What is depression?
Depression has an impact on a person's behaviour, feelings and how they think about themselves, others and the world around them. Depression can vary from mild to severe and it can have a detrimental effect on your relationships and work life.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Symptoms can vary from person to person but signs to look out for include:
- Feeling tired, lethargic or having low energy
- Low self esteem
- Little interest in hobbies/social life
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of sleep or over sleeping
- Feeling anxious, worried
- Aches in your body that have no physical cause
- Loss of interest in relationships
- Preoccupation with death
What causes depression?
There are many triggers for depression. Most people at some point in their lives will experience a form of depression or low mood. Factors that can cause depression are bereavement, financial worries, work stress, divorce/relationship breakdown or adjusting to significant life changes. Sometimes painful events that happened to us in childhood can lead to depression in later life. In these cases feelings of anger or sadness are pushed down or de-pressed during childhood, but these feelings re surface in adulthood. In other cases some people can have a genetic predisposition to depression. People who have autism spectrum disorder / Asperger's syndrome can suffer from low mood due to difficulties with social interaction.
How can I cope with feeling depressed?
There is help available, so you don't need to deal with depression alone. Here are some ideas for coping with depression:
- See a counsellor - counselling sessions can help you to understand why you feel depressed and accepting that grief is a process can alleviate some of the symptoms of depression
- Take regular exercise
- Spend time outdoors - walking in nature is soothing for your mind and body
- Eat healthily - choose foods which boost your serotonin / dopamine levels
- Avoid alcohol
- Get enough rest
- Writing a diary - externalising your feelings by writing them down really can help
- Practise relaxation techniques like mindfulness and meditation
- Identify any addictive, self harming behaviour as a distraction from feeling painful feelings
- Replacing limiting beliefs about yourself, others and the world with compassionate ones. Counselling works by changing the neural pathways in your brain.