What is depression?
Depression is characterized by an invasive sad mood, a lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities and constant tiredness or exhaustion. It is usually accompanied by sleep disturbance, low confidence levels, a decreased appetite and thoughts of self-harm.
Check out the Black Dog video from the World Health Organisation, which explains how a depressed person feels:
What causes depression?
Being depressed can be either biological or circumstantial. Common causes of depression are:
Early childhood trauma/tragedy
Family history of depression or mood disorders
Certain medical conditions – chronic illness, constant debilitating pain, cancer, etc.
Tragedy, trauma, relationship problems
Vitamin D deficiency
Symptoms of depression
You may be suffering from depression if you experience some of the symptoms outlined below, virtually daily for two weeks or more. This is not an exhaustive list.
Constant crying, tearful
A feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
Being angry, annoyed, irritable
Panic and/or anxiety attacks
Becoming socially isolated
Lack of sexual interest
Unable to get a restful night’s sleep, waking early, or oversleeping, not wanting to get up
A loss of appetite, weight loss, or comfort eating
Suicidal thoughts or attempts, thoughts of death
Chronic pain, such as headaches, cramps, digestion problems, without a clear cause or reason
Many describe it as feeling ‘blue’, sad, or anxious
Men, women, teenagers and children may experience different symptoms.
The Risk Factors
Again, this is not an exhaustive list. It is merely a general outline.
Females are twice as likely to succumb to being depressed as males
There is an increased risk if you have a family history of depression
If you have financial problems and low social status, this can increase the risk
A deficiency in Vitamin D is linked to depression.
Transgender people have four times the risk of depression than people of the same sex as they were when born (called cisgender).
People with chronic medical problems (heart disease, cancer, etc.) are more likely to suffer from depression.
Addicts (drugs, alcohol, etc.) have a higher risk of depression.
How is it treated?
It is simply a matter of what will work best for someone who is depressed. It also depends on what type of depression it is. There are various treatments, from counselling to natural remedies, a change of lifestyle, and various medications.
In the first instance, though, it is easy to see what initial steps a sufferer can take to get themselves on the road to recovery and happiness once more.
These include, but are not limited to:
Not taking alcohol or drugs.
Exercising – it doesn’t need to be strenuous. A good walk for half an hour does wonders for the mind.
Eating more healthily
Absorbing yourself in a pastime to keep your mind from focusing on dark thoughts
Avoiding negative people – and that means on social media too.
Take Vitamins B-6, B-12 and plenty of Vitamin D (if you are on medication, consult with your doctor first).
Avoid stressful situations
Think of things that are worth getting out of bed in the mornings – even to make yourself a nice healthy breakfast.
Don’t reach for your phone or tablet as soon as you wake up. Instead, keep them out of your sleeping area (yes, get an old fashioned digital alarm clock instead!)
Do some gentle exercise, i.e., yoga or some meditation.
Focus on doing one good, positive activity that will make you feel like you have accomplished something good.
Whatever you do, turn to someone experienced for help and support – someone who won’t judge you or gossip about you and who can give you advice based on years of experience.
And, just like everyone else, accept that you might have a bad day every now and then. Don’t fight it. After all – if you don’t have a bad day, how do you know when you are having a good day?
Consult A Qualified Depression Therapist Online
Take our free survey to find out whether you may be starting to slide down a slippery slope towards feeling low and gloomy. It can be an eye-opener!
If you feel you are suffering from any kind of depression, mild or otherwise, book in for a FREE 30-minute call with me to see how I can help. It could be just what you need.
FOOTNOTE: An anagram of depression is: I Pressed On…