Depression can be a very hard thing to talk to somebody about, especially if it is your first time opening up. Depression can lead to many other issues, a few examples being low self-esteem, self-harm and even suicide!
Teenage society today has perceived people with depression to be attention seeking, when actually the actions that someone who suffers from depression are more a cry for help over purely seeking attention. It is completely wrong to label someone as attention seeking when actually they are suffering from something real and inescapable.
There are many ways to spot depression. These are listed below!
How are you feeling?
- Do you feel very down and in low-spirits for most of the day?
- Do you feel restless?
- Are you emotional, do you get tearful easily?
- Do you feel numb? Empty? Full of despair (the loss of hope)?
- Do you feel lonely? Are you isolated? Do you feel that you cannot relate to others?
- Do you find yourself becoming impatient?
- Do you find that you don't enjoy the simple pleasures in life?
- Do you feel that you are helpless?
- (If you are sexually active) Have you lost interest in any sexual relations?
- Do you experience any feelings of unreality?
What is your behaviour like?
- Have you started to distance yourself from activities that you usually enjoy?
- Are you avoiding any social events that you are being invited to?
- Have you started to isolate yourself from others around you?
- Are you self-harming at all?
- Do you find it difficult to talk?
What are your thoughts like?
- Are you finding it difficult to remember things?
- Are you finding is difficult to concentrate or make final decisions?
- Are you finding yourself feeling guilty or blaming yourself a lot?
- Do you find yourself having no self-confidence or low self-esteem?
- Are you having lots of negative thoughts?
- Do you feel that your future feels bleak?
- Do you find yourself asking yourself the question, "what is the point?"?
- Have you had any thoughts about suicide?
There are also some physical symptoms:
- Are you finding it difficult to sleep?
- Are you sleeping more than usual?
- Do you feel tired? Do you feel a lack of energy?
- Have you lost your appetite? Are you losing more weight than you expected?
- Have you experienced any physical aches or pains that have no obvious cause?
- Are you starting to move slower than normal?
- Do you find yourself using more drugs/alcohol/tobacco than usual?
There can be many causes of depression. These are listed below! Sometimes however, depression can just appear by itself, with no obvious reason to do so!
- Life events - Depression can be triggered through traumatic events that have happened at a certain point, these can be anything such as losing a job, being abused (physically or sexually) and bullying at school.
- Loss - Loss can be a terrible thing to deal with, especially the loss of a loved one that you are very close too. Not only the loss of someone you love through death, but another form of loss is the loss of yourself that you can develop through major changes such as moving from one phase of life into another, or even just moving around from one town to another! Another loss could be the realisation that is gained from learning that you may not be able to have a family of your own. It is not particularly the bad experience that actually causes the depression. It is more the way that the situation is dealt with that can lead to depression.
- Anger - Being unable to express your feelings of anger can leave you feeling helpless but can also lead to depression. Reasons that you may not be able to express your anger could be that you have a lack of trust in actually being able to tell someone or a lack of confidence that anyone will pay attention to you. The anger itself is what is regarded as the depression.
- Childhood experiences - There may be some traumatic experiences that took place in the process of your childhood, these could be physical or sexual abuse, family divides and it may also be that you were not guided well into learning how to cope in certain situations. All of these scenarios can lead to depression as well as not being able to cope with depression.
There are some physical causes of depression as well which include:
- Any conditions that involve the brain and/or nervous system.
- Any type of hormone problems, especially any thyroid and parathyroid problems.
- And symptoms involving the menstrual cycle and/or menopause.
- Low blood sugar.
- Sleeping problems.
The first stages of being to help yourself in situations of depression is understanding that any solutions that you may find will not be instant. It will take time to sort things out and to start getting things in order again.
Break the cycle of negativity:Whilst feeling depressed, you will automatically start to take a negative approach on life. Things will start to seem a lot more difficult and you will start to lose the motivation to complete certain tasks. You will then start to feel depressed about being depressed, which create a much larger problem. You personally need to try to break that cycle yourself. Try to find any patterns in your negativity, such as what you are doing or thinking, or how you are doing it and try to replace that with an activity more constructive that will change your frame of mind. We all know it is a challenge, but it is a challenge worth forcing yourself to do. An achievement worth the pain and the sweat to grasp at.
Keep active:It may sound like an odd concept, that going for a run will increase your mood. But it definitely has a positive effect on your mood in general. The physical activity will stimulate certain chemicals in the brain called endorphins which are hormones that will enable you to feel better. It is incredibly therapeutic to take part in any physical activity. As little as 20 minutes a day can have a positive effect on both your body and you! Anything such as walking can be a help, just being outside and taking part in some form of physical activity everyday will help you a lot!
Socialise (Connect with others):Depression can leave you feeling distant, lonely and isolated. You should always try to keep any relationships you have open, even if its just a small phone call to someone every so often. It may even just be a Facebook message or an e-mail, it doesn't need to be anything particularly special. Make sure that you stay active in your relationships as well. Try not to cut yourself off from the world, try to go out with friends, join social clubs and attend social events! This will help to lift your spirits in general as well as exclude any feelings of isolation and loneliness. It may also be beneficial to start meeting new people, meeting new people is always hard, and it can be even harder if you suffer from depression. But you need to try!
There are many treatments available including:
- Active monitoring - This is mainly for people who only suffer from mild depression, it means that your doctor will just monitor your progress without submitting you for any treatment to see how you are coping. Sometimes depression will go away without treatment.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - (CBT) which can include books based on self help, computerised CBT for mild depressions and it can also entail a series of sessions with a therapist for more severe depression.
- Mindful based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Behavioural Activation
- Counselling or Psychotherapy
- Medication - Including anti-depressants