The word depression is used to describe various and sometimes overlapping experiences. To many people, being depressed means feeling sad “blue”, downhearted, disappointed, detached or upset. Feeling down, sad or “blue” may not be a serious problem. It could just be a rough patch and these feelings will pass and have slight effects on normal functioning.
However if the feelings of sadness go on for more than two weeks and starts to affect daily life, these may be symptoms of clinical depression which is an emotional, physical and cognitive state that is intense and long-lasting and has negative effects on a person’s day to day life. Clinical depression may need a medical assessment and treatment by a mental health professional. Approximately one in five people will experience an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime.
- Stressful life events
- Imbalance in the pathways of neurotransmitters in the brain
- Feelings of emptiness and loneliness
- Worrying and negative thinking
- Loss of concentration and memory
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities and daily routine
- Withdrawing from others around them
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in eating patterns
- Irritability, agitation and even anger
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- Increasing activity levels
- Participating in pleasurable experiences
- Focus on the positive things, no matter how small
- Keep busy and keep your mind focused on tasks
- Do not make any major life decisions while depressed
- Practise regular relaxation and meditation techniques
- Communicate with supportive friends or family
- Avoid sleeping during the day or lying in bed for longer than 30 minutes without sleeping at night time
Depression can often lead to feelings of great despair and distress. If you feel your situation is hopeless and maybe thinking of suicide or not able to trust yourself to stay safe it is important that you:
- Speak to someone you trust who you know will listen and try and understand.
- Spend time with others so that you are not alone
- Call a crisis line or seek help from a GP or mental health professional
- A brief stay in an inpatient clinic might be helpful
If depression is detected early, and help is sought, there is a very good chance that the symptoms can be reduced with :
- Psychological treatments
- Anti-depressant medications
- Combination of both of the above
At these times, you may wish to seek help from someone you trust such as a close friend or family member, or professionally through your local GP, or through counseling. Applecross Psychological Services can assist you with this process.