Dealing with Depression & Accessing Counselling
Dealing with depression can be difficult. Whether you are dealing with your own depression or that of someone close to you. This blog will look at what depression is, its symptoms and causes and what you can do to help yourself or someone else who is experiencing depression. It is important to remember that depression has many faces and people who are depressed may not behave or act as though they are.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder. If you were feeling depressed you may experience sadness, loss and anger and these feelings interfere with your everyday life, meaning that you would not be able to do your normal activities. The organisation Rethink Mental Illness has an article and factsheet here on depression that you might find useful.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Symptoms of depression that you may notice may affect your mood or your body and they may not always be constant. Men, Women and Children may experience different symptoms of depression.
Below are just a few examples of symptoms
• Mood – anger, irritability, anxiety, restless
• Emotional Wellbeing – sadness, emptiness, hopelessness
• Behaviour – lost of interest in things, tired easily, thoughts of suicide, substance misuse, high risk behaviours
• Cognitive – unable to concentrate, delayed responses
• Sleep – insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleep
• Physical – fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, aches and pains, low sex drive, changes in menstrual cycle
What is the difference between depression and feeling down?
Feeling down, sad and angry is a normal part of life. Upsetting things happen to us all, feeling upset about them is a normal response. It is important that we don’t push these feelings away as wrong or to be avoided. If you feel down or sad or hopeless on a regular basis then this could be depression.
What is SAD?
SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of depression that affects you a the same time of year, normally in the winter. They symptoms are similar to depression, some people find that they sleep more rather than less and crave carbohydrates.
What is Manic Depression?
Manic Depression is not the same illness as depression. It is the old name used for Bipolar Disorder. People with Bipolar disorder have highs (mania) and lows (depression).
What is High Functioning Depression?
As I mentioned in the first paragraph depression can have many faces. Sometimes it can be hard to see that someone has depression because on the outside they seem fine, they may go to work, keep up with relationships and complete the tasks they need to.
On the inside though they are screaming as they simply go through the motions. People who have high functioning depression may feel as though they are faking it most of the time, they may find that it takes a lot of energy to get through the day, that they loose concentration easily and they are often very tired. Someone with high functioning depression might feel that is difficult to get help or support for what they are feeling because on the surface they appear okay.
Why do People become depressed?
People can develop depression for a wide number of reasons
• Genetic factors – although studies into the link between depression and genetics is at an early stage.
• Background – studies have found that you are at higher risk of developing depression if it runs in your family.
• Current Situation – If you are experiencing stressful events, such as problems at home or work, financial problems, relationship difficulties.
• Hormones and chemicals -If you experience changes in your hormones and chemicals in your body this can cause depressive symptoms. For instance women often find their mood affected by their menstrual cycle. Also If you have problems with your thyroid or have low levels of Vitamin B12 you may experience depressive symptoms.
• Lifestyle – Studies have shown that not exercising or being over or underweight can increase your risk of depression, as can being isolated from other people and not having social relationships.
• Drugs and alcohol – illegal drugs may affect your mental health as can prescribed medication. Alcohol although often drunk to alleviate depression has been shown to increase your likelihood of developing depressive symptoms. If you have any concerns related to the drugs or medication you are taking or your alcohol consumption it is important to speak to your doctor.
• Illness – If you are dealing with another illness for instance cancer, or diabetes this can trigger feelings of depression.
How can you help someone who has depression?
• You can’t force someone with depression to “snap out of it”, you can’t force them to get help. For many asking for help can be hard, so reassuring someone that they can ask for help and that it is ok is very important.
• Speaking openly about depression can take away the stigma and shame that people feel around depression and so make it easier to seek help.
• If someone is feeling depressed they might need help keeping on top of things, like housework, but it is important to encourage them to do things for themselves and not take over.
• Keep in touch with people, checking in with people from time to time can be really important, sometimes just a text can make a big difference.
• If you are finding supporting a person who is depressed difficult, then it is important that you seek support for yourself so that you are not overwhelmed.
How can you help yourself if you have depression?
If you are depressed it can be really difficult to motivate yourself to do things to feel better. Its therefore best to just start with the basics. Think about your Eating and Exercise.
• Eat regular meals – this will help to develop a structure and routine to your day
• Include healthy foods within your meals
• Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day
• Limit Caffeine
• Limit alcohol
• Try to do a small amount of exercise every day. Even if its just walking around the block. Exercise is a natural antidepressant.
Other things to think about
• Talking to a friend – whether that is online on the phone or in person.
• Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day – develop some kind of routine
• Getting in touch with a professional who you can talk to in confidence.
I have listed below some online and telephone resources that may be useful to you if you are struggling with depression:
- No Panic (Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Tranquilliser Withdrawal) – 0844 967 4848 Youth Helpline 01753 840393
- Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90 / 0121 6666644
- PAPYRUS (Suicide Prevention – Under 35s) – 0800 068 41 41
- Silver Line – (Help Line for people over 55years old) – 08004 70 80 90
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – includes self-help CBT course, free downloadable information leaflets and handouts and free CBT tools.
Living Life to the Full
A free online life skills course using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for use by health care practitioners and members of the public. The modules cover a range of topics including anxiety management and healthy living.
Smiling Mind App
Mindfulness App – Free
Counselling – for Dealing with Depression
If you or someone you care about is struggling with depression and you feelthat you feel that you would like some more formal support please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss it further. You can also find out more about me and therapy by taking a look at my FAQs and About Me page. I work with a wide range of issues and can offer both short and long term therapy with both couples and individuals. I am currently offering remote support on the telephone or Online Counselling via ZOOM. Please call me on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if I don’t answer I am probably in a session, please leave me a message and I will call you back as soon as I can. I look forward to hearing from you.