“Every cloud has a silver lining,” but when the sun refuses to shine for days, some of us need help in believing that there is a bright future. A qualified, caring OP Counselling team is available to lead you back into the sunshine.
What is depression?
Depression in its mildest form is enduring days in a low mood, life seeming more difficult with little reward. If those feelings are stopping you from living your normal life then it could be an indication that you are suffering from depression.
Specific forms of depression are:
Clinical depression: life has become hell on earth, a lonely and fearful pit from which there seems no way to escape.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): a seasonal depression, usually occurring in autumn and winter when there is less sun.
Postnatal depression: “ baby blues’ are a natural short wave ridden by mothers after the delivery of their baby. Postnatal depression is a tsunami of anxiety, sadness, fear and helplessness, arriving any time between two weeks and two years after the birth.
Bipolar disorder (manic depression): major mood swings from deep troughs of self made torment to highs of manic unrealistic scheming.
Symptoms of depression
Loss of pleasure in activities which once were enjoyed. Loss of libido.
Difficulty relaxing, insomnia, early morning waking.
Feelings of despair and helplessness: inability to ask for help.
Or lack of self-esteem, increased self blame and guilt: cry easily.
An “empty” mood: feelings of nothingness.
Unable to relate to other people: avoid social events.
Asking yourself, "What’s the point?".
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
Feeling lethargic, run down, or oversleeping.
Weight loss or gain.
Increased use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
Headaches, aching muscles, sweating, dizziness. Anxiety and panic attacks.
Thoughts of a bleak future, of death and/or of suicide; suicide attempts.
False beliefs about yourself: hear voices, experience visions, psychotic experiences.
We can all feel low, anxious or panicky from time to time. Check your mood using this simple questionnaire and get advice on what might help.
Causes of depression
Psychological make-up and environmental factors: dramatic life events such as increased stress or personal loss, sometimes with internalised anger through an inability to express your true feelings at the time.
Medical conditions: physical problems such as thyroid, menstrual cycle or menopause problems, strokes, low blood sugar.
Certain medication: side effects from steroids, birth control agents etc.
Lifestyle: poor diet, a reaction to certain food and a lack of fitness.
Recreational drugs and alcohol: street drugs and alcohol consumption.
Genetic inheritance: a link in families, though there are no known specific genes for depression.
How you can help yourself
An important thing to accept is that there are usually no instant solutions to problems in life. But if you are able to take an active part in your treatment, it should help your situation.
Do a constructive activity such as reading self help books, or practicing therapeutic exercises. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on your thoughts and attitudes.
Exercise lifts your mood and increases energy levels.
Offer or ask for a cup of tea to share thoughts or just feel the support. There is no shame in asking for help.
Allow yourself treats, look after your appearance, and maintain a healthy diet.
Talk with a professional when life gets too tough.
This work includes images from the following sources:
Depressed. Wikimedia. Image retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Depressed_(4649749639).jpg Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Pedestrians umbrella. www.tOrange.us. Image retrieved from http://torange.biz/10957.html Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
(1) Swallowed in the Sea. KellyB. (2008) Image retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/foreverphoto/2358995244 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.