Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life and it can be a common reaction to loss, stress and life’s struggles. But when you are overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and despair you may have depression. Depression makes it hard to function and makes it difficult to enjoy life. Regardless of how desperate and hopeless you may feel, you can get better!
Understanding your depression and learning about the many things you can do to help yourself is the first step to overcome depression.
Symptoms of depression can include the following:
- Your mood is low, you feel irritable and easily frustrated or agitated
- You are not finding activities you used to care about pleasurable anymore. This can include hobbies, going out, holidays. etc.
- Weight changes
- You have little energy or motivation
- You may experience sexual difficulties
- Change in sleeping patterns
- You feel worthless or guilty almost all the time
- You can’t concentrate and you are easily distracted
- You may find that you forget easily
- You may have thoughts of ending it all by committing suicide
- You may feel crippled by indecision and regret
The signs of depression are not the same for everybody and there are different kinds of depression, including:
- Major Depression
- Chronic Depression
- Atypical Depression
- Postpartum or Antenatal Depression
- Bipolar Disorder or Bipolar Depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
It is important to have the appropriate treatment for you depression and to have the necessary professional support. Your family and friends can be extremely helpful in helping you through your depression, but getting help from a professional in addition to your social support is definitely better. There are different techniques and approaches to treat depression, depending on your needs and the time you have available for treatment. I rely on various models to treat depression, including psychodynamic theory, cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and mindfulness. Therapy helps you to step back and see what might be contributing to your depression and how to make changes.
Therapy often focuses on the following:
Therapy can help you understand the patterns of your relationships, building better relationships or improving current relationships, it can help to reduce isolation and build social support, which is important for the prevention of depression.
If you are stressed and overwhelmed and feel like you can’t say “NO”, you are more at risk of depression. Setting healthy boundaries in relationships and at work can help relieve stress. Therapy can help you identify and validate the boundaries that are right for you.
Handling life’s problems
Talking with a trusted therapist can provide good feedback on more positive ways to handle life’s challenges and problems
These may include looking at activity levels, nutrition, stress reduction, social support, etc.