More and more people are conversing openly about their experience of depression. The NHS is still unprepared and underfunded in this area but an open dialogue, is half the battle. The more talk about it, the more we acknowledge a problem, the more help and support that will become available.
Depression is an invisible disability that affects 1 in 6 people and causes an individual to feel intense emotions that last for weeks and months. You may also feel generally low, loss of interest or pleasure in things, experience low self-worth, struggle to sleep and eat. The symptoms are wide and vast.
Finding the root cause of depression may not be simple either. It could stem from a life event, bereavement, financial woes or life changing events for example. Depression is also proven to be linked to chronic illnesses and some injuries.
Common types of depression
Major depression– can be categorised by prolonged dark mood where even activities that are usually pleasurable have a lack of interest. It usually affects everyday life including sleeping, eating and impact on work.
Bi-polar/Manic depression– is the experience of extreme mood swings and includes manic highs and depressive lows. The categorisation of such extreme moods usually interferes with everyday life.
Prenatal and Postnatal– prenatal depression is associated during pregnancy and postnatal depression occurs in the following weeks and months after giving birth. Although commonly associated with women only, it does affect men too.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)– also known as Winter Blues, many people during the winter months experience an increase in anxiety, low mood and stress which can affect sleeping and eating patterns which is known as SAD.
The best and first point of call if you or someone you know is experiencing depression is to talk to a medical professional to determine the best cause of treatment. Treatment usually involves talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling and psychotherapy which have shown huge success in combating depression. Additionally, you may consider taking medication but it’s best to talk this through with your GP.
There are also many things you can do personally.
There are CBT books and workbooks that can help guide your treatment and better understand your feeling, symptoms and causes- we personally recommend the ‘overcoming series’ as recommended by the NHS. Additionally, various charities and services such as Mind offer telephone services as and when you need someone to talk to and also offer community support, peer groups, complementary therapy and personal development groups.
It’s also important to take care of yourself; attempt to sleep for 7-8 hours a night where possible instilling a routine to help relax you before bed such as taking a hot bath, switching off digital devices and reading to aid sleep. Have a balanced diet and ensure you eat well three times a day. It’s also important to keep a hygiene routine in place in caring for yourself. Avoid drinking or eating things that can affect mood such as caffeine, alcohol and high sugar. And make sure you take time to do things for you and what you enjoy doing.