Struggling With Depression? Read ThisAug 31, 2020
Depression is a condition that can leave sufferers feeling extremely tearful with a low mood. It can rob people of enjoying things they would normally, and even cause suicidal thoughts and feelings in the most severe cases. The causes of depression are varied, and it can happen to anyone regardless of their age or circumstances. While depression can be incredibly difficult to deal with, the good news is that with the right approach the symptoms can be worked through.
If you are struggling with depression or know someone who is, here is an overview of the condition along with some tips to help.
- Extremely low mood
- Having no self esteem
- Feeling extremely tearful or guilt-ridden
- Lacking motivation and interest in activities you normally enjoy
- Lacking any enjoyment in life
- Struggling to make decisions
- Avoiding social interaction
- Loss of libido
- Changes in appetite
- Disturbed sleep
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
What Causes Depression
Depression doesn’t have a single cause, rather it can be caused by a variety of different factors. Common triggers include traumatic life events such as accidents, illness, divorce, a job loss or bereavement. Chemical imbalances caused by hormonal changes can also cause depression. A person could also be at an increased risk of developing depression due to genetic factors. Low self esteem and confidence can play a part too. No two people are the same when it comes to their triggers or depression severity level.
Depression Doesn’t Discriminate
Whether you are highly successful and someone who ‘has it all’ or if you are homeless and without a job – depression doesn’t care. It can affect anyone at any stage of their life, regardless of their income or personal circumstances. Depression can happen after a traumatic event or for hormonal reasons such as following the birth of a child. It’s quite common for people to feel guilty that they have depression, especially when everything in their lives seems so ‘perfect’. Unfortunately, guilt (as well as embarrassment) can stop people from reaching out for the help they don’t just deserve but need.
If you are an employer or concerned relative, it’s also helpful to recognise that depression can happen to anyone too. It might be the case the person is functioning well on the outside, but behind closed doors, it’s a different story. Or, you may have become concerned that someone is depressed due to a change in their behaviour. Keeping an open mind is helpful in every scenario because depression doesn’t always follow a specific pattern or happen to a particular personality type. Anyone can develop depression, though some are more prone than others.
A Change Is Needed
If you have depression, something is not quite right and as difficult as it is to hear, a change is needed to be able to remedy things. For some, talking therapies such as CBT can be extremely effective in working through depression. If you have been holding onto emotional trauma (or have just been through a difficult life experience) then talking about it can help. Change your diet to feature lots of fruits and vegetables versus unhealthy food. Regular exercise can help boost endorphins too, which are known as ‘feel-good’ hormones.
It’s always advisable to speak to your GP to make a note of your depression. They may advise antidepressants as well as CBT. Antidepressants work brilliantly for some and not so well for others, which is why you’ll usually be invited back after a couple of weeks to see how you are getting on. As difficult as it is to talk about your depression, remember that doctors are trained to help you and care about doing so. Everything you say will be kept in confidence too. Compared with doing nothing, speaking up is a brave and very necessary step.
You're not alone
When you feel depressed, it might seem as if you are not alone but this is not the case. According to the WHO, 264 million people globally suffer from depression. In the UK, it’s estimated 1 in 4 people are experiencing a mental health problem at any time. Given talking openly about our mental health is sadly still something many people are afraid to do, it can seem as if you are the only person going through it. But this is not the case!
It can be tough to find the right people to talk too. However, what’s encouraging is that support groups are popping up all over the place. The mental health charity Mind has 155 groups alone. Many depression support groups are specifically aimed at men’s mental health – something that’s been woefully lacking in the past. While in the past unhelpful phrases like “man up” or “pull yourself together” have been the norm, they are now being replaced with the likes of “it’s good to talk”. So, finding others who resonate can be hugely beneficial in helping you find a way through. You could even make some lifelong friends out of it.
You Can Get Through This
When you are struggling with depression, it can seem as if things will never get better. But that is simply not the case. It’s important to remember that depression is a state of mind. What that means is even when you are at your worst – that doesn’t mean these issues can’t be worked through or you won’t feel happiness again. It just means some interventions are needed to remove what is weighing you down or to gain a fresh perspective on long-standing issues that are causing you to feel unhappy. Such interventions could be as simple as talking things through with a friend, family member or therapist.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no ‘quick fix’ for depression. If issues have built up over many years, it can take some time to work through them properly. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! What’s needed is to find a healthy and proactive approach to dealing with what is weighing you down. It’s a process of working through each day, bit by bit. It can help to listen to yourself and how you are feeling, rather than try to force yourself to do things you aren’t interested in. Some days you are going to feel like going out and socialising, other days perhaps not. That’s ok! Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can be helpful too. But, you have to be willing to help yourself too by making the changes and seeking the support that’s needed to help you through.
Find Out More
If you are struggling with depression or know someone who is, I hope the above advice has been helpful. I offer virtual life coach sessions for a range of issues including personal development and low self-esteem which may be of benefit to you. Please get in touch if this would be of interest. My sessions are held over Skype or Zoom and are available to clients located in the UK and internationally.