Dealing with Depression

The word depressed is a common everyday word. People might say "I'm depressed" when in fact they mean "I'm fed up because I've had a row, or failed an exam, or lost my job", etc. These ups and downs of life are common and normal. Most people recover quite quickly. With true depression, you have a low mood and other symptoms over a period of time and the symptoms can become severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day activities.

Depression can make you feel helpless, hopeless, or empty and numb and sometimes it can be hard to spot. There are many different symptoms, some emotional and some physical but with help and support, you can overcome depression and get your life back.

You may be depressed if:
  • You have continuous low moods and feelings of sadness
  • You’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy.
  • You’ve noticed changes in your sleep pattern – either suffering insomnia or sleeping much more than usual.
  • There are changes in your appetite or weight – usually decreased, but sometimes increased.
  • You feel demotivated and lethargic.

If these symptoms apply to you, don’t hesitate to see your doctor – you may need medication and/or therapy.

PATIENT HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE – PHQ-9 | Nine Symptom Depression Checklist
Anyone can develop depression. Some people may be more prone to it and it can develop for no apparent reason. You may have no particular problem or worry, but symptoms can develop quite suddenly.

So, there may be some genetic factor involved that makes some people more prone than others to depression but an episode of depression may also be triggered by a life event such as a relationship problem, bereavement, redundancy, illness, etc. In many people it is a mixture of the two. For example, the combination of a mild low mood with some life problem, such as work stress, may lead to a spiral down into depression.

Women tend to develop depression more often than men. Particularly common times for women to become depressed are after childbirth (postnatal depression) and the menopause.

Understanding that your symptoms are due to depression and that it is common, may help you to accept that you are ill and need help. Some people ask "Am I going mad?" It may be a relief to know that you are not going mad and that the symptoms you have are common and have been shared by many other people.

You may 'bottle up' your symptoms from friends and relatives. However, if you are open about your feelings with close family and friends, it may help them to understand and help.You can recover from an episode of depression and you can regain the feelings you used to have. Like any illness, recovery does not happen overnight – it takes time and is gradual but it does happen and you will recover. It will begin by believing that you can turn things around and that each little step will help you get away from the black cloud you are living under.