Feelings of severe despondency
Depression is a mood disorder that many of us may well encounter at some point in our lives. It is often described and understood collectively as a prolonged sense of ‘‘sadness’’ or ‘‘emptiness’’. It is, however, so much more than that. A lesser-known fact about being depressed, for example, is that it can influence health disorders such as cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. For a number of months now, many of you have asked me about depression and what signs to look for. Let us explore this further together.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Whilst it is a normal physiological response to feel sad from time to time, the experience of depression is something entirely different. It is contended that the symptoms of depression can vary depending on whether you are a man, woman or child. Generally speaking, however, there are common indicators to watch out for: –
Impact upon your mood: Do you feel angry? Irritable? Anxious? Hopeless? Restless? Are you finding it difficult to control your emotions? Are you feeling a sense of emptiness or overwhelming sadness?
Impact upon your behaviour: Do you feel fatigued? Are you experiencing a loss of interest in your day to day routines? Do you crave isolation? Are your relationships suffering? Are you experiencing negative thoughts such as harming yourself? Are you drinking more excessively or engaging in high-risk activities? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate?
Impact upon your sleeping patterns: Are you sleeping too little or too much?
Impact upon your appetite: Are you eating more than usual or less than usual? Has your weight changed considerably in recent months?
Impact upon your physical health: Are you experiencing fatigue or a distinct lack of energy? Are you experiencing inexplicable aches and or pains? Are you experiencing digestive problems? Additional symptoms of depression that tend to arise if you have been experiencing the condition over a long period of time are drastic and unintended changes in weight, panic attacks, heightened physical pain, suicidal thoughts or acts of self-harm.
What are the causes?
There are numerous factors that can cause depression, be they genetic in origin or of course resulting from an unexpected turn of events or life crisis. Whilst it is certainly the case that many people do not learn the true source of their depression, there are common root causes to consider.
- Family history
- Medical conditions
- Recreational drug use or certain medications
- Low self-esteem
- Stressful or life-altering events such as death of a loved one or divorce
What can you do?
Seek medical support: You do not have to face this fight alone. Do not hesitate to seek help, for there is nothing to fear. If you glean anything from this article, it is that depression is a common condition shared by millions of people across the world and with the right support in place, you can continue to lead a full and happy life. If you are to visit a medical professional regarding depression, you will most likely be asked questions about your mood levels, your current appetite and sleeping patterns as well as any possible negative thoughts that you may be experiencing. Should you feel suicidal or fearful of any negative thoughts that you may be experiencing then it is vital that you seek help from a medical professional urgently.
Exercise: Regular exercise, even just twenty minutes of walking a day can be tremendously beneficial to your overall health and incredibly helpful for alleviating depression symptoms. Aim for a minimum of twenty minutes each day.
Avoid alcohol or recreational drugs: Drink water instead! People suffering from depression often turn to substance abuse as a method of temporary escape or mood elevation. However, this is not a viable solution as it only makes the depression worse, in many cases prompting even more severe symptoms.
Aim for a balanced diet: Try to establish a healthy eating routine that provides you with plenty of nutrients and vitamins.
Prioritise yourself: When you are battling depression, you have to put yourself first. Prioritise your self-care and try to secure yourself within positive and calming environments.
Regularise your sleep regime: Focus on your sleep routine and try to allow yourself an optimum opportunity for your sleep to be at its best. Sleep restores and rebalances your body. As such, it plays an essential role in your recovery.
Counselling & Psychotherapy: The effects of depression are complex and unique. Counselling and psychotherapy can assist you through your recovery journey and assist you in cultivating coping strategies unique to your individual experiencing.
Important to remember here, whether it is yourself or indeed a family member or a friend that is suffering from depression, is that there is always hope. Recovery is absolutely possible and there are numerous avenues of help available.
Wishing you all well, take good care,