What Is Depression?
Depression is a common illness that affects millions of people world-wide. This illness can be characterised by spells of low mood, persistent feelings of sadness, and a disinterest in aspects of life that would otherwise be generally enjoyed.
Depression can manifest in a wide range of possible symptoms (including feelings of anxiety), which can vary from person to person. This illness has the potential to develop quickly or gradually. Depression can also be brought on by internal and external factors, such as; life events (home circumstances and/or work & career stresses), past experiences and changes to body chemistry.
Depression can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age and race. However, the good news is that, in most cases, depression can be managed and combated effectively in different ways. There are many different methods for combating and managing symptoms of depression. Most of which can be found on the NHS website – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/
In many cases, just speaking with an ‘outsider to the problem’ helps to reduce the impacts imposed by symptoms of Depression. In the first instance, we’d advise either speaking with a GP, a family member or a friend, or a helpline such as; Mind or Depression Alliance.
What Are The Signs Of Depression?
Depression has the potential to manifest and present itself in different ways. The signs of depression can be apparent to some but so not obvious to others. It is also completely possible for an individual suffering from depression to not even realise what these signs are signalling. Meaning that they may not even realise that they are in fact depressed and suffering from the symptoms evident with Depression.
As depression has the ability to affect individuals differently (along with its degree of severity), it may be the case that only one or two symptoms are identifiable. However, if you or someone you know appears to be experiencing one of the following symptoms (currently or for some time), depression may be present:
- General sadness or feelings of weepiness
- Numbness & Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Disinterest or lack of interest towards activities usually enjoyed
- Desire for isolation, hiding away or staying in bed
- Persistent feelings tiredness (and/or problems sleeping)
- Lack of appetite, or excessively eating (comfort eating)
- Increased stress levels (or the onset of feeling constantly stressed) or frustration
- Unusually irritable or aggressive
- Feelings of not being able to cope with daily activity or circumstances
- Inability to see a positive future ahead
- Asking yourself ‘what is the point in life?’
If you are able to agree with one or more of the above symptoms (or can see the above symptoms present in an individual), it may well be the case the Depression is present and you may need to seek the assistance of medical help.
Who Should You Turn To For Help?
If life becomes too much to bear and you feel as if you do not want to live anymore, the need for immediate action becomes more important. Whether you seek the advice, counsel or a general conversation from someone outside of your immediate vicinity, there are people always happy and waiting to talk – just a brief conversation has the potential to alleviate a lot of life’s pressures and may help reduce feelings of suicide. Charities such as the Samaritans have a helpline available round the clock 365days a year. Or for those who do not wish to speak over the phone, there are services such as “Shout”. Which is a free 24/7 TEXT service for those who require immediate assistance.
Generally speaking, just like other illnesses, choosing to do nothing in attempts to tackle depression may result in this illness continuing to impact your life and even those around you. Especially where children are present. Choosing not to treat or tackle your depression may lead to having adverse effects on the children in your life (whether your own or close to you) either now or later in their life, sometimes both.
With the right help and support, many people do recover from the worst of this illness. People do find ways of tackling their depression and facing their problems and soon start to resume living their normal and happy lives once again.
Once a Doctor or GP diagnoses depression, an action plan or treatment schedule may be utilised. Some people may be prescribed medication. Others may be advised to attend counselling sessions or may be referred to a self-help group. In some cases of severity, a small minority of people may have to spend some time in hospital to receive specialised treatment.
Others may find it useful just to talk over their problems with their GP or close family and friends. Others may seek the assistance from organisations such as ourselves or those listed in our National Links or Useful Links pages.
At Depression UK, our members are either present or past sufferers of depression and fully understand what that ‘pain and hurt’ is like. They know from first-hand experience how depression is different from simply feeling ‘low and miserable’ or ‘down in the dumps’. We offer support to our members in a number of ways; Friendship, Find A Group and Newsletters.
Several of our members have reported that they have also benefited by keeping their minds and bodies as active as possible. Whether through the uptake of regular exercise, yoga and meditation techniques.
How Can We Help You?
Instead of simply ‘bottling things up’ or masking depression, it helps when we are able to talk over our worries with a person who will listen non-judgmentally and empathically. At Depression UK, we are big advocates of talking to someone. Thus, we have created a ‘safe space’ for our members to do so. Our members are able to share problems anonymously with fellow sufferers by means of our Newsletter, Pen Friend, Phone & Chat Services.
We have found that fellow sufferers are very likely to empathise and understand your feelings. And in an non-judgemental, friendly and informal way, will attempt to encourage you to tackle and combat this illness.
So Our Message To You Is:
- It may be hard-going, it may be a struggle, but most people learn to manage their condition. When they do, life quickly returns to some level of normality. Positivity, perseverance and keep reaching out to those around you. It will get easier.