“Depression” comes from the Latin deprimere, meaning to press down and make lower. Some obvious signs are: depressed and negative thoughts; feeling helpless, hopeless or useless; changes in your mood, your sleep patterns and appetite; low self-esteem; and just a struggle to motivate yourself on a day to day basis. It is different from just feeling a little sad or a bit down for a few days. It may feel as though you have fallen into a pit and can’t seem to find your way out.
Depression can be a complex area, although there is more and more information becoming available for what we can do about it. Getting to the core issues of depression is a journey we take with our clients taking into consideration all aspects of coping strategies, relaxation, negative self-talk, communication, assertiveness, anger, thoughts around suicide, problem-solving, and goals for the future. There are different types of depression ranging from minor to severe symptoms. Always involve someone you trust with what thoughts you are having, and how you are feeling. This helps you to first of all acknowledge what is happening for you, secondly recognise that you are important, that it is a sign of strength to get help, and thirdly you have a trusted person to support you along the way to get the help you need.
Feeling depressed for extended periods of time can make a person feel exhausted, worthless and hopeless. After a while, the negative thoughts and feelings can make some people feel as if they ‘just want to give up’.
Some of the reasons it can happen?
There is no one single reason why people get depressed. People can become depressed in different areas of their lives. Take for example, the work environment. You can become quite depressed and ‘worn down’ if you are being constantly criticised by your supervisor/manager regardless of how much energy and effort you have been putting into your job. Your ability to cope deteriorates.
Your motivation decreases, and negative thoughts and feelings increase. You begin to experience physical symptoms which require taking time off work, and this then spills out onto your home environment – your relationships, family and friends.
Some of the other reasons people may become depressed include: overwhelming stress, relationship breakdown, physical illness, residential relocation, loss of a loved one, redundancy, loss of autonomy, physical disability… to name a few. Everybody handles the ‘curved balls’ life throws at them differently.
Some tips if feeling depressed
- Set realistic goals so that they set you up for success rather than failure.
- Spend time with good friends, to talk with, to socialise with, even if it is just a coffee.
- Take part in activities that make you feel better. It may be an effort to get going, but once you get started, you have something different to focus on.
- Walk or do some other form of exercise that you enjoy. Motion creates emotion.
- Understand that healing from whatever is making you feel depressed will take place one step at a time. What we learn along the way is enormous.
- Delay making important decisions if you feel your judgement is clouded. Perhaps talk any decisions over with someone whose opinions you value, and who understand what you are currently going through.
- Changing negative thoughts to positive ones. Recalling good times, affirming the good things you are currently doing.
- Keep a journal so you can map out your progress, and identify triggers.
- Eat a healthy diet, and eliminate things that do not help your depression.
- Set the alarm to get out of bed in the morning, and have something planned to do.
- Make sure to get some sunshine in your day, and find something funny to laugh at.
- Create small steps when setting tasks. What is essential, desirable or not that important?