identify or no obvious cause it can help enormously to discuss how you feel with someone. Perhaps together you can begin to make sense of a distressing experience. Obviously if the depression is very severe then it should not be left but help should immediately be sought to provide support.
Sometimes depression can disappear through talking. Sometimes medication is needed to alleviate some of the weight that the depressed person feels they are carrying.
Depression is something that you need not feel ashamed of. It is very common and no respecter of class, or wealth, or race, or profession. Winston Churchill suffered from depression and called it his ‘black dog’.
If your quality of life is being affected in a negative way by depression then seek help. You may find that it helps to talk to family or friends, a counsellor or your doctor.
Sometimes a person may so gradually slip into depression that they do not notice it happening. For them seeking help is difficult because they often cannot recognise that they have a problem. Some people may have a personality that makes them feel that seeking help in itself is a weakness. It is not! There is no need to continue to try to struggle on, trying to cope!
Sometimes depression shows in other ways, with headaches or pains, through sleeping a lot or having difficulty staying asleep.
If you suspect someone you care about is struggling in depression then try to encourage him or her to seek professional help.
Symptoms of Depression
(a person does not need to have every symptom to be depressed)
Loss of interest and enjoyment in life
Lack of drive and motivation
Difficulty in making decisions and/or completing tasks
Agitation and restlessness
Loss of affection to others, perhaps loosing an interest in sex
Loss or gain in appetite and therefore it may show in loss or gain of weight
Loss or gain in amount of sleep a person has
Loss of self-confidence with perhaps avoidance of people
Feeling useless, inadequate, helpless, bad, hopeless
Feeling worse at particular times of the day for example; morning
Thoughts of suicide
Depression may be due to a physical cause. For example it may accompany an illness. After childbirth the change in hormones can mean that some women suffer postnatal depression. Thyroid problems can creep up and manifest as depression, which can easily be remedied with medication. Depression is very common in people with life threatening illnesses.
Don’t struggle alone if you are depressed or know someone who is depressed – SEEK HELP talk to a counsellor and/or your Doctor. Below is a list of a few support groups or caring organisations that you can phone.
Tel: 0845 766 0163 – literature on all aspects of mental health
Tel: 0870 167 1677
Tel: 08457 90 90 90 – Also local numbers in the phone directory. Support for those in distress that feel suicidal or despairing and need someone to talk to.
Association for Post-Natal Illness
Tel: 020 7386 0868
Tel: 01482 860619
Relate (Marriage Guidance)
Tel: 01788 573241