What is Depression?
We all feel low, sad, and unhappy sometimes and it can last for a couple of days or even a week or more. Sometimes there is a reason but sometimes not or at least it’s hard to identify the reason. Difficult events and experiences will naturally leave us feeling low and having negative feelings. Furthermore, our mood and general sense of wellbeing varies throughout daily life. It is not something we can take for granted and we need to activity consider how our stress levels, relationships and lifestyles are contributing to how we feel. Depression is a common mental health condition than can develop when we feel unhappy, sad, stuck/trapped, dissatisfied, discontent, stressed and especially when we feel like there is nothing we can do to improve things or change our circumstances. This negative state of mind can lead to a sense that life is pointless, meaningless and hopeless.
When is Depression a problem?
Depression is a problem when low mood persists for over two weeks feeling down, depressed, unhappy, irritable, inadequate, and hopeless and you have little interest or pleasure in doing the things you would normally do. Depression when it is a problem also tends to be accompanied by anxiety symptoms. Depression and anxiety are very closely linked as common mental health conditions. You may withdraw socially, feel tired, lethargic and exhausted and find it difficult to motivate yourself. You are also likely to notice a significant change in your confidence and pattern of eating, sleeping, ability to concentrate and make decisions. When this combination of distressing symptoms does not shift and interfers with your daily life then your depressive mood has become a problem.
Do I need to get help with my Depression?
Whatever the cause, if negative feelings don’t go away, are worse than usual, are too much for you to cope with, or are stopping you from carrying on with your daily life, you need to make some changes and seek professional help. Depression is a serious mental health condition, not a sign of weakness or something you can just ‘snap out of’ or ‘pull yourself together’. Depression can affect people in different ways and cause a variety of symptoms therefore it is important not to minimise or be dismissive of your own individual experience. Getting help at the earliest possible time could mean that you understand your depression better and could prevent a more severe depression setting in.
What are the main symptoms of Depressive disorders?
The symptoms of depression can be complicated and vary widely between people. As a general rule, you feel depressed, sad, sometimes tearful, hopeless, and lose interest in things you used to enjoy. The symptoms persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social and family life. You may start to rely on unhelpful behaviour patterns including substance misuse. Persistent depression leaves you feeling that life is not worth living or people would be better off without you or that you are a burden on others.
If you think you are suffering from depression you should contact your GP to discuss your concerns. It can be incredibly helpful to talk to a someone you trust and/or a professional when you are feeling depressed and this can be a crucial first step as part of the healing process reversing the depressive response to internalise your problems and withdraw from others. Treatments include psychological therapy and antidepressant medication. Self-help is also an essential component of your treatment
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