Understanding Anxiety, Panic and Depression: Part 3 – Depression

 

Definition:

  • Feelings of severe despondency and dejection.

Everyone has times when they think they feel depressed, it is a bit like when someone has a common cold, they say they have the ‘Flu’ or even worse ‘Man Flu’!!!!

Normally when people say they feel depressed, it is because they have feelings of being ‘Fed Up’, feeling sad or having a low mood; this generally lasts for a couple of days.

The liberal use of the word ‘depression’ can mean that depression is not always treated as seriously as it should be; it is an illness which has real symptoms.

despair

One of the major problems with depression is that people can view it as a sign of weakness; the common misconception is that you should just be able to ‘snap out of it’, have a laugh and everything will be fine.  This mentality can lead people to hide their feelings, and try to deal with them by themselves, which can have serious issues.

Depression or ‘Clinical Depression’ generally lasts for much longer periods of time, you can feel persistently depressed for a week, month or even longer.

There are a wide variety of symptoms related to depression:

  1. Feelings of sadness or helplessness.
  2. Losing interest in things you used to enjoy.
  3. Feeling tearful.
  4. Symptoms of Anxiety.
  5. Feeling constantly tired.
  6. Not sleeping well.
  7. Low appetite.
  8. Low sex drive.
  9. Various aches and pains.

The range of symptoms is large, and can be suffered in different levels, the most severe cases can lead to thoughts of suicide, that life is not worth living, or you have no value; this is why it is important not to hide your emotions, but to deal with them and seek help; the good thing is that with the right treatment and support, most people can recover from depression.

If you think that you feel depressed, then go and speak to your doctor as soon as possible; they may not give you medication straight away, but they will help you monitor how you are feeling.  There are a range of treatments, depending on how serious your condition is, including anti-depressants, support groups, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and for very serious cases being referred to a special mental health unit

You can help yourself by making some simple lifestyle changes; make sure you do some exercise; you do not have to go to a gym or go for a run, just going for regular walks can really help.  Nutrition is also important; when you get depressed because you can lose motivation to cook or even go out to the shops.  You can order food on-line so that you have something in; make sure you try and avoid processed food, have fresh food because this will give you the nutrients that can help you feel better.

The main thing is to avoid caffeine and alcohol; these will affect your mood, and actually make it worse.

Alcohol only works for a very short space of time, once that short time wears off the anxiety and depression become worse and so you drink more, it’s another of the vicious cycles that we have to deal with (I will cover how caffeine and alcohol affects mental health in more detail in future blogs).

For me, the anxiety and panic was a real struggle to deal with, and this made me depressed very quickly.  Because I was afraid to leave the flat, I spent more time at home and only went out if I really needed to; I also started using alcohol as a form of self medication in a hope that it would help my mood and I would eat simple processed foods because it was easy.

If someone tells you they are depressed, the best thing to do is to listen.  Sometimes people just need to talk to get things off their chest; you don’t have to come up with solutions, sometimes that it not what the person wants.  Listen, try to be understanding and just be there, a hug can also go a long way to helping.

Take what they are saying seriously, don’t make light of the situation, and don’t tell them to ‘snap out of it’.  The more misunderstood someone with depression feels, the more they go into their shell, which can be very dangerous.

Milton

I hope this blog helps you to understand depression a bit more; the thing to remember is not to be ashamed to talk about your problems, have a good cry; yep, that includes the guys too, a hug and a good wail can make all the difference.

A Hug

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(Most of the above information was found on the NHS website).

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