Image by Artem Maltsev

DEPRESSION

What is Depression? 

Everyone's mood can change every day, in fact, often it will change many times throughout the day, sometimes we feel happy and sometimes we feel sad and sometimes we forget that there are so many other emotions too! But for now, let's focus on when we feel sad.

There are many things that can happen in a day that might make us feel sad and sometimes these things are outwith our control. It is okay to be upset about these things and sometimes that feeling can stay with us for a long time. However, depression is often a feeling beyond sadness, it can interfere with day-to-day life, sometimes even tasks like getting up and brushing your teeth can be difficult (this is not the same kind of tiredness that we all feel in the morning when we have to get up). Depression can often result from many stressful life events or personal factors, sometimes it can seem like it comes for no apparent reason and it can stay with you for a long time.

 

RECOGNISING DEPRESSION

How do we know when we are sad and when it might be depression?

As mentioned before we all feel sad at times and we will all sometimes express behaviours or feelings which relate to depression, this doesn't always mean we are depressed. Depression is a mental health diagnosis that is made by a health professional, however, you might not always experience all the symptoms so it is important to listen to your body and always ask for help if you are unsure.

 

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

BEHAVIOURS

  • Not socialising/talking with friends or family (feeling like you want to be alone all the time).

  • Losing any excitement that you used to have towards your hobbies or school.

FEELINGS

  • Feeling sad or miserable most of the time for more than two weeks.

  • Feeling irritated (annoyed) by things that wouldn't always annoy you.

  • Feeling overwhelmed.

  • Lack of motivation.

  • Not feeling as confident.

THOUGHTS

  • "I'm a failure" 

  • "Nothing good ever happens to me" 

  • "It's not worth it!"

PHYSICAL

  • Feeling tired all the time (more tired than your average day).

  • Having trouble sleeping.

  • Change in appetite.

  • A significant change in weight (losing or gaining).

 
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*IMPORTANT MESSAGE*

If you or anyone you know might be displaying these symptoms and have been for over two weeks please talk to someone that you know and trust. They might be able to offer support or guidance, or just help you to understand your feelings.

 

WHAT CAN WE DO? 

So what can we do if we feel like we are experiencing symptoms of depression?
Not all strategies will work for everyone the same way so it is important to try some out and figure out what works best for you. Some people even come up with their own strategies.

 

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Starting off again with maintaining a healthy lifestyle - Exercise can help to maintain a healthy sleeping and eating pattern which can often be affected by depression. Taking a walk or socialising can help to reduce our stress levels and help us to relax and enjoy our days a little more making us feel happier.

SUPPORT/TALK

Connecting with others and sharing your feelings and experiences can help you to understand what is going on and listening to others can help you to find new ways to deal with the challenges that you might face. It can be with a professional, a support group, or just a family member/friend. No matter how much you feel like you just want to be alone, talking to someone is never a bad decision.

SELF-CARE

Taking time to look after yourself and relax, unwind after a busy day, do whatever it is that relaxes you, some people take a bath, some people read a book, some people go on a walk. Try your best not to focus on the negatives (use techniques for a positive mindset).

DISTRACTION

As simple as this might sound when feeling in a low mood your mind will often lean towards negative thinking, by distracting your mind you take your thoughts away from the negativity and focus everything on the distraction. You can pick a distraction that will work for you (For example; thinking about/focusing on the kettle as it boils).

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Sometimes expressing yourself through art, dance or song can help you to lift the negative energy away from your mind. Expressing yourself also helps you to understand how you are feeling and sometimes let go of that feeling.

PET THERAPY

There have been a few studies that suggest spending time with pets can help to reduce feelings of depression and lower our stress levels. Give your pet some attention.

 

BE KIND

Lastly, be kind to yourself. It is important to remember that no matter what you hear or think depression is not a sign of weakness. Look after yourself and seek help, if you feel you need to!

 
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DEPRESSION

Image by Matthew Henry

SELF-ESTEEM